I have got to the part of The Artist's Way where it insists the reader give up reading for a week. Julia Cameron means reading anything. Like her first students, I thought of a million reasons why that was just impossible--Polish class for a start. But then I remembered the Polish class has ended for the term and many people give up Facebook, for example, for Lent.
So I thought, Great! I'll quit reading anything, including the internet, for Holy Week.
And do I feel frightened? No! I feel excited. A whole week of no internet. With God's help, I will not obsessively check for email, the latest news, the latest comment on one of my articles, the latest blog-post Mad, Sad or Glad Trads are excited about today. None. Zip. With the grace of God, I will say good-bye to my dear friend.
Of course, I will have to scramble to get done those things due to me emailed during Holy Week, but it's still morning.
I am grateful to the internet, which has changed the course of my life, leading me to friends outside Canada and to my husband. It has given me new and bigger audiences and ample opportunities to fulfill my vocation as a writer. It has also, if a laywoman of traddy inclinations may use this word, given me a way to minister to those who need my ministry most, women who are Single and worried about it. As a writing tool, it is the best encyclopedia in the history of the world.
But it isn't God, and it is not right that someone not God should be so much of a focus of my life. The internet is a created thing, and as such should only be my servant or my friend, not my master. Thus, what better time than Holy Week to say "See you later! I'm off to sketch bluebells in the woods."
If only giving up a worry were so easy. Maybe it is. My memory of being a Single woman is fading away, an occurrence common to Married women, although I suspect the younger you marry, the sooner you forget! I got married old enough to think that you might reject this suggestion, but it is to assume--for a week--in the very marrow of your bones, that you are going to marry or join a convent in 2022, seven years from now.
Yes, I know I always tell you to be rooted in reality, and here I am telling you to believe that you will, for certain sure, be a happy wife or nun (whichever you prefer) in 2022. But it is a way to give you a holiday from worrying that you will always be Single when you most earnestly don't want to be. Whenever you feel a "Single" woe or worry, say to yourself "Ah, can't wait until I get married/consecrated in 2022!"
Meanwhile, when you get up in the morning, grab a notebook and write three pages about what you like and dislike about your life as a Single. First, write out all the things you really dislike. Be honest. (You're going to destroy your notes on Holy Saturday anyway, so as to be born anew on Easter Sunday morning.) Then write out all the things you really like. Then end, "All the same, I can't wait until I get married/consecrated in 2022!" Then hide your pages under your seat cushion (or wherever) and get on with your day. If you do this program with a fellow Single, perhaps your sister or a room-mate, make sure you say "2022!" to each other as a sort of code word.
"I'll be wearing Vera Wang."
"Awesome! I'm going vintage Chanel."
"I'm marrying a fireman."
"Really, a fireman?"
"An accountant who showers me with gold bangles."
"He plays in an indie rock band at night."
"He will say the bangles are a good investment."
"Wow, a practical rock-and-roller."
"Yes, I like a man to be balanced."
On the night of Holy Saturday, read them all (don't read them until then) and rip them up! Burn them if you can. They aren't for anyone to READ; they are just for you to VENT and, hopefully, giggle over.
Above all things, I wish I could have known that Benedict Ambrose was waiting for me in the future. God knew he was, as God has known everything always, but I did not. If I had, I think I would have made much better choices in life! What I regret most, though, is that I didn't have a stubborn and abiding trust in God's love for me.
And that is the last thing I have here to say before Holy Week begins. I'll turn the comments off at 2300 hours Greenwich Mean Time, and then its a very happy text-free Holy Week for me! I hope it is a very happy angst-free Holy Week for you.