For those of you among my legion of online fans who have wondered where the heck Doogie got to these last few days, let me put you and your freshly gnawed fingernails at ease. [Forgive me, my ego is dancing a jig right now.]
I'm still here.
This post is untitled because no title can possibly fit. I've just spent a weekend on a TEC retreat and can't really put the experience into words, for reasons which you can only know if you go on a TEC retreat yourself (see the "Other Web Sites" section in the above link to find a local TEC).
You should go. Really, I really, really mean that. If you're Catholic (or can at least tolerate Catholicism in your quest for closeness with Christ) you should go. Don't ask me for more information, as I can't provide it.
What I can share however, is how God touched my life over this last weekend.
Of the many things I am, some of the more unpleasant ones include angry, hurt, and scared. I'm not sure what causes these emotions in me. So I brought them to Christ in prayer and asked him to fix me. What he has revealed to me is that my "introvertedness" is really just me hiding. It's not an innocent personality trait; it's almost a disorder of sorts.
An image came to me of a small concrete bunker surrounded by coils of barbed wire in the middle of a vast wasteland. That's where I hide when surrounded by people; even if I venture out of the bunker and act like a fun-loving, chair-jumping, sudden-piggyback-ride-imposing extrovert, there is still an emotional barrier between me and the people I'm with. The barbed wire is still between us. As soon as the distraction of fun is gone, I usually encounter an uncomfortable silence between me and whoever I'm with where I don't know how to really commune with them. So I have to do something else really bizarre to hide the discomfort.
This behaviour makes real intimacy hard in marriage. It also makes real communion with the Church rather difficult. God and the Saints can reach me in my bunker, but earthbound mortals have no chance.
So I prayed for God to break it apart. I prayed for him to ignore my cries of protest as he swings his wrecking ball of love at my fortress of solitude.
Currently, it still stands, but it's not quite as intact as it used to be. I now know that I must be present to my earthly brothers and sisters. This bunker should not be a part of my life. God intends for me to be able to function without it.
I do realize that there is still great merit to be found in private meditation and reflection, but the fruit of that reflection should be able to be shared with the community. That's why I'm posting this online for the world to see.
Also, I ask my new friends from TEC to be patient with me, and to hold me to this growth. If I come to a social event and slink away unnoticed, please notice. If you detect a sudden distance in my eyes in the middle of a conversation, clap, or shout, or wave some cheese around, or do something to pull me through the barbed wire. I want that communion; I need it!