When your spiritual director gives you a book subtitled “Breaking through when life is breaking down“, you know you’re in trouble.
Last night went like this: become fatigued, eat a sandwich, sing a mediocre audition, crash on the bed, talk to my honey on the phone, read most of that book, cry, pass out, wake up with gut pain, get sick, repeat last three steps ad nauseum (get it?). So it wasn’t a great night, but it gave me a chance to finish Margaret Silf’s wonderful little book in time to give it back at direction tomorrow.
The author kept the scriptural references coming fast and furious, all of which helped me process some of what has been going on in my life using the religious language that I’m used to. It was still a hard book to read, not because Silf is not a lovely writer, but because I just don’t want to admit life feels messy right now.
So I’m sick, so I’m busy, so I’m in a relatively new relationship, so I have a lot of demands on my time. So what? I can handle this, I always told myself. And I did handle lots of things for many years, but for whatever reason, God has chosen this perfect storm to confound and transform me.
I know that I want to keep growing and becoming, but I also want the comfort of the life I have built for myself. I want to know that none of that work was in vain, that what I had in my twenties was worthy, even though this next decade won’t look a whole lot like it.
For so long, sickness was something that happened to other people. Chaos was something that happened to other people. Because I could handle this. I am strong, I told myself. But maybe I was never strong enough to let go of being someone else when it was time.
The image I wanted to use as a title was floating in the chaos, because that’s what it feels like. I don’t see an end to this tension that follows me around. I look down the road of my life and see confusion after confusion. To be honest, I’m not sure I see rebirth, just slow decline.
But that’s why we build our houses on rock, not sand, to use one of the biblical images Silf references in her little book. Even though what I feel tells me there is no hope, my rock of faith whispers “you know better. You believe in more”. I have trained myself to believe in hope. I know that when my spirit falters I should turn to the people who know better, be it in conversation or in a book.
That’s why even though it feels like I’m drowning, I choose to write something else. I’m not drowning or even treading water. I’m swimming through.