It is not good that man should be alone

As some of you have gleaned from off-hand comments, I’ve returned to Washington, D.C.  I really liked my job as a curriculum developer at CFAR, but I turned out to be terribly homesick for D.C.  In January, I’ll be starting a new job as an Editoral Assistant at a magazine.

Meanwhile, in the two weeks or so that I’ve been back home, I’ve felt great about my decision.  I was welcomed back with snow, emails scheduling a Tempest reading, the opportunity to play with my college friend’s one year old, and a whole passel of Catholic events.  Last night, I got to hear a lecture by a Dominican sister (of the Nashville Dominicans) on “Spe Salvi: Advent and the Mystery of Christian Hope.”  The night before, I was at the Dominican House of Studies (casually referred to has “the D-House” by my friends) for one of their Advent talks on the symbols of the seasons (this one was on Christmas trees).  After both talks, the whole group prayed Compline together.  And last week, I got to go hear Christmas poetry at the Catholic Information Center.

One thing that bothered me about living in Berkeley this past year was how lonely my practice of Catholicism felt.  I missed the intellectual cross-pollination of the many lectures and group events I get to attend in DC, but I also just missed experiencing Communion communally.  After all, long before I was a believer, I never went to Mass alone.  I would go with my then-boyfriend, and we would discuss (or argue about) the readings and the homily afterwards and hold each other’s hands during the service itself.

Going to Mass alone made me feel a little ghostly.  And having all of my Catholicism happen alone made me feel lonely and odd.  Think about how weird it would be to only ever eat alone, to never witness anyone else eating, and to never hear anyone alluding to meals they had prepared and eaten themselves.  After a little while, it feels oddly isolated and disconnected from the rest of your life.  Last night, at the Spe Salvi talk, I had a strong sense of homecoming, because my spiritual life wasn’t something that happened outside my social life anymore.  It was open to the air, and ready to be fed and grow again.

And speaking of living, growing, hungry things… meet Humbert below (my young swain had the privilege of naming him).

When you grow sourdough, you can begin with a store-bought culture (as I did), but it will end up customized as it grows and the native yeasts in the air fall into it and are fed.  And just like Humbert, I’m looking forward to rich fare in this environment and growing to feed others.

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