This week has been a strange week for me, a set back really in my recovery from depression; I have found it hard to motivate myself, twice I went back to bed because I did not have the energy for the day and Thursday was a real struggle with nothing in particular to point to to say that I had identified the cause of it, it has just been a hard week. There have been real times of blessing too, an unexpected encounter with a friend that was filled with grace, a mid-week silent meditation that was a real gift, and some amazing pastoral conversations with people who could rightly be miserable if they chose but are instead choosing life, and finding positives in every day.
The latter got me thinking, because phrases like “nobody wants to talk to a miserable person” and ” I shouldn’t complain” challenge me, and call me in turn to challenge them. Yes it is hard being with a miserable person, but pain and loss, doubt and despair can lead us to places of darkness that might well be called misery, but they are real experiences and should not be pushed away so easily. I got to thinking about Job’s comforters who really wanted to stop his lamenting and get on with life, offering ideas about his need for confession and repentance, they were trying to fix him because it was hard to be with him, but Job was not “ready” to be fixed, it took a deep encounter with God before he began to turn his life around, and while he received blessings I have no doubt that he also bore scars.
To bear our scars is hard, I suspect that is why the risen Christ comes to us with wounded hands, feet and side, to show us that we need not be afraid, and that while pain can be transformed the scars make us who we are, softer maybe, less brittle or critical, more accepting and loving because we know what it is to be broken. To bear our scars with grace means not hiding them from ourselves or from one another, to overcome the shame that demands we present ourselves as perfect, cheerful and uncomplaining. None of us are perfect of course, and the pressure to be perfect can be very unhelpful.
I have had a bad week, next week might or might not be better, but forcing myself to put on a mask of recovery is unhelpful, so please excuse me if I say I have had or am having a bad day, I am trusting you with honesty and asking you not to shame me. Yes I have many blessings in my life, and yes put into perspective against the suffering of the world I have very little to complain about, and yes some of my problems are of my own making, as I have said I am not perfect but what I need, and I suspect what you need is to be accepted and loved just as I am, right now.
Yes I want to be better, and yes there are things I can do to move towards that, to eat well, to exercise, to try to get enough sleep ( tough when it refuses to come), and most of all to pray, prayer helps me because I find myself held by the divine who is infinitely more than I can begin to explain, God is such an expansive word, holding all things together!
This week has been a bad week, but like those I spoke to I am choosing life, choosing life and stumbling on, choosing love and stumbling on, choosing to celebrate the blessings and stumbling on…. stumbling yes, but moving on, if only taking shuffling baby steps, stumbling on!
Art work- Something new emerges ( mine)