“ I am too alone in the world
But not alone enough
To make each hour holy.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
I thought recently of the many desert fathers who, longing for a life alone with Christ, retreated to the wilderness only to find they’d been followed by scores of enthusiastic young monks in need of a spiritual father. No vocation is entirely as we imagine it to be. This morning I’m up at four, listening to the rain pounding and to the wind. It’s December, and I’m grateful that we still have rain instead of snow. I like to spend these early mornings letting the solitude wash over me, watching the gold on the icons flicker in the lamp-light, preparing to do something great with the coming day. Today, it will be dishes and shoring up the road if the rain lets up.
With Petka, there is still a partial solitude to the days. She’s here, present and demanding, but she isn’t an adult, her demands are different. She and I live the day together. I write, while she grabs at my pen. I sweep while she grips the broom handle, determined to help. We walk the land together, laughing at Luba’s antics, at the birds in the sky, at the wind in the trees. She reminds me to really see the world around me, as she sees everything for the first time - studying it all with her upper lip stuck out and her eyes wide. My times of true solitude are richer for it. My daughter, the student of life.