This slow burn has, if I’m honest, a lot in common with the feeling I have first thing in the morning, most mornings. A weighty expectation of tasks: Here come All The Things, one after another.
But then I think of the taste of my first cup of coffee, or I open the door and feel the warmth of the breeze, or I just get distracted because there are so many things to attend to that I don’t have any mental space to long for death anymore.
Here at Madonna House, I am supremely undistracted. Not because I am doing nothing, but because I am doing nothing but ordinary human things. Here is my day:
- Wake up.
- Gather for Lauds.
- Gather for breakfast.
- Gather for tea.
- Gather for lunch.
- Stay for spiritual reading.
- Gather for tea.
- Gather for Mass.
- Gather for dinner.
- Free time.
- Go to sleep.
It’s just life. I even left my Kindle behind, so I wouldn’t escape into Wheel-Of-Time land, so I would remain perfectly stuck right here in Combermere, Ontario.
This is life, and I want it to be over, so I can go back to my shiny world of things that are not life. So I can text while driving while plotting database schemas while listening to the radio while drinking coffee. I am so happy here, and I want so badly for it to be over.
Six more days. Five more days. Soon it’ll be the day where I can say that there’ll be only one more day until it’s the day where the next day is the last day.
I know where I recognize this slow burn from: it’s exactly like the twenty days I spent in jail, eleven years ago this Thursday.1 Except instead of being surrounded by petulant, narrowminded malcontents, I’m surrounded by gentle good will. Instead of slick, grubby tiles, there are rough wooden beams. Instead of sweating in the dim, loud basement laundry, I sweat while planting onions and splitting wood. Good sweat.
When will it be over?