Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Year of Living Reclusively

About a year and a half ago my life took some turns.  Many years ago I learned that Life takes detours from our imagined path, so I have no illusions of stability, visions nor accomplishment anymore.  "Turns" and detours are part of the big picture of Life that we don't have the capability to see. We can intellectually acknowledge their existence but we have no concept of the effect they may have on our life nor where we must go when the detour sign shows up on our path.  In the past couple years I've encountered some detours.

My immortal parents became undeniably mortal.

My thirty year stable work/income that had survived three recessions was pillaged by economic forces.

My "ministry" demanded that I not minister so our Mission Church could heal and new leadership could find its voice and vision.

The "detour signs" of my life ended up pointing somewhat in the same direction. I had to finally give up on construction 18 months ago.  I got a job as a school guidance counselor.  Ironically, as soon as I got the school job, construction picked up... but not enough for a full time income.  I have worked virtually every evening after "work", every Saturday and Sunday for the past 18 months.  At the intersection of needing to be absent from our Mission and needing to pay the IRS, Bank of America, Nissan, Capital One, Home Depot, Chase Bank etc. etc. etc. for the three  years of living off their credit extensions, it has all worked out elegantly.  The Mission Church is moving forward, I've paid off the majority of our debt and I'm able to keep tabs on my parents (though the hard decisions are yet to come).

Those are only the pragmatics, however.

Some of the other things that have happened spiritually and existentially were unanticipated.  I'm still not sure if I understand it all yet.  I'm sure ten years from now I will tell a different story.  But, this is the story right now.

Over the past year because of my work schedule (and some other things I'll discuss later), I've virtually given up my "internet presence".  I haven't done a podcast, video or blogged regularly for over a year.  Even though I kind of knew it existed, I guess I really didn't have a true grasp of my status as an "Ortho-celeb" until I disappeared.  That said, I am also VERY aware that "Orthodox internet celeb status" is a VERY small pond (much smaller than the egos of most newbies to the Ortho-net realize), so I don't have to be a very big fish in the grand scheme of ponds and fish.  The reality is I've just been around for about 15 years now and pure presence and longevity in itself gathers "hits and stats".

The bottom line is, I have disappeared from most things "Orthodox" in the past year or more. But I have also disappeared from most things I have always sought for affirmation and fulfillment as a human being.  I've realized over this past year that I have not missed them.  In fact, I like the peace I've found not pursuing "personal fulfillment" either in my job or my spiritual life.

So, what has happened over the past 18 months?  I've found that I've learned to love being a recluse.  But, I am not sure whether that is a good thing or not.

That, Dear Readers, will be what I try to parse for the next undetermined number of posts here whenever I get the time to write.


Larry Anderson said...

Good to hear from you. Sounds like there's a lot of healing and sanity going on in your life. Can't ask for much more than that. :-)

Anonymous said... podcast then?

s-p said...

Anon #1, Well, that has yet to be determined. Ironically AFR sent me an email today asking if I was planning on ever podcasting again so they can archive my podcast or not. I told them to hold off for now.

James the Thickheaded said...

There is so much more wonder in "allowing" others to lead us where we wished they would than in following our own lead, it's a wonder we didn't discover this fun earlier! Fact is... if I live long enough, might just figure out how to coax it out like a snake charmer.

todd said...

nevermind the stats

Jack said...

Have you really found peace?

Or is it rather the feverlessness of a corpse?

Anonymous said...

Well, for what's it's worth, Steve, I've learned much more from you in your reclusive, cynical phase than anywhere else on the internet (including your previous work). I look forward to more of these posts!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Been wondering how you've been getting on.... glad to see your posts.
Hope your parents are doing well - prayers for you all.

David Brent said...


Dana told me to contact you. I tried to use your email, but couldn't get it to work.

You see, I share your past. Orthodoxy found me and has grabbed me by the balls. Now I'm not quite sure what to do. You have taught me some things about the Orthodox faith.

I would like to talk to you about your conversion to Orthodoxy. I have a wife and three children who add complexity to my freedom. My roots with the COC run deep. I'm just wondering if there is anything I could learn from your experience.

David Brent

David Brent said...

I forgot to include my email address: