Our parish owns 2 acres of narrow property the size of 2 football fields placed end on end. Near the front of the property by the road is our beautiful church, and a large doublewide trailer at the back end is not only for various parish functions but also where I live. Far from the road and neighbors I’m able to be monkishly quiet… unless I want to spend 4 hours cooking, in which case I pump up the Hawaiian music and enjoy a bourbon while cooking, singing, and dancing around! A very un-monk-like monk, but there it is!
The county I live in is called Effingham county, although due to the proliferation of home meth labs all around it also goes by the moniker of “Meth-ingham” County. Perhaps once a year there will suddenly be a ka-BOOM so strong that it shakes the house followed ten minutes later by the sound of fire engines rushing to put out the burning former meth lab. And did I mention the prison about 10 miles away from which an inmate occasionally escapes and inevitably heads our way?
I experience a divided-ness within myself about where I live. I love living where I am, as I am. At the same time I’m not so thrilled about living where I am. And when I am honest I must admit that my heart is also at times divided about the more substantive matters of wanting to be better, and not wanting to have to care about being good at all. Lots of material within me for both reflection and repentance.
I have often dwelled upon this issue of divided-ness. Once I was called to a hospital in Savannah to minister to a man who had suffered a massive heart-attack and was only kept alive by machines. I prayed over him to the sounds of machines around us beeping and wheezing. I anointed him. I held his hand for a bit. I heard that later when his family pulled the plug there was no response from his body at all… no attempt to gasp, twitch… nothing. I have often wondered if he was there when I was there or was he already gone? There is a divide between our body and eternity, just as my heart is divided between caring and wanting to not care. In the end the heart… or my heart at least… is a closet holding many mysteries.