Monday, April 26, 2010

Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown

Last night I tossed and turned all night. If it wasn't for remembering bits and pieces of a few dreams I would have thought that I never slept at all. When my morning alarm went off I felt exhausted as though I had spent the night wrestling with an angel. One of my first coherent thoughts after shaking the sleepiness from my head was my weekend decision to make a change in my life relating to one of my commitments. Still resolved to carry it through I got out of bed to get ready for work and begin my day. After arriving at work, and getting past a few early morning chores, I sent an email to the appropriate persons and I resigned as a leader from an organization that I helped found nearly twenty years ago. I was not angry about anything nor was I protesting anything nor was I having a falling out with anyone. It is simply time to move on. Here is some of what I wrote.

This past Friday afternoon, and again at 4:00 AM on Saturday morning when I suddenly awoke from a deep sleep, I had some rare moments of clarity. I have been struggling for quite a while with my personal involvement with the Lay Cistercians. I have been desiring for several years to step back and let others step forward. At this time I have reached a point where I can no longer wait for that perfect moment to arrive or make itself known, so I am resigning as the leader of the Kentucky Lay Cistercians and as a member of the LCG Advisory Committee. Even though I have never hidden my desire to do this I am sure this email may be a shock to you and seem to appear out of the blue. As I said, I have been struggling with this for a while. We Enneagram Nines can take forever to make a decision but when we do, it's done. I am doing this for a number of reasons, all of which are personal. It is by no means a reflection on any of you or the good work you do. I don't want to burden you with my existential angst but I suppose I owe you at least a few reasons why I am doing this.

On a personal level I struggle very much with living the Lay Cistercian life in a meaningful and authentic way.

A fatigue that is both physical and spiritual that has zapped me of any enthusiasm, desire, and ability to deal with the challenges and struggles of the continued LCG evolution.

A belief that I have little more to offer the LCG. I think I have said all I have to say and I have done all I can do.

My relationship with the Church at large. To say I am angry and disappointed with the Catholic Church would be an understatement. This is made more challenging for me since I have a son in the seminary.

I need to not be involved in anything right now. I've always been a more solitary type and at this time I feel a personal need to "go off to a quiet and lonely place". Therefore, I will not be participating in the LCG until such time as I feel called to rejoin it.

I have not informed my local LCG community yet of this decision but I plan to do so later today. They will do fine without me. In fact, I think it will be good for them to not have me around. As a founder I get more respect than I deserve and I sometimes feel that people think I am leader for life. I have sometimes felt my presence may even be an obstacle to the growth and development of the Kentucky LCG.

I don't know what else I can say about this and I apologize in advance for any inconvenience it may cause. However, I feel very strongly that I am making the right decision.

Tonight I feel at peace for making this decision. It was difficult for me to make. I am, however, relieved that I finally made it and did not loose my resolve to carry it through. Once implemented I was also deeply touched by the warm response of other leaders and participants in the organization.

After I made this decision and informed others of it, I was reminded of the following Zen poem.

Under the pines I ask the boy,
"Where is the master"?

He says, "My master's gone to gather herbs. I only know he's on the mountain, cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown".

I, too, am cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown.

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