REI Outfitters tempted me with a clearance offer today, so I succumbed to the 60% off offer of a 3L day pack with water bladder. When will I use it? I’m not sure. During the previous year of lockdowns and no one going anywhere, I began to build my backpack from scratch. Things like a compass, fire starter, first aid kit, and so on. But the only sort of back pack I had was a military hand-me-down (buddy who’s a former Marine gifted me his), which was for multi-day hiking and camping use. What I was needing was a day pack. Start small, as they say.
I haven’t been tent camping in quite a long time. But every spring, and in the fall when the weather cools, I get the itch. I only got a tent in the last couple of years (work anniversary gift from my employer). I only got durable hiking boots last December. So, yeah, despite the urge to “glamp” or even day hike, I didn’t have the equipment. So last year, I would look for things on sale, and get the things I could afford. Ten dollars here. Twenty dollars there. I’ve got more tent than I need, but I’m going to wait and set aside funds a little here and little there, till I can get a lighter one that’s good enough for just me and the dog.
Oh, yeah, there’s a dog.
But of course all this hiking and camping talk isn’t about hiking and camping. It’s spring and I’m restless.
There are a good many reasons for this, but many of them are personal and not for public blog posting. I’ve got things that are in transition, that need to be worked out. And in God’s time, with some work and prayer, I know they will be.
But there are other things as well. I work for a company I like, and with people I love. I enjoy my job (most days, but hey, that’s work, right?). But in my heart of hearts, I’m a writer. Nothing would please me more than to make a full-time income as a writer. I’m writing, of course, and I’ve got a novel heading to a final draft, and a couple of short stories I’m going to pretty up a bit and start sending ‘round to various journals and magazines. I don’t know if I will ever be able to support myself full time as a writer. It’s quite difficult and can take many years to get to that level of income.
I’m not in a relationship. And I’m quite content right now about that. And yet . . . ? The question still hovers unanswered, will I have a greater desire in the future to get married? What then?
I’d like to be in better health, though, thank God, I’m untroubled by any health issues. (That I’m currently aware of. Being a typical guy, I don’t get to the doctor as often as perhaps I should.)
And yet. And yet.
There seems to be more that I’m longing for. And I feel that restlessness about it.
I have a clue, of course, to what (or perhaps to Whom) this may be pointing. Having recently finished Holy Week and Pascha, I can tell you that this year, for reasons I don’t know, Pascha was the most joyous and happy day I have had in several years. I spent most of Pascha itself on the verge of tears, I was so happy. I didn’t want it to end.
As Blessed Augustine has put it, “Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in Thee.” This vernal restlessness—feeling the temperature warm, seeing the hummingbirds return and the flowers bloom and the trees blossom, hearing the birds sing to another and the calls of the children to each other as they play, the workers yelling for this or that piece of equipment as they build and repair—it all leads back to one source, to one essential longing, God Himself, the Holy Trinity. Thankfully, all the “gear” I need to satisfy this longing is ready to hand: prayer, my prayer rope, the icons, the saints in prayer with me, our parish temple and the Diving Liturgy. It’s up to me to not let the satisfaction of the things of this world dull the longing for the next.