Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Guess I Need a Blogging Break

Apparently there's something in the water ~

I started my day by skimming some blogs and this was one of the things I read:

"For reasons that I can scarcely claim to understand, I have often felt most aware of God's loving care and presence in moments of great difficulty."

Then I made another try at going to church, first time I've ventured into my own church in weeks, and heard a beautiful, beautiful sermon on much the same theme.

But ~ that awareness at this kind of a time is not one of the things that happens to me. Except on rare occasions.

And so it was an excruciating morning from start to finish, exacerbated by some unexpected music at the end of the church service and by the news of another life lost to suicide.

I guess I'm going to go back to seminary this week and generally keep my mouth shut.

My experience is apparently too far our of the norm to convey.

Or maybe it IS the norm, and that's why our churches have emptied out.

Anyway. Time for a break.

And ~ oh, yeah. I'm doing Psalm 88 for my Hebrew exegesis paper. The one psalm out of all 150 of them of unremitting lament. It will take three months. Maybe, ironically, there will be a path out of this hell that way.

18 comments:

MikeF said...

You are so still in my prayers, GG...

Joan Calvin said...

My experience of cancer has not been nearly as awful as yours, but I still haven't found much God there. I am only now beginning to feel good, but the anger comes back. I had a conversation with a friend who thought that the reason the end for her sister in law was so much harder was that she didn't have a good attitude. I told her IMHO a good attitude helps the people around the suffering person, not the person or the cancer.

I HATE the swarmy sweet, God made me stronger through this. I'm with you on that. But, then I tend to be a bitch.

The only thing cancer has given me is an outlook that says life is full of suffering. I suppose the postive is that I never knew that before. On the whole, I think I'd rather still be ignorant.

Praying for and with you. Keep talking. Helping people understand that suffering is not good may be your calling.

Gannet Girl said...

"I told her IMHO a good attitude helps the people around the suffering person, not the person or the cancer. "

OMG, you are SO right.

If a "good attitude," which she had in spades, accompanied my stepmother through the last couple of months with lung cancer, give me a bad one anyday.

OTH, I did know full well that life is full of suffering. Really, I could have skipped this elaboration.

Kathryn J said...

Thinking of you and praying with you.

Daisy said...

I read the psalm, GG. It prompted a flood of tears and prayer. In fact, I read it as a prayer; or maybe it read itself. If ever there was a text that needed diving into, that text is the one for which I'd vote.


Mich

Presbyterian Gal said...

wow.

Someone once said to me they find God in the spaces between his absence.

I could not understand that one either, even standing on my head.

Not normal here either.

Joe said...

I suspect that your experience is actually more common than mine, i.e. that more people find God absent in times of difficulty and suffering than find God present there - I made note of my feelings in part because I think they're different from the norm.

The flipside of what I said about finding God in times of difficulty is that finding God is often harder for me in times of apparent contentment or success - it's almost as though God is harder to find then because my own felt need for God is less strong in those circumstances.

One way or another, please know of my prayers for you during your desert sojourn.

Mompriest said...

As I struggle to "follow God's call" in my life, I often wonder if there is a God at all....and if not, then why the hell am I doing this?

Alas, no answers...just propelled by inertia and an inability to see any other way to go....

I think you have made a wise choice with that Psalm...

Karen and Joe said...

What I'm realizing now is that Jesus warns us that life is suffering ("In this world you will have trouble"), and we don't pay attention. Hence, so many encouragements to "persevere" and "endure". The toxic positivity of many churches is promoted by those who haven't suffered, and who are trying to squeeze too much out of life. I was once in those ranks and didn't even know it. I could never imagine the pain that I have been through this year, and know there are others who have suffered much more than me.

Now I see the light. The old aphorism, "Pie in the sky, bye and bye" turns out to be more true than I ever imagined. My hope is in Heaven and no longer here on earth.

I am sorry now for all who suffer. It is excruciating and the overly cheerful only increase the pain. But I do believe a day is coming, and that's where my hope lies.

Karen and Joe said...

p.s. yes, that's why the churches have emptied out.

Daisy said...

Well said, Karen.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. If you take a blogging break, I'll keep you in my reader and know when you return.

Sophia said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear this. I have always had the same reactions to both horrible trauma and the frequent sentimentalizing/spiritualizing of it. Which is why I will be preaching against this kind of interpretation--at least when presented as normative/spiritually and morally superior--of the coming Sunday's "pick up your cross" Gospel. Sadly, I find the same attitude in much (not all) nonChristian/New Age/spiritual but not religious discourse as well.

My father in law gave me a Grail psalter after our accident and I remember how the lament psalms--especially 88 on really bad days--were a lifeline reminding me Godde had not sent the evil tragedy and did not expect me to celebrate it.

Diane said...

(((GG)))
that's all I can say.

Rev SS said...

I agree that's why churches have and are emptying out ... continued prayers

Jennifer said...

Prayers and more prayers, GG.

Purple said...

(((GG)))

karengberger said...

I pray that working with that Psalm will be a blessing to you. I understand feeling out of step with everyone else...it's the "new path," the path of grieving, so far as I can tell. Perhpas it's because so few of us actually grieve our grief. But as time has elapsed these past two years, there are more moments of intersection and integration. I pray that you will find comfort and solace each day!