Saturday, January 30, 2016

Restless Hearts

Well, that was an adventure, wasn’t it?  “Snowzilla,” or whatever it is being called, certainly did cast the deciding vote in how most people spent their weekend, and for many of us, much of the following week.  In our highly mobile society, it comes as a shock to be immobilized.  Suddenly, our horizons are narrowed, our range is curtailed, and our options are few. 
It is a matter of professional pride for me to say that not one Mass was missed, not one announced period of confessions went without a confessor.  Of course, that is not such a great achievement, since we priests live right next to the church, and could have made it over there even if we had not had a crew clearing the snow throughout the storm – which, thank heaven, we did. 
Not everybody had that option.  People who needed to be at work went early, and stayed there throughout the weekend.  After that it was nearly impossible to go anywhere other than where you already were.  Even days later, now that people are managing to get out, it is not a sure thing that you can reach your destination, whether by foot, car, bus, or train, or park or enter once you get there. 
On the whole, I have been warm, comfortable, and well fed.  We never lost power, nor communications with the whole outside world.  There has been no shortage of activity for me during this time; I’ve kept busy keeping the church up and running, tended to things around the property, cooked for the denizens of the rectory, and even did some shoveling.  So I have not been bored; quite the opposite.  Now, here I am, still where I have been the whole time, and I admit that I am getting a little bit stir crazy. 
Why?  What is the source of my restlessness?  What need or craving would be satisfied by being out and about?  If I could go, where would I go, and for what purpose?  It is hard to say, but I think whatever it is, it lies at the root of what most of us recognize in ourselves now as cabin-fever, or being stir-crazy. 
We do want to go somewhere; we do want to be somewhere else – almost always, wherever we are.  It is one of the clues that we are not yet where we need to be, no matter how much we make ourselves at home.
I think Saint Augustine identified the real motive behind our constant yearning, persistent searching, and insatiable desires, and said it best:  God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.
So may this little episode of weather weirdness, enforced confinement, reduced mobility, and narrowed horizons, allow you to enjoy the snowbound silence and reflect on the yearning within you.  Recognize it for what it is: the yearning to be with Him Whose yearning brought you into being, and Who yearns to have you with Him forever.  The satisfaction of both those yearnings is the adventure of every lifetime.
Monsignor Smith