Advent Feelings

At this time of the year, it is hard to find joy outside the coming of the Word Incarnate. It is all too easy to dwell on the pains of Christmas Past and focus on the loneliness of Christmas Present alone. So I suppose that it is some comfort that I realize that my growth in matters spiritual has been enhanced by that very loneliness.

In the monastic ideals, one devotes oneself to prayer and study of the scriptures, with a celibate lifestyle to aid those endeavors. For me, celibacy is not a choice; it simply is a fact of my life. Don’t get me wrong: in many ways I appreciate it. Certainly it gives me more time to study and pray – and fewer distractions from that.

Also in the monastic life, work is simply a means to provide for oneself and the community. I seem to have evolved into a similar pattern. I work, but look forward to coming home, where I often study. Prayer is a constant companion, even during work.

Friends tell me that they can see my growth, and I can certainly look back and realize that I am a very different person than I was even as little as five years ago. I’ve written about my development elsewhere, so I shan’t recount it here.

Yet with these insights and expanded spirituality, I still feel lonely – or more correctly, alone. I hate to say it, but there are times when the Lord is not sufficient – or at least it feels that way. I know this is wrong, but it is how I feel.

It is easy, also, to make it personal: have I let the Lord down somehow? Am I not serving the way He wants me to? True, salvation comes by grace and not works. But I want to serve. Peter says we should serve not because we must, but because we are willing. I am willing, but I feel that I have somehow missed something.

At any rate, I feel alone much of the time. In that there is some good, but there is also a lot of life that I seem to be missing. I don’t even know what to say or think about all this.