Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Accidental Experiment on Being a Hermit

My introversion got a little out of control last week. With the exceptions of sacraments and a quick phone call with my mom, I went an entire week without conversation. I went on morning walks before the sun was up, and then stayed inside for the rest of day, interacting with nobody. Cyber communication was minimal, but face-to-face was nonexistent. And I loved it. 

I didn’t plan it that way. Simply, if left to my own devices and a week without any social commitments, I will hole up in my apartment, existing in a universe of one. Looking back, there is some guilt. I could have used the time better. I should have volunteered. I should have explored campus. I should have written more. I should have called up some friends.  And if I were going to spend a week in silence, there should have been more prayer.

I knew I liked being alone, but I didn’t realize I liked it so much at such lengths. I sort of hated having to crawl out of my hole to go to a meeting and buy groceries, even if I was glad to see that I could still function in society. 

If I were to overanalyze it, I could see that it’s not really healthy. It’s a waste of time. It’s a sign of how I like to control things. It’s a sign of my insecurities in dealing with others. But instead, I’m going to find a positive in it. It’s a sign that I’m ok on my own. It’s a sign that I can find contentment being single, and probably a sign that I’m not ready to make commitments to a romance and family, because those commitments take selflessness, and I’m just too darn selfish. Not that being selfish is good, but recognizing that about myself and knowing I’m not at a place to make selfless commitments is. 

I remember hearing that some nuns would live in tiny rooms attached to the church and spend all their time locked away praying. Is it odd that I find that more appealing than having children? I mean, I still want to be a mother, but only off in some distant-but-not-yet-infertile future after I’ve worked off some of my selfishness and need for control.

Sometimes I see my introversion as a weakness, stopping me from going out in the world and doing something, affecting people, making change happen. And I’ll feel guilty that I don’t have the drive to do so. But maybe my introversion isn’t a weakness at all. Maybe it’s just the personality I’ve been given, useful to God in its own way. He loves introverts just as much as extroverts. He hears the whispered prayers of the girl on the back pew just as loud as the boisterous preacher up front. There is a time for everything, and there is a use for my introversion. I just need to learn how to offer up my aloneness and silence to God.

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