going to law school in louisiana means that you pick up a ton of catholic friends. not that i didn’t have catholic friends already; my hometown is far more catholic than anything else. but LSU is not in east baton rouge county, it’s in east baton rouge parish. most of the catholics i met back in the pelican state were cultural catholics, not part of the religion out of fealty to the dogma, but out of inertia. the friday-night crawfish boils, the ritual, the routine, the that’s what we’ve always done-ness that comes with life.
but a few of these folks are CATHOLIC. i mean, actually saying novenas. keeping ALL the holy days of obligation. latin facebook updates. now, you’d think that people that devout and i would have next to nothing to say to each other. but a few of the very faithful are among my very favorite LSU folks. and we have phenomenal friendships, despite the fact that there are wide swaths of social and cultural policy upon which we will never, ever, EVER agree.
i say all this because one of my oh-so-very-CATHOLIC friends is well into the middle of an eight-day retreat with the jesuits. she is on this retreat to recharge after the bar exam and get centered before work starts. and for eight straight days, she has to remain silent. verbally and mentally silent.
y’all. silence. can you IMAGINE?
she’s been looking forward to this for months, and i’m sure she’s just eating this up like sugar candy. but the very idea of maintaining verbal and psychic silence for that much time? oh my GOD. i can’t decide if it’s peaceful and centering, or if my brain would rise up halfway through the time and eat itself. leaving me alone with my thoughts is often a recipe for chattering, clanging disaster. i should be still. i know this. but i am AWFUL at it. when i’m faced with alone-ness, here’s what happens.
1) problem comes up.
2) hmm. that’s a problem.
3) and here’s a compounding of that problem.
4) and here’s the worst-case scenario.
5) and here’s how, when the worst case comes up, everyone who cares about you will abandon you.
6) here’s the fight you’ll have with all of them.
7) you HATE fighting with people.
lather. rinse. repeat. it cycles over and over and over and… yeah. you get it. so many people love peace and quiet. it makes me panicky and twitchy. so i hope my very CATHOLIC buddy is getting everything she wants out of her silence.
just leave me out of it.