Wednesday, 9 May 2012

In search of time

I’ve hit one of those patches.  Mark Twain’s description of life: “Just one darn thing after another.”  Funerals.  Writing commitments.  Loved friends who enjoy to spend an hour or two . . . or three . . . with me.  All good.  All things to delight in.  But it’s another form of accumulation. 

Things gather – whether the harvest of shopping trips or half-finished bottles and jars of nameless substances in the pantry or the inheritance of heirlooms of one kind or another or the simultaneous arrival of events and opportunities. 

Living a recollected life requires a person to develop the ability to say “No”.   I find this very easy in some areas, hard to do in others.

Our society, especially the faith community, is to some extent getting the hang of saying “No” to things.  De-cluttering and down-sizing are recognisable common trends.  People have grasped the need for it and talk about it even if they don’t do it.   But cluttered time is still seen as a virtue.  Socialising and “getting together” are encouraged.  From greeters on the door at Sunday worship to the permaculturist’s enthusiasm for fostering community; from the Moneyless Man’s joy in spending as much time as possible with large groups of people to the Transition Town movement’s emphasis on community involvement as the prize (and to some extent the goal) of developing post-oil society.

Frankly, it does my head in.  I read the early chapters of Mark’s gospel, and I wonder how He survived.  Take this for example:
 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ (Mark 1:35-37)
I certainly know that territory, but He had to cope with it on so much greater a scale:
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.   That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all who were ill and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. (Mark 1:29-34)

The early morning is still the key to solitude.  Early rising and early retiring avoid an astonishing number of interactions, and belong to peace.  Electricity figures in here too, somehow.  On the occasions when I have had the discipline to allow my life to be illumined by natural light, peace comes in waves.  Once it is too dark to read – and my eyes are not good enough to read by candle-light – without telly, without the computer, what is there to do but watch the clouds as the day fades and the stars come out, and think?  Or sit by the fireside and watch the silent flames and the ember glow.  Actually, just writing this makes me feel better :0) 

The pathway to all this is simplicity.  I need to go a little further up the mountain.   The poison-seeping tentacles of Mammon are the problem.  I get caught in spending, I need to earn to replace what I’ve spent, and I have to give my time away in order to earn.  I want my time back – the time God gave me and trusted me with.  I am going to swap electricity and shopping for time.  That’s the answer!


365 366 Day 130 – Wednesday May 9th    

Ah this piece of fabric started out life as a skirt.  I think I blogged about it before . . . yes!  Here.  It moved house with us and did the same duty as a curtain to cover the place where we kept our garbage and recycling bins under the breakfast bar. Then when we changed the kitchen, there was no place left to cover – or anywhere else in the house.  So I washed it and added it to some other fabric pieces to make a textile craft kit to Freecycle.


Ganeida said...

You know, I was thinking reading this [& trust me, I may not be posting on it but decluttering is on my agenda too! ☺] but one of the reasons I think this happens is that we were sent forth to multiply ~ in all areas!!! The problem is in the fallen nature. Like everything else in this world we have ceated a problem from what was meant to be a blessing!

Phil Wood said...

This post is a delight, full of good sense. 'Cluttered time' is a problem, partly because in this vehicle called 'speed' we have forgotten where the brakes are.

I agree with you about the early morning and electricity. I'm writing 'The Gospel of Slow' at the moment and finding it helpful to do the writing in natural light. As much as anything it's about easing into a natural ryhthm. That's what we're doing with 'Walking Church' as well - discerning a lifegiving pace.

Sarah said...

Thank you for this.

I was just thinking how difficult it is to say 'no' but I had to today, a friend who is going through a bad time wanted to come over as she has done recently, but I'm trying to recover from sciatica and need some time to rest. I felt very guilty saying no (am I a bad person/Christian) but...

Ember said...

Ganeida, that's a most interesting thought! Fecundity gone mad. I will ponder on that. Every time the Bible speaks of blessing it is in terms of increase. Perhaps, then it is a question of what we choose to bless. The lovely Aaronic blessing asks God to lift up the light of His countenance upon us. Maybe it's something to do with that. What we turn our face, our gaze towards we bless - ie it increases. What we focus on, we get more of. As ever, the eyes have it.

Phil - I love the idea of The Gospel of Slow, and I'm so glad you're writing in in natural light, and I'd love to hear more about it (but don't tell me or you won;t write the book!)

Sarah - holding her in the Light while you rest will do you both good xxx

Anonymous said...

Solitude has always been important to me.
regards wimmer

Hawthorne said...

Hi Ember! *waves* Yes, de-cluttering time is another way to simplify. I've been thinking about regulating my bedtime, and especially my rising time, in a more natural way especially as the daylight time is getting longer. (Lol. If I did it in Winter I'd be asleep most of the time - which my S.A.D. often wants me to do!) I think once Daughter has finished A levels I'll try to do this; she is a night owl by nature so I usually stay up a bit longer with her. Blessings x x x

Ember said...

Hi wimmera, hi Hawthorne :0)

Interesting point Hawthorne about sleeping and SAD - I wonder if SAD is in part a need to hibernate when our schedules can't permit it?

maria said...

It is not only decluttering the objects that invade our spaces, but also the amount of commitments that invade our lives.

At this point in mine, I have had to say no to both. I have stopped socializing, not because I am becoming antisocial, but because I love solitude. I am myself in it and I need it.

Just like you my dear Pen, it is becoming a necessity in our lives.

Be a blessing today Pen!


Ember said...

God bless you friend - waving! x