I am using the days of the Feast of the Nativity to reclaim and restore some things in my life that I have let slide for way too long. My gross little tank half filled with tannin stained water is a 35 gallon tank with schools of golden barbs and neon tetras. I have my medical and other bills together and will set things up to slowly pay them off. Tomorrow is going to be in the upper 50’s. So I will get to my car cleaned up. But today was a combination of the kitchen, some laundry, and my all important cell.
Monks live cells as a place of prayer and solitude. As my wife’s condition went south, I moved to the spare bedroom. She had used it to store some of her notebooks and other things. I used it as well as a bit of a dumping ground. And I have never been a neat freak in the slightest. With me clearing out my office at the church and my wife and her aide slowly tackling getting the home office/junk room straight, I figured making my bedroom into a proper monastic cell would be a better option.
St. Moses the Ethiopian told a brother monk, “Go to thy cell and thy cell will teach thee everything.” In the state it was in, the only thing my cell could teach me is that I am a mental and spiritual bus accident waiting to happen. Seeing that I have been in three of them and there was damage in each, I figured I’d do something about it. Finishing the job, I found 3 bags of clothes that are heading for a donation bin. I haven’t decided what to do about my shortwave radio and scanner. And if my shotgun was in the house, I would have shot the old DirecTV box for fun.
But, a couple of items in my cell have prominence. I have an Oxford Study Bible with the Apocrypha that I have owned for about 20+ years. I also have the New Jerusalem Bible my father gave me when I graduated from VSU in 1989. Both of those Bibles have been with me in quiet contemplation and major wrestling matches. The photo of my wife and I taken when we got back together in 2000 (we did separate for two years for the sake of mutual mental health). Despite our inner demons and outer differences, we love and are very loyal to each other. A copy of the Life Magazine photo of Archbishop Iakovos with Martin Luther King Jr during the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. Perhaps a foretaste of Orthodox Christianity and African-Americans coming together for dialogue and working together for the betterment of humanity.
Along with my prayers before my Matins in the living room, I am reading the Ante Nicene Fathers and taking notes. I need to remind myself to push myself to pray Compline. And also to spend time enjoying leisurely reading while listening to some good jazz every now and then.