Introvert

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Dear Russell & Friends,

I know that it has been a while since I’ve written.  For a while, I’m pausing here.  Why?  Do I owe an explanation?   If I’ve taken the time to write, and you’ve taken the time to read and write back then the answer is yes.  I do owe an explanation.  TIme.  Time is the explanation.  We all have the same amount of it.  No one is more busy than any one else.  We just spend our allotments of time differently.  For a season of almost two years, this blog was a wise use of time as I poured my heart out to a friend and opened my mind to those with whom I disagreed.  Honestly, in some areas – – I’ve been convinced.  If time is a zero sum game, and I argue that it is, what was I missing?  The pages of my paper journal are sparse.  My academic productivity has waned.  And I’ve read many new books and learned new things that may take me several years to absorb.  One revelation of this blog to me was my own personality and just how strong my trait of introversion is.  I think that I need about a thousand pages and a thousand miles to think in the best way I know how – – prayer during long journal entries and long runs.  Will I return and share some of those thoughts and prayers?  I hope so.  I don’t want my solitude to be selfishness, but for now I ask your leave to enter the solitude that has never left me lonely.  Russell may continue to write here in my absence if he chooses.  There are several other competent and compassionate interlocutors both here and elsewhere.  In fact, Mrs. Pascal and I are looking forward to dinner with two of them on Sunday night.

Thank you for joining this season in my life.  I pray blessings on this season in yours.  I have learned so much more about skeptics and atheists.  Two things are most important – – I know that I love them and I know that the time spent listening was well spent.  I’ll see you later – – here or elsewhere.

Love,

Pascal – – 1:16

Morning Person

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Dear Russell & Friends,

As usual, I titled my post before visiting Wikimedia Commons to find an appropriate photo.  This was the photo of the day and it was perfect in every way but one.  The sun is setting.  I think and write the best before the sun rises.  I pray best while running trails or climbing stairs.

Here is the story that accompanied this image:

Sunset view of the Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña (Hermitage of the Virgin of the Rock), province of Huesca, Spain. The village of Aniés is seen on the left. The oldest parts of the sanctuary date to Roman times, while much was built in the 13th Century. The hermitage is only accessible on foot, via a steep path in the forest and through caves in the mountain.

A hermitage.  In a mountain.  Overlooking a beautiful valley.  Accessible only by foot.  Through a forest. Sigh.  I can relate to the hermit and to her temptation to allow solitude’s reign.  But a hermitage is something else.  Alone together.  Isn’t that the motto of an introverted friend?  We are so happy to see you, to listen, to radiate your warmth back to you.  We just recharge alone.  My favorite saying about love and marriage comes from Rilke as I describe my bride in his words, “the guardian of my solitude”.  I’m in the mood for quoting, so to do it justice, from Letters to a Young Poet:

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

So, this morning and in my mind, I hiked that path, jogging here and there and approached that hermitage in the civil dawn.  Coffee was brewing as I arrived and I sat to a rough hewn table to eat simple bread and drink a clear, cold water.  Thirsty parchment and an old pen waited as I sat to write you.  Morning in the hermitage, awaiting the rising of the sun.

Why do I like the mornings so much?  It may be my neural wiring.  It may be the training in my profession that required long hours deep into the nights and shallow into the next mornings.  But everyone works long at times.  Some prefer to work and talk and play deep into the star dotted night.  I find night is best for sleeping and dreaming and recharging a body that is frequently depleted.  But morning!  Morning is my best time.  So that is the time I give to God, and will be the time I give to others.  Don’t run for exercise if you don’t love running.  It will never stick.  And don’t read or write in the morning unless it is your best time. You won’t have the same joy.  The internet is gleefully asynchronous and the world so small.  My dawn may very well be your dusk.  Let’s just find each other in the infinite space between, and enjoy our fellowship alone together.

Pascal – – 1:16

 

photo credit:  “Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña, LIC Sierras de Santo Domingo y Caballera, Aniés, Huesca, España, 2015-01-06, DD 08-09 PAN” by Diego Delso. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons