I have had a bad afternoon, nothing is particularly to blame, that is simply how it is, I wish I could say that I came home had lunch and began preparing for Sundays service as I had planned but I didn't in fact apart from completing 3 mini mandala's to add to my mandala collage I haven't really done anything ( unless you count vacuuming upstairs). I feel like I am in an emotional desert, and yet I know God is close. I am trying to practice not beating myself up, trying to live with the theme of Advent waiting and not pushing for a premature healing or premature moving forward. It is so easy to push yourself, to answer the question "are you better?" with an affirmative and apparently definite yes when knowing deep within that the answer is still no.
But as I ponder my answer, which is a definite no, I wonder if it is ever really yes, for in truth none of us have everything totally together, we are all vulnerable in some way or another and until we learn to accept and hold that then we are not on the road through the desert but either sitting at the side of it and refusing to move, or forgetting that discipleship is a journey at all. The tensions in my journey are highlighted by depression at the moment and I am having to acknowledge my weaknesses, and having to learn how to live with the vulnerabilities that they reveal in me.
I know that I am not supposed to speak of vulnerability, I have been told that, and I know that some folk would rather I hid myself away until I am able to say that I am fine or at least OK, but although I can't say that right now I know that I am on a journey, I know that I am making a way through the desert, and I know that God is at work in me. The Lectionary readings this Sunday are desert scriptures, they speak of hope, hope that is both now and not quite yet, hope that breaks into our lives when we lease expect it.
"New life begins in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb of Jesus in the tomb it begins in the dark."
"I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.”
I need darkness, that is a strong statement, one that we probably too often shy away from, right now I am learning to walk in the dark, it can be exhausting and disorientating but there is a light that shines in the darkness, one that guides me through as I place one step in front of the other. This light is gentle and patient and kind and invites me into gentleness, patience and kindness with myself and others. When I am feeling unkind with myself I am likely to be unkind to others, so the darkness shows me another way, a way where the only choice is to stop from time to time, to regroup and to place my hand itno the hand of the one who leads me forward. My self criticism, my frustrations, my anger and confusion are boulders in the desert, and the ony way to clear the way is to follow the one who knows the path.
New life begins in the dark, this afternoon was a bad afternoon, and the best way for me to deal with that is to acknowledge it, to deny it is taking a step backwards, to accept it means walking on despite the luminous darkness that is around me...
Even the darkness is not dark to you... (Psalm 139:12)