Thursday, February 09, 2012

I'm a Hermit (still, again)

I'm a hermit.  I'm a terrible hermit.  I like being alone with my thoughts, my books, my worlds that I build (fiction - not insanity, I promise).

My father was a terrible hermit, which is funny because he was around people all his life as a pastor.  He would work all day long - visiting people in their homes, in the hospital, on the square, while he was walking. It seemed as if every evening there were meetings he had to attend, and on weekends, he spent Saturdays in conference meetings in Des Moines and then all day Sunday was spent at the church.  He was constantly around people.

It made it difficult to have friends over to the house, because when Dad was home, he just wanted to hide and Mom really honored that.  She didn't encourage us to have parties or large groups of friends over. She knew that Dad's need to be alone was important.  Fortunately for him, we were all pretty mobile and had lots of things to do outside the house.

When he had time, he would shut himself in their bedroom.  He might sit at his desk or lay on his bed and just read. He purchased our land in central Iowa as a place to hide. It was ok to have groups of people here for various activities, he loved sharing it with others, but more than anything he loved coming here with the family to be away from everything.

I remember trips to the cabin with Dad.  The preparation was horrendous.  He was a prickly bear, growling at all of us. The first half hour of the trip, we could watch the stress of the world drain off him.  Minute by minute passed and he became more pleasant.  He began laughing with us and telling us about the plans he had for the trip.

As Dad got older and retired, he moved close enough that he could get to the cabin within fifteen minutes.  He spent days and weeks out here, away from everyone, enjoying the peace and quiet that could be found. Again, he loved sharing the place with people, but even moreso, he loved being alone.

While I scoffed at this behavior at the time, I've since found that it is truly my behavior as well.  Even when I was working and involved in things that kept me away from the house fourteen hours a day, I began looking to carve out time when no one would be anywhere near me.  My friends rarely saw the inside of my house, I'd stay up late into the night so that I could be alone and slept when everyone else was awake and playing. I did shopping online so that my free time could be used doing things inside my head.

The funny thing is - I'm an extrovert.  Working with groups of people charges my batteries.  I always knew that no matter how much I grumbled about going to a choir rehearsal or a bible study at church, I'd feel great when I was finished. I love my friends. I love people.

But, even more than all of that love I feel for the world around me, I am a hermit.

Most people don't understand this behavior. For the most part, the world wants everyone to act in the same manner.  We should all leave our homes regularly and interact at high levels.  Community is important.  Caring for others is important. Being together is important.  Even the Bible says that it isn't good for man to be alone.

What am I supposed to do with this? Well, for now, I'm embracing the fact that I can get away with being a hermit. Seminary is going to force me to be on campus at some point, so I'll have to play nice with their requirements, but I love being allowed to think and write and read in the quiet. I love re-entering the world on my terms and leaving again whenever I can.  While some friends might not understand it and many may have written me off for it - I'm cool with that.

I don't know if I'll ever re-enter the world at the level in which I co-existed with it before this quiet time.  I really don't want to. I don't want the insanity of restaurants every night and traffic and noise, insane schedules and crazy hits to my system.

Hah. This post was going to simply tell you that I loved being alone and yet I loved having a kitty cat show up in my life.  I have pictures to share (because he's adorable) and it seems as if I've finally overwhelmed my Facebook family with my crazy cat self - they're starting to comment on it.  All of a sudden, though, it seems to have turned into a bit of a manifesto.  I didn't mean to do that.  But, there it is.

No comments: