Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!



Well, I have to make one very large confession about this movie. I have loved it since I first saw it at age 12. Something early on told me, "I'm a little like this guy." He's a lot why I choose to live alone in the country, a lot of how "the solitary me" operates, a lot of my need to "step back from the world" on occasion.

Jeremiah Johnson is a war-weary man who leaves the Mexican War behind to live the life of a mountain man. (Never mind we have a big "movie anachronism" here--by the time the Mexican War came about, the fur boom was pretty much over, having mostly gone belly up in 1840.) But mostly, this war-weary man wants to be left alone. Unfortunately, he accidentally bespoils a Crow burial ground and the entire Crow nation in the area comes after him. He constantly has to fight battles he doesn't want to have to fight. The movie is also constantly filled with the sense of foreboding that the life he lives will no longer be possible, as the fur is playing out, and the world not far from him is becoming far more "civilized."

I see some parallels in this Jeremiah with the prophet Jeremiah, also, in the sense of "anger over what he's being asked to do."

I imagine I quickly identifed with his "war-weariness", growing up in a family where alcoholism constantly fueled battles I didn't want to fight, either, and often finding myself "just wanting to be left alone." I still identify with that sense that "the world is changing and I really just want to step away from some of it and do without it."

This movie has been haunting me a little since my EFM class Sunday night, when we had to talk about "community." It also seems to be driven home in another way, as my vacation in Alaska has made me aware that there are a LOT of people in Alaska that pretty much enjoy not being part of the "lower 48" and have a real sense of not wanting the bright lights and big city.

My EFM course Sunday night really challenged me to admit my discomfort with a lot of aspects of "community", even something as theoretically loving as a church community. I find myself a lot like the old "mountain men." Just as they relished living alone, well, they had to come to town sometime for the rendezvous, and they certainly went all out when they did that--sometimes a little TOO all out.

I realize that I am a little like that, too. When I "come to town", I go all out. Maybe TOO all out. It can seem "oppressive" to folks now and then. Staying in town too long causes trouble. I find it harder to "get along," and am sometimes at my worst when I "hit the wall" with my sociability. I am learning that "when it's time for me to go back to the mountains," I need to go back to the mountains--NOW. Other people don't always get this. Sometimes they think they did something "wrong." It can cause friction. But my closest friends realize, "Just leave me be, it will be fine in a few days."

I have also come to realize when I "come to town," not only can it create problems where I might "overdo" (over-giving, over-helping, etc. to the point where it can become a matter of me exerting "accidental over-control,") it also sets me up for being "over-manipulated." It's very close to how the mountain men would lose their money on trinkets, cheap booze, and women. Someone sidled up to them in a friendly way, and they more or less trustingly went along with it, because it looked pretty good at the time. My desire to "come to town and go all out" also carries a little of that same sort of naivete. Next thing you know, something has been psychologically been stolen from me. Then it becomes a dance between "fighting it out" vs. "going back to the mountains, angry and bitter."

Finally, as I continue to hear that inner mystic that lives inside of me, I realize there are parts of the world that I just don't care to enter anymore. It is very much like the "creeping in" of civilization in the Old West. It can just play out and leave me out of it. The increasing shallowness and materialism and need for "more" leaves me cold.

I think about how I use new technology to be more "old school"--how social networking like Facebook and Twitter, I tend to use for deepening and broadening relationships vs. more narcissistic forms of social networking. I think of how I have been taking my friends in Facebook Nation "on vacation" with me. I find I have a deepening love for some of them, and a desire to "take them with me," even though much of this vacation involves "being alone." It's a need to share in a way I'm not accustomed to sharing. I recognize it is another version of my continuing dance between "sociability" and "alone-ness."

What a dance! As my desires to be more and more part of God's reign and not the world's become stronger, I also sense my need to pop "in and out of community" must also grow. My need to be healthy, in those "popping ins," needs to be cultivated. I can hide, but I can't hide. But part of the growth is becoming stronger in my understanding of the times I must exit and go back to the mountains, recognize that this IS a healthy understanding that makes me BETTER "in community" when I'm in it, and not fear my temporary "needs to exit." Otherwise, I will be fighting battles I've accidentally created for myself, and succumb to war-weariness.

Learning to be content in my solitude in order to be healthier in community--what a concept!

8 comments:

I am uncomfortable with much of what passes for "community" -- although life with the boys is a form of community in itself. I'm comfortable being in my little trailer, venturing out when I need to but not going out of my way to invent errands in order to be around people. I've found that community can take place on a telephone receiver or from an email exchange.

kitty

That is the challenge, isn't it, Kitty? We see the parts of "community" we can do without, recognize what is healthy for us and unhealthy for us, and make choices so that, the ones we choose, we do the best we are capable of doing.

My other personal challenge is that I know there will be times when I "come to town" that some aspects of community will be thrust upon me, and negotiating my boundaries there can be tricky.

Yup. I can agree with your other challenge too. But any time I share a space with another person there is the potential either tripping over someone else's trip wires or having them trip over mine. I could be perfectly safe staying at home (although the boys certainly know the buttons to push!) but unfortunately, I can't live as a hermit. An anchorite, perhaps, a hermit, I think not. :D

kitty

That's it! I might be a liberally modified anchorite. It's just that my "cell" is a little bigger, and they let me out to go to work, the store, and church--then once in a while I take a trip, like this one, which often consists of being in one town for a few days. I do NOT like "gyrovague vacations." I like the trip to get there and come home, but I like to stay put when I get there.

Here I am under the volcano in Central America but along for your vacation too...how expressive and clear you´ve written yourself into seeing and being...thank you.

I have a tendency to do several things that you do (probably with less care a casting my vulnerability to the wind)...I also, as much as I really do love people (and find them fascinating) have a very low threshold for abusers of any kind...I make myself clear to then in person or from afar and somehow feel SO MUCH BETTER than I did when I simply griped about them and stewed about their vileness toward others. Recently I found myself, yes, codepdently I know, in the middle of a ¨abuse¨ directed toward someone I admire...well, I didn´t stop ¨laying out¨ the offender for a good five minutes...leaving the immediate world around me speechless...whew, that was truly a Eruption that I´ve thought much about...I have my own little guideline when considering a apology or amends...the guideline is that I make my apology ¨unqualified¨...it´s a good test for me and immediately removes any tendency to ¨stitch things up¨ by ¨saving face¨ (mine). So off I go with much to think about as I also enjoy my solitude and time to think the world, and my part in it, out.

I once thought I needed to ¨fill up¨ every moment of everyday...I hated downtime, gaps, emptiness...now, at this time in my life the reverse is true.

Have a wonderful visit up there and thanks for taking me with you for part of the trip.

Leonardo

Leonardo, I have loved your companionship on this trip. Now, if you would just go answer my Facebook friend request (wink) you could even see more pictures of the trip in my photo section. (nudge)

But seriously, I am grateful to have such a fine blogfriend on this trip "as is."

Very interesting about your abuse story. We are alike there. In my last codependent encounter with abuse, I, too, never fully let the abuser "off the hook". Mine was more private, but there was certainly an eruption, and at present, a breach. But I also know that this is a situation where "tough love" is needed. Your guideline for apology is soooo scarily like my own.

I also realize when lying is part of another's abuse, that the one thing I come to is a point where I will no longer participate in the lies. That is a huge jump in spiritual maturity for me.

We are so kindred a pair of spirits, my friend, across continents, miles, and time zones. What a blessing that is!

¨We are so kindred a pair of spirits, my friend, across continents, miles, and time zones.¨ K

I know, sometimes your writings give me shivers of recognition while reading them.

It´s like peeking.

All I can say is this - lovely post (as always) and I loved this film from the first time I saw it at 15. Big surprise there, right?

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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