It’s surprising to find myself in this place – about to “start again” – not quite believable.
But perhaps it’s not accurate to think of it as starting again. I have the sense of a concentration of forces – emotional, psychological, spiritual – and from that a new wave gathers force “out there in the ocean.” Lightning flickers, thunder rolls around the darkening horizon. Old stuff and new stuff – simultaneously.
To add another element, I’m bothered by the, apparently contradictory, notions of fiction and non-fiction; they force a certain discomfort around which nothing can be finally settled. Is it true or did I make it up?
In a recent conversation two questions emerged:
“Who’s taking care of you?”
“What is sufficiently interesting to you?”
And then a third one came to me as I waited for a train:
“How do we begin to understand the notion of liberation?”
The wish for freedom, like the waves forever washing and dispersing energy on to the beach; waves of my moment by moment decisions, many banal, some more interesting, interspersed at irregular intervals by larger, more far reaching decisions, like applying to become a priest, and for the last two years wrestling with what is called a process of discernment, to test out whether I and others continue to support that project; and God, of course, there to deepen the discourse.
There are the ways that I haven’t been free over the last years and my consequent hopes to be liberated to balance those deficits. As a single dad I have been constrained to be a parent, to be around, to cook, to keep house, to hold that emotional space of home, to stay open.
It’s all change now; my daughter’s nineteen and off to UEA.
And at the same time as I was learning to be a single dad I was also working through a rather protracted mid-life crisis. Using various forms of therapeutic endeavour, plus the stalwart walking, talking and writing I tried to examine the problem and come to a solution. At times I thought my path would be that of the writer. But no, it doesn’t appear to be. Or at least only writing in the context of something else. Instead I seem to have found my way to the priesthood. At least, I have been accepted and am about to engage in the four years of formation at a seminary in Rome.