Monday, January 09, 2006

A time for balance in Appalachia

Each passing day brings the urge to write, but the ability to release my thoughts to public consumption lacks significant force. I compare this state to a chest cold and exercise. I know I should exercise--and I crave exertion, but the visualization of labored breathing and painful movement of phlegm keeps me from putting on my running shoes. So my body rests in order to achieve balance, with the hope I do not drift into inertia, or even sloth. What the holidays may lack in meetings at the church, the presence of people accelerates. I live for these gatherings with family and friends, but I lose what fills me up and brings me back to life: solitude offers me the opportunity to ponder my place in the cosmos. I give thanks for my God, my relationships and my vocation. I arrived in Hayesville, North Carolina early this morning, thankful for the several hours of travel not required to speak with anyone. A blessing came in not sitting next to anyone chatty on the airplane trips. I sit alone in a simple room after some time to sleep--balanced enough that letting words out of my head seems the appropriate thing to do. I approach some sort of balance. After writing, I will put on my running shoes and take in some Appalachian air. I need a good dose of ruach.

Connecting the past two weeks with my family leaves me with special snapshots in my mind of my wife, daughter and other family members who made the journey to Sioux Falls. With good rest and a vocational charge at the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, NC, I can greet them Friday night with a smile. I hope I have grown over the past 2-3 years. I have taken these vocational and collegial journeys and gorged upon their stimulation like a hungry person might consume food in the presence of a feast. For the past two years I came home from these trips exhausted, not worth a damn to my family for a few days because I gorged upon the conversations and connections--staying up too late, not listening to the utterance of my soul to take some alone time. I cannot miss anything...or can I? Is the engorged self really the self. Is a conversation at 3 in the morning all that important? What I have lacked in friends and colleagues is not going to be solved in one sitting. Friendships, colleagues, relationships in general require care and wisdom to grow. I pray to God for that wisdom.

I look forward to writing again. Thank you for joining me.


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