Go tell it like it is, Deb (sung to ‘go tell it on the mountain)

If you’ve ever been dumped. Got pipped at the post for a much wanted job. Been slighted by colleagues or people you once considered friends…or been stranded in Hanley bus station late at night (i’m not joking) …then you know how it is.

Life can seem unfair some of the time. (yeah, yeah, no one ever said it would be easy. Yawn).

When dealt a blow by circumstance or our fellow man, it is all too easy to lose our sure-footedness, to lose confidence in ourselves…. we may lose faith in what we thought we knew , we may even lose faith in people we thought we knew.

And that’s bad.

Very bad.

Haven’t most of us said at some time or another….

“Okay God, WHAT NEXT!!! What can possibly go wrong next!!!”

And for the most part, at least in my experience, something else usually does go wrong.

There may be long periods of time in a persons life where it can seem like things just keep going wrong…and sometimes it may seem like the only thing we can be sure of anymore… is faith.

Until even that looks decidedly shaky.

Do you ever have such a bad run of things with people that you feel like shouting,

“You’ve trodden on all my toes, why not try a few fingers now too?”

If you’re anything like me you won’t say anything at all because you’ve tried before and the people who need to listen just raise their voices even louder in an attempt to drown yours out.

But passivity will often lead to deeper pain, perhaps, even resentment.

It may feel that no one is listening because, well, no one actually is listening…and maybe the only way of dealing with a thing is by removing yourself from the person, the situation etc?

Sometimes, a person may feel that the only way they can express themselves is by taking action.

Some people write letters (or posts) perhaps, and maybe some people take action by making a statement…with their feet…after all, even broken toes heal, eventually.

For a long time now i’ve felt hugely dispirited.

Before i went away on holiday, i imagined that i would return with clarity of mind. Knowing what i must do. To speak out, or not to speak out. To take action, or not to take action.

I found no such clarity.

But God doesn’t always give clarity, does he?.

In fact, I would go so far as to say there are probably less than a handful of instances in my whole life in which i knew God was answering my prayers so directly as to give me a clear ‘do this’ response.

Even when i’ve been in turmoil.

Even when things have been as bad as they can get.

He seemed no where to be found.

He seemed silent.

Hidden from me.

It wasn’t faith that got me through the difficult times, cos i wasn’t even sure i had any in those early days.

But I wouldn’t have called out to him, sought his presence so passionately, if i hadn’t believed in him.

So i called out, cried out, screamed out.

He answered, but just not how i expected him to.

Not in my time frame.

I’m a very very very impatient person.

So waiting for anything, even for nail laquer to dry, is extremely difficult for me.

Last night i went to Mass and in the homily the priest said this,

“it might seem to us that Peter was a bit of a wimp…taking a few steps towards Jesus before he started to sink…but in fact, if you’ve seen a storm on the sea of Galilee, you will know that it took courage even to step out of the boat. Walk toward Jesus…just make the effort, and he will be there to take your hand. Even when your faith begins to fail you and you think you can’t go on”.

I really don’t think it’s possible to get back to how things used to be. To get back to how I used to be. Too much has happened to go back now.

And if i can’t go back, there’s only one way to go.

Forward.

God alone must now be my focus.

It is He alone that I must walk towards.

Somewhere along the line I lost track of the importance of that astonishingly simple fact.

I am beginning to feel the murmer of ‘hopefulness’.

I have nothing to base that on.

It’s a stirring within me. Nothing actual. Nothing factual is fascilitating that feeling within me.

I have hope. Just a little bit. But i think, i hope, it is enough.

Hope is a good thing.

But if you are going to have hope,

Hope in God.

Not in mortal man.

That has been very much my downfall in all of my most recent troubles.

As i said earlier, things have been tough for me for a while now. Particularly spiritually.

I used to attend weekday Masses as well as Sunday Mass, for a long time I also made weekly or fortnightly confession (until i was advised by someone that my sins weren’t really grave enough to warrant such frequent trips to the confessional – that threw me totally and i was so upset that i felt i could no longer even confess to God without getting it wrong!)…i used to spend time with Jesus in Adoration. I prayed daily, examined my conscience daily, read the daily mass readings, was zealous for the faith, felt faith – filled. Shared my faith enthusiastically, prayed with my kids regularly…

But now….blow after dispiriting blow….

my prayer life is shot to pieces. I confess far, far less regularly, attend Adoration negligably, rarely read the daily mass readings, sporadically examine my conscience, attend mass on sundays only. My children are starting to sink into Liturgy lethargy and have even at times (though not often, as yet) questioned why we have to go to Mass anymore and said that they would rather be at home playing on their games or surfing the net.

Course they would.

Never underestimate the consequences of getting a good kicking in your spiritual life (or of the domino effect on others).

It fair does a person in.

But i said there was hope, didn’t i?

Well, this week has been a better week.

It has been a better week because i have decided, on a moment by moment basis, not to be overwhelmed by what life deals me. I persevered.

Speaking/writing of perseverance….I hope that though i don’t always live an exemplary life of faith, that though I don’t always know what I’m doing, or even why I’m doing it, that my children will one day see that though i wasn’t the greatest example of ‘a good Christian person’, i persevered even in the most difficult of times and sometimes under the most extrordinarily difficult circumstances.

That my life is a journey of effort.

That nothing comes easy that is worth having.

That amidst the raging storm, and despite my pitifully sinking at any given moment…I continued to walk towards Christ.

Because though the storm may obscure my view of him, I trust, nontheless, that he is there.

So yes. Where was i?

Oh yes.

This week was a better week.

I attended two weekday masses and made it to confession too.

I even spent a few moments talking to Jesus after Mass.

I told Jesus I didn’t know what to say to him, what to pray to him, anymore.

It’s been a rough road for a while now between us.

I’m not going to pretend like we’re A-OK, the big guy and me.

Because we’re not.

At times I have doubted God was with me through all this.

But nowadays, most of the time, I’m almost sure he is.

All that has happened, that continues to happen behind the scenes of this blog, has had me so despairing at times.

But i’m taking baby steps with my wounded feet and my wounded soul.

And it isn’t all bad.

God has a plan for me.

I think i know it.

I want to believe it.

I have to believe it or everything means nothing

and i do believe in God

no matter how much i hurt inside.

I might scream ‘God, where are you’.

But that’s a miniscule dot of raw emotion, a slither of my being completely and startlingly honest with God… within the context of an existance that fundamenentally believes in the existance of God.

(could it be said then, that for most of my life i am dishonest with God? when i don’t tell him exactly how i feel, when i’m not polite…when I’m not happy with my lot? Have YOU ever sworn at God, screamed at him, accused him of not loving you, of not protecting you? I wonder)

If I compare my life to reading a book I could say that in this story of my life I easily lose track of where i am…I forget that God is on the same page as me…in fact, I continually forget that God is with me, or even that he cares about me…I have to keep reminding myself over and over, what the story is all really about…I frequently feel out of my depth…not clever enough to understand the plot…re-reading the paragraphs just confuses me more… and I never know what’s coming next.

but i have a hope of what may yet unfold.

This book of my life….it’s something of an adventure…something of a page turner in fact… at least to me…and as long a i keep turning the pages and don’t close the book once and for all…I think i just might make it.

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19 Responses to Go tell it like it is, Deb (sung to ‘go tell it on the mountain)

  1. Rosemary says:

    Deb, you will make it. You will make it because just as Peter reached out to the Lord’s hand when he was sinking in the water, you are reaching out too. The Savior will not let us drown although, like Peter, we sometimes may believe we are sinking. God bless, friend.

  2. Alexa says:

    You don’t want to hear that I’ve “been there” – but I have and I am.

    I think our spiritual life is often like a pendulum on a big old grandfather clock though….

    One foot in front of the other – I remember spending three intense years (and more) going to weekly confession, daily mass and living at the church practically – and that was all good and fine – if my future vocation was to have been a nun – but human existence includes living in the world – and we carry Jesus to others in the tabernacles of our hearts.

    You live a good life and a devoted life as a mom and daughter, Deb. You work hard, you keep your standards high.

    Your pendulum is going to swing back and forth – just hang on.

    You’re right, too, of course. Hope is eternal.

  3. Owen says:

    And, there’s so many ways to be dumped. So many blindside surprises in life. It’s hard. It’s being human. It’s people dear God and it’s most hard when it’s in the family, blood relatives and Blood relatives. Who hasn’t been there? Who hasn’t been there more than once. God grant us grace to be like Him.

    “For a long time now i’ve felt hugely dispirited.” I am especially sorry to hear that Deb. Please know I am praying here on the other side of the Pond. Alexa says some good things. It’s hard to hear it when you’re where you are – it all sounds so folksy – but I guess it is, salt of the earth folksy, good stuff, like you are good stuff. Much love.

    “I told Jesus I didn’t know what to say to him, what to pray to him, anymore.” and here is today’s reading with Elijah meeting God in the silence. Peace be with you kiddo.

    (P.S. fortnightly confession – colour me pathetic-er …I find weekly is the thing and am lucky to have a confessor who’s good with that.)

  4. Renee says:

    You’ll make it, Deb. God knows the secret desires of your heart, more than you even do. And in my opinion, being real with God regarding your relationship is a step closer in intimacy than the “best behaviour” that you get at the beginning. Once you can really get real with God, you are having a real relationship with Him. Allow yourself some times of silence, and listen, and you might be surprised what you hear. It isn’t easy, for sure. But it sounds to me like you are moving in the right direction!

  5. Rita says:

    Deb,
    One man has ruined my life (and my husband’s life) this year, he has reduced us to begging for money off relatives, he has forced us to leave our home, he has pigheadedly bullied me and nobody could help (well they could have, but he might have started on them too).

    The complete lack of earthly justice in the whole thing stinks and makes me bitter and angry.

    As much as I want to be a “feather on the breath of God”, I feel more like a punchbag is a sweaty gym.

    I don’t know about you, but blogging this year has helped a spiritual growth within me that has been totally necessary to cope with all the crud. There is friendship and commonality of purpose within this group that should be present in local communities and parishes but which has been stifled..

    I’ve never met you, but your warmth and honesty shine through and I love you to bits.

  6. Deb, my pastor said the same thing this morning about today’s gospel: it is a call to stop Focusing on Fear, and instead Focus on Faith, and Move Forward.
    With my prayers that you–and I–will be able to do that. (I’ve got plenty of fears that hold me back. It was like he was talking directly to me…)

  7. It’s ok to yell at God. David did and still he was labelled as the man after God’s heart.

    He knows what’s in there – so there is no need to be afraid to be yourself in front of him. And He will never outshout you either -He always listens. Of course He’s more interested in working in our heart and on our attitude than giving us what we think is best … that’s tough sometimes, but it always pans out in the end.

    We are human BEings not doings. We don’t get more brownie points for going to church than we get blessings by BEing in his presence.

    You’ll find Him when you look for Him – because that’s what He promises in His word. Luke 11:28 and yes it takes courage to step out on the water in the midst of a storm -but that’s infinitely better than sinking where we are. Why? Cos with our eyes on jesus and reaching out to catch His outstretched hand is like being in the eye of the hurricane -the safest place in the universe!

  8. Sarah says:

    Go out on the limb – that’s where the fruit is! Faith and Hope and Love – I pray for you to hold on like Jacob until the Lord blesses you again and again and again! Keep being thankful, ask God to increase your faith . . . and hang on to that inkling of hope you have. I pray it increases and you know the JOY of the Lord.

  9. AutumnRose says:

    my prayer life is shot to pieces. I confess far, far less regularly, attend Adoration negligably, rarely read the daily mass readings, sporadically examine my conscience, attend mass on sundays only.

    I haven’t even made it to Mass for two weeks now…
    My whole life has “gone wrong”.
    Sending you loving thoughts, because I canot pray (((((Ukok))))) xxx

  10. mum6kids says:

    Aha. So that’s why I prayed for you outside the ruins of the abbey of Lindesfarne. I was there to pray for someone else (and did) when you popped into my head and so I added you in.
    God bless. I hope that your holiday was a least a break so you can take a breath before setting back out into the storm.

  11. Scotty says:

    Praying for you and for all of us who feel like we’ve been in this dark and Godless pit for too long. God give us the courage to reach up and out and may your hand be ready to catch onto ours.

  12. Karen says:

    Another friend and I were talking very much along the lines of what you said. [We jokingly have said that if there’s anything that convinces us God the Father is a male, proof positive in that fact would be that He doesn’t seem to multitask well sometimes. “Uh, God, I know you’re busy with all those people in India with flies on their faces, but if you could spare a second, things are getting desperate over this way.” You’re right in that the blogging has helped. I did tell my confessor that sometimes I go through spiritual aridity too, and felt sorry for that, but then I know that often the greatest saints had trouble with that too “dark night of the soul” stuff. So at least one has company!

    But I do believe, so I try and carry on as best I can. Counting the thing I do have does help.

    My friend also said that a former pastor of ours (who had his faults but deeply loved the Eucharist) said of those who had problems with the “well, God you’re supposed to know everything, can’t you see that I need xyz, not “want” xyz, but NEED xyz, have I not asked You” to get VERY specific with prayer requests.

    See if you can manage a little Eucharist Adoration in a reasonably empty church – it does help me, for sure.

  13. ukok says:

    Thanks all, for your continued encouragement and prayers.

    Blessings to you!

  14. Easter A. says:

    “…God is on the same page with me”. How I love those words, Deb!

    Love,
    Easter:-)

  15. Suzanne says:

    Everyone says some amazing things here and they love you so and many are openly admitting going through and sharing what you feel and we have all gone through it and have from time to time…some times worse than others, some times more shaky than others. Still we hold on and we reach out to one another, because we sense and feel that connection with one another in the good times, the trials, the quiet times…but as others have said do save Him some of those quiet times…it is only in those times that some new thought, some new hope, some new acceptance comes through. It isn’t easy…I’ve been going through some of this myself and it is sure that we are in good company with the reflections made in this comment box. Help us, Heavenly Father…help us know, sense, hold you near. Thank you for we know not what else we can do or want to do. Amen

  16. ukok says:

    Lovely words, Suz. Glad you are home safe and sound and had a good time 🙂

  17. Carol says:

    Well, let me issue an apology first, because this’ll all sound preach-y, but it’s the only speed/volume I’ve got. The closest I came to thinking even my faith would be stripped of me is when my mom was dying of cancer. I knew I’d be there (in her home) with her at the time.. but meanwhile, just as bad, was that she was suffering, and might suffer even more. Oh, how I snubbed Him.. “Any graces You want to give me, Sir, give them to her, tYvm,” –and yet at the same time, I knew He was Father of her as well. No less than FATHER, and that’s pretty wonderful to have as a bottom line. Not even I loved her more than He. He is indeed Father, and He is bigger than our anger. Far more important, He actively awaits us; His concern as always is our eternal life, but Jesus sent us Their Holy Spirit as Advocate.. as Best (and constant!) Friend. He also gave us His peace — and He stipulated it’s not the peace the world gives. This we must plunge more deeply into, and yet we won’t, unless we are tried. He allowed Peter to be sifted, so that he would strengthen the others. We, too.

    Faith isn’t what we do–what we do is religion; faith is what makes us get up after that “third (killing) fall” and go onward, just as Jesus did.. and for us, it is sheer faith especially if forgetting even our primary reason for trusting. Mother Teresa went 50 years without the slightest sign of heavenly love. It about killed her, yet she trusted in it nonetheless, amid the most heartbreaking suffering and poverty known to man.

    We can trust only in the power of His love, and of course, faith is a gift. We were always taught, if in varying ways, that we must ask for an increase of faith. Every time I have asked for that, I’ve received it, and not in a tiny quiet way, but WHAM — so that we know exactly Who is granting it! And faith is what the Rosary asks first and foremost for us, on those 3 beads –an increase of faith, hope and love. The Lord (and His mother) knows how tough it is here, right from birth on up. We are truly exiles. This is not home. Out of 4 kids raised in the Faith religiously, I have two nominal Catholics, one returning, and one Lutheran, now (due to remarriage far away). I’ve lost a granddaughter to Lutheranism, which means she has lost the Eucharist to Lutheranism, but I’ve gained a grandson who shall be raised with the Sacraments. My one child returning to the Sacraments always said, “Mom, don’t worry about it (and I certainly did), because you gave us the basics, you gave us the roots of it.. it’s up to us, now.” Yeah, tell that to my heart. Everyone I know in America (almost) has a child away from the Sacraments. That we are not, is indicator of what we must do. If we fall down in them, we can hold no one else up. So, your honesty here is priceless, then, because it reminds us of that. And to keep the right being seen as enemy. The enemy is never solely man. It is vulnerable man still suffering from original sin, vulnerable to the father of lies and self-love and of non-serviam. Jesus said to pray for our enemies (to convert their hearts), and saints have said and lived: “Where there is no love, put love there, and there you will find love.” We must know from the outset that it’s not God Who gives us more than we can handle. He doesn’t exist to break us. But He will indeed allow us the pain He has allowed others. We must remember in that, that our Weapons and Gifts and Friends are borrowable from the Saviour of the World Himself, and much is obtained through His mother. She is God’s more hidden gift to us.

    You know all this, but maybe I needed to hear it, too. I’ll keep you and yours closer in heart.

  18. ukok says:

    Carol,

    i don’t mind no preachin’

    You are so right in what you say, a priest recently told me that the only way i could grow in patience, to have a deeper faith etc, is to be tried and tested so that they could grow stronger.

    I have been hurt by people who should know better, but they are only human…i forgive them….but i am taking steps to put distance between those who hurt me becuse of the negative effect that it has on me.

    I’m beginning to discover that there is a silver lining even amidst the pain for it teaches me to lean on God. Reminds me that i am not self sufficient and that i can not even rely in his most ‘loyal servants’.

    We are exiles, that is true. All too often we seek the refinements that we have come to apreciate, the behaviours that we find acceptable to tolerate…and yet this is not the detination, we are only passing through this world, and we travel along with other imperfect people who are also making their journey too.

    When you write about your children and grandchildren my heart goes out to you, but though i am doing all i feel i can (which isn’t much really as my kids have accused me of boring them with info about Catholicism) to establish a firm foundation of Catholicism in the home since our family’s conversion….i suspect that in all too few short years, my own children, when having the option to attend Mass or not, will not attend.

    You wrote a beautiful post, you have given me a lot to think about. I like the way you lay it on the line and all the while educate and encourage me.

    Thanks for sharing all this with me. really.

  19. Oh Sis…

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. This has been such a long road. nd though I am coming through it stronger, better, with greater faith, the most important person in my life is spiraling into darkness. Meanwhile, I have children to coonsole, a house to run.

    I know God is faithful.

    I know there is joy under the pain.

    The whole thing is less than a 100 years…

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