I have lost my buoyancy. I guess this is what happens when all the external supports are removed… nothing to lean on, nothing to distract from how things really are inside. It’s all good, of course – it has to happen. It’s drawing back and stripping off, letting go and falling into grace. Right on the mark as usual, Richard Rohr’s daily meditations are all about ‘falling upward’ at the moment…
‘No sign will be given except the sign of Jonah’ Luke 11v29 We must release ourselves into the belly of darkness before we can know what is essential… the spiritual journey is more like giving up control than taking control. It might even be saying that others will often throw us overboard, and that we will get to the right shore by God’s grace more than right action on our part.
Jonah knew what God was doing, and how God does it, and how right God is only after emerging from the belly of the whale. He has no message whatsoever to give until he has first endured the journey, the darkness, the spitting up on the right shore—all in spite of his best efforts to avoid these very things.
Yeah – I know this… in my head. I don’t like it much, but nor did Jesus in Gethsemene: ‘Your will not mine be done’ nevertheless. This is the way of growth, the way of trust, the way of maturing in faith: this is the way of love – descent before ascent.
This is not about Sam. Sam is OK – apart from choosing to play Guitar Hero instead of get his meals: I refuse to worry about it. No this is about me… The sky is duck egg blue and the day is beautiful: it is an idyllic spring Saturday. I don’t want to cycle or exercise or tidy up in the garden. I don’t want to colour my hair or go to Costa. I don’t want to see anyone – and Martin has gone out. I could perhaps lie in the hammock, if the person next door would turn their radio off… Instead I am drawn back to writing and to poetry, just as in the early days of Sam’s treatment – an expression of pain, the therapeutic creativity of words.
I do actually think this is quite a lot about my hormone levels (always such a problem for women!) I will go and see the doctor on Monday – perhaps that will help. But whatever the cause – menopause, not sleeping properly, end of my tether, buried pain, a spiritual journey, all of the above – this is where I find myself. A week into Martin’ time off, more exhausted, more depressed and rather lost. Not surprising when I have carried a heavy weight for such a long time that as I try to put it down everything is aching and sore. Plus it’s a strange and anxious time with Jessa about to arrive! How will that work out and will we really be able to get away to France? But it’s an excited nervousness – the fulfilment of something that we have waited for a long time. No, we are not in control – but we gave that up a long time ago. This will change all our lives, but there will be grace as we keep walking.
As for Martin, he is pretty happy! No more stress of work, the draining of all his energy: he hasn’t touched his computer for a week! Instead he can choose how to spend each day – the gym and reading and tidying his study, sitting in the sun, cooking, sleeping. We even got away to Norfolk for an overnight stay in a favourite hotel this week – lovely, if tiring! Martin has no problem with his buoyancy – or is that boy-ancy? It’s a good thing as he’s going sailing this weekend! But I feel even more weary in the face of his energy and activity! “Calm, Martin, calm!” 😉
No pity please – it’s OK! I’m not going to feel sorry for myself: I know that ‘gratitude is the attitude’ that lifts my eyes up and feeding on Philippians 4v4 (AMP) is sufficient food and medicine for any weary heart: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]’ Yes, He is my ‘buoyancy aid’ – the Great Pioneer, who went before us. Jesus is full of love and beauty: that’s the place to focus and find peace – and grace to rise up again at the proper time. As Rohr says, ‘it happens by God’s grace, more than right action on my part…’ though I am chronically obsessed with taking the right action – whatever it may be! Just don’t really know what it is today… apart from choosing to be positive – and rest.
Rest is hard – I don’t think Martin is too good at it: he has 7 weeks left to crack it! It’s not doing nothing, but it is being at ease. It does require lots of being still and listening to the whisper within and having done that it is about letting the gentle breeze take you where it will, letting the Spirit dictate the pace. I don’t think I am very good at it either… It means that there is nothing left for me to do but trust in Grace to do the work!
So I guess today for me it is lying still and letting my body recover, and perhaps I will feel like doing something later, perhaps not. The challenge is, this could take some time – several weeks to make a difference… But how blessed I am not to have to do anything… what a relief! I don’t have to ‘sink or swim’ – I can float awhile, leaning on my buoyancy aid.
Now, where’s that hammock?