I don’t have definite answers to those questions, although I hope the answer is no (except, possibly, to the last one). I have been aware in recent months that various bloggers, or former bloggers, or sleeping, or semi-sleeping bloggers, have been making noises on Facebook about regretting the demise of blogging, and the fact that we are poorer for this, and hoping to return to it. People posted links to some pretty good analysis on the superiority of blogging over Facebook, but because of the transitory and inferior nature of Facebook I have lost the reference to it. It was a theme that resonated with me, having only recently tentatively ventured into Facebook, and it made me aware that I have at times found blogging a valuable spiritual discipline, as well as valuing the contacts that it brought, and that I missed it.
However, while I have rejoiced in the (former) bloggers who have been making noises about getting back to blogging, and wished that I could join them, the reality is probably not so simple. My posts on St Irenaeus have ground to a halt it and it is probably unrealistic to expect that I will pick up any sustained blogging for a while. And that does have to do with the situation in my life at present which I hope will not last forever.
In December I wrote about moving to Robertson and developing Life Giving Spring as a place of prayer and retreat. That has been a great blessing, but it has also happened rather slowly and demanded quite a lot of energy. Plus I have been involved in producing a weekly bulletin for our Archbishopric that is actually rather time-consuming (it can be seen here if anyone is interested). I have also discovered that I really do not cope very well with living in two places at once, and have been frustrated that I am simply not at Robertson enough and that I really need a more regular life!
I have been employed on a two-year contract that ends in October, and my employers had been talking about creating a new post for me to set up a small-scale conservation studio which could have included the possibility of working part-time. At one point I thought that this could have been ideal, but I began to increasingly feel that I needed to be in Robertson full-time. I had also begun to get a lot of inquiries for private bookbinding work (to the extent that I have recently put up a note on my bookbinding site saying that I have a long waiting list) and it seemed likely that I would be able to support myself in that way. However, the thought of turning down a permanent post for the insecurity of being self-employed (and I’m not really sure that I’m the entrepreneurial type!) was rather frightening.
And then the decision was taken out of my hands when I heard a month or two ago that my employers are not going to be in a position to offer me a post when my contract expires. My reaction was one of real gratitude as it just made me aware that that was really not what I wanted. And my whole experience since coming back to South Africa is one of God opening (and perhaps shutting) doors in a most remarkable and providential way. So, while I’m aware that there are quite a lot of hurdles to be jumped through and challenges to be met, I am really very gratified and excited by the developments. I long for “a dwelling in one place,” as St Nil Sorsky puts it, and for the context to do what it seems I am called to do.
So, to get back to blogging, it is unlikely that I will do much regular blogging until things get more settled sometime after November. I have been taking on more private binding work as I do need to built that up, and between that, Church related things and my job, I don’t have time or energy for much serious reading, writing and reflection. But at least I know that it won’t last forever. And one of the things that I need to think through is what form of online presence I might develop in the future. Blogging can go in various directions, and be directed at various audiences. This blog started simply as a way of processing my own reading. It has also occasionally allowed me to think through things and process ideas. Both of those are valuable and in many ways I’d like to continue them. But I also find myself in a rather different situation to when I began this blog, and part of that is being an Orthodox presence in an overwhelmingly non-Orthodox context, and being part of a wonderful but rather fragile Church community. And I find myself wondering how we can use the internet to both reach out to others and to form and nurture the local community of believers. This are questions that are still floating around in my head, and I won’t be able to do much about them for a while, but they are perhaps worth mentioning.
In any case, this is probably just to say that this blog is probably sleeping, although it may occasionally stir, for the next few months.