Saturday, April 16, 2016
Prayer amidst confusion and pain
I've just read two posts from a couple of bloggers on on Patheos, a great place for spiritual and religious writing from all sorts of traditions by the way, I focus on the catholic ones naturally. In any case the first of these was Teach us to Pray...But be Gentle: Prayer and Mental Illness. I found myself nodding as I read, yes and yes. Here is one section that spoke to me this morning as I sat here gazing out my window, fervently wishing I were not going to work, and wishing as well I could flee to the hills to sit alone on a rock and be finished with this world once and for all, but knowing I cannot do that because I have work to do, because I have love to give and to receive and it's wonderful and joyful... even when deep inside I'm saying "Let me go, please just let me go..."
"Teach us to pray – for we are crushed by it. Teach us to pray – for we are swallowed by the hollowness of it. Teach us to pray – but could you sometimes be gentle with us and listen to our stories?"
Well, that post was inspired by another, Prayer and Mental Illness, which is linked within it, and that post is also one to which I sat this morning and gave my yes and yes and yes again. Especially here as she is speaking about God...
"Someday, I tell myself. Someday. God has made something new of worse. Or, you know. He hates me and wants me to hurt. Depends on where you catch me, hinges on the moment and where I am in my head. Or however it works. I sincerely believe that God loves me. I also sincerely think he doesn’t. That’s me: somehow always almost safe and never again safe. Always living along that God damn partial bridge of body and mind."
The question of "Why God?" is always there, always in the back of my mind, and it is never answered. But what happens, when I allow it, is that Jesus is there with me, holding me in his nail pierced hands, his arms around my shoulders and whispering into my ear, "I love you Larry, I am with you and I've always been with you." And I weep in his arms and say "I know Lord, please don't let go of me because I'll fall without you." And he holds me gently and tightly and the pain and the fear and the despair and the exhaustion and the desire to be just done with life eases just a little and I can smile a bit and say "Thank you Jesus, my brother and my Lord and my God."