Sometimes you just feel a whole bunch of feelings which you are convinced you shouldn’t be feeling, and in doing so compound those wretched negative feelings even more. I am ungrateful? Tick. Uncompassionate? Tick. Ungracious? Tick tick tick.
We are living the dream of a life we couldn’t have countenanced even two months ago. I have just had my precious daughter and grand-daughter to stay after fifteen months exile. I can walk into a coffee shop and have a skinny latte any darned day of the week. I can even have a three-course meal inside and say yah boo sucks to the weather forecast. And outside the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it’s just like a scene from John Clare’s poem, ‘Summer.’ To quote - ‘The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day.’ You get my drift. (They wrote poems in those days that didn’t need over interpretation).
And yet I feel tired tired tired.
The newspapers are full of this – how we are struggling to come out of our isolation and rejoin the ‘normal’ world. They even have a name for it, 'PPSD', ‘Post pandemic stress disorder.’ (We love a label.) But, unless I was feeling this way, I wouldn’t have understood. How could you not be feeling joyful, excited, happy about the end of lockdown being just over the horizon – the ship of release finally sailing into port and offering delights such as singing in church, meeting Third Order sisters and brothers face to face, taking off on holiday?
And the final Great Unlocking on June 21st (although now in some doubt) presents hitherto unimagined pleasures such as going to a nightclub. To be honest I’ve never done that so I am not likely now to don a boob tube and start knocking back vodka shots as I gyrate around the dance floor. But it’s a thought if I want to feel I’m living again. Our little market town boasts several venues for a stonking good night out (I’m not kidding) which pre-pandemic were jumping until five am. I’d have to tell my husband though if I left the house at midnight and headed off uptown in case he rolled over in the night and wondered where I was.
Okay, enough of the magical thinking.
I feel tired and just a little down and you know – I think I need to cut myself some slack.
It’s times like this I tend to beat myself up as being the most useless Christian ever to walk the earth and berate myself loudly for not a) praying enough and b) reading my Bible at all. In fact, I’m a champ at this and given my general mood of inertia right now, I could win prizes.
But as I sat this morning trying to reach God, (I still don’t always get it that I don’t have to try and she’s just right there sitting beside me sharing my bean bag), a phrase swam unbidden into my thoughts. My evangelical friends would maybe call this a God-incident and I, being wounded inside would inwardly scoff and convince myself I didn’t believe in such things.
And the phrase was, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’
And I just let it sink into the pit of my exhaustion and my tearfulness and my guilt at being exhausted and tearful, and stay there until it calmed and it soothed and gently began to heal.
God must be very patient because time and time again I want to quit convinced that I can’t do this. I persuade myself that I’m no good at being a Christian and holler to her, ‘Why don’t you just park me somewhere at the back, God, where I won’t be any trouble and forget about me?’
And then God comes back telling me to just sit still because she’s got this.
And I’m going to do that. I was going to say I’ll try to do that, but that’s all part of the striving and I want to be done with striving.
I didn’t think I’d even got it in me to write anything this week, but here I am writing which just goes to show that there’s a spark somewhere and its always best to be honest and write about that spark rather then making something up. (Although fiction writers seem to do all right with that.)
But I’ll just sit here awhile until I begin to slowly come back to life.
Just taking a breath in and a breath out.
Be still and know that I am God.