Although there were nicer shops a suburb or two closer to the city, Merlyn made a point of shopping at the Pittown ones. It seemed to her disloyal not to use them. Besides, she found the people interesting. Not infrequently, someone walked past her and turned their head to give her a second look. They looked like they thought they knew her, but then decided that they didn’t. Sometimes, they looked at her quizzically as if they were thinking that she didn’t belong in Pittown.
The fruits of serious spiritual devotion have an unmistakable flavour, sometimes even more so in retrospect. It had been a challenging few years. I was twenty-six and had been progressing through an existential crisis; an involuntary falling apart of life’s meaning. I felt a deep human aloneness and with all my praying, I failed to feel the love of God in any way which could help my state of being. Other than the care and protection of my two little children and my spiritual studies, I had no interest in anything. Everything seemed trite to me; meaningless and often painfully intolerable. I had lost faith in everything human to give solace to my soul. It was not intentional. It is simply what happened over the space of a few years. I was at the bottom of the valley – all things lost but nothing gained.