. In Marnac, France: A Brief Record and Thoughts
We’ve been in the South of France now, in Marnac at Annie’s house, for four (or is it three or five) days… I’m not sure. Without a set schedule acting as a clock, ticking away the seconds of our lives, time is already seeming to run together; like trying to recall buildings or fields which have zoomed by on your left and right after hours of driving along an unfamiliar road. At a certain point sights and memory becomes blurred and you just remember that you passed them, when and where seems inconsequential.
It’s been a great trip so far, so far as great goes. The land, food, scenery, weather, culture, my wife… all has been beautiful. Nights have crept by slowly, lingering longer than I’d prefer most of the time. Jet lag has, of course, reared her ugly head and I’ve sat up several nights until the wee hours of the morning, until being awake is utterly unnatural for a diurnal creature.
The second night was particularly difficult. I first couldn’t drift off because of having crossed six-too-many time zones; secondarily I was lying awake due to angst. I began to contemplate my life in the way that leads to no conclusions and brings no consolation or comfort. “What am I doing?” and “Am I wasting my time and gifts?” These are the sorts of ponderings that kept my mind reeling and produced that dreadful feeling that something must be wrong, in the pit of my stomach; similar to feeling ill as a child because you’ve told a lie and fear you’ll be found out. It’s all conscience I guess. In both cases one feels they’ve misbehaved, whether the incident was a fib or a failing to be what you’re supposed (or what others have supposed of you) to be. It’s amazing what a little solitude (whether in the South of France, a monastery, or a prison; although, admittedly, I’ve only experience warranting me to speak of one of these three scenarios) will reveal in us. When we can’t go on doing the doings that we usually do that define us to one degree or another, we are forced to deal actually with who we are and not what occupation we have landed ourselves in. These are quite different realities. When most people can’t sleep (or so I’ve been told) it’s because they are worried about work or similar worries and requirements that are being demanded of them, the few nights I lay awake in bed at night are due almost exclusively to an internal ache, in wonderings on the meaning of life, mine and everyone’s, and about whether or not I’m fulfilling my role in the large scheme of things. In the end, after several hours, I decided once again that I am loved and that I love and that this I want to make certain to focus my energy and life upon. Time and again I have settled on this as my eternal and only actual purpose. How I decide to fill my time, so long as I’m adhering to love, seems to have been left wholly up to me and I’m free to do what I please. It was this meditation that led me off to sleep.
I don’t know exactly what Love looks like or that it could be confined by definition, but I can feel when I’m not allowing myself to love or to be loved. It feels a bit like the sick feeling I mentioned before; a subtle knowing that something isn’t right. Other times being out of love feels like distance; sensing that something which should be near is far away and not knowing where or why it has gone. This feeling doesn’t mean that anyone else has done anything wrong; simply that I need to find my way back to the Place I can hear calling me.
In the end, heaven (either now or later) must look like or actually be Inner Peace. Peace with the world, with others, with ourselves, and in turn with God. To cultivate and experience this peace and be a vessel of it in the earth (and beyond) must be what It means to, “Become a child of God,” as John put it. Releasing this peace upon others, as Jesus demonstrated and instructed his followers to do, is to release the “Kingdom of God” and join Jesus in proclaiming the good news, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Any notion that ceases worry and allows or even leads me into rest must be true, so tomorrow when I wake up I will, once again, apply myself to Being Love.