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.
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.
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?
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.