today is my 47th birthday.
i'm struggling today actually. struggling with my "issues". i have an anxiety disorder and it could just be that my struggle is over a little "undigested potato" as a MUCH better writer once phrased it. i do wonder if too much sugar and caffeine really does affect my sleep at night or whether my soul just comes out from its shell and points to regret and pain that the rest of me has ignored.
Wendy gave me a huge smile and a hearty wish this morning and that is no small task at 7am when you have no real desire to be awake to the world in the first place. she has class today though (she's the lab instructor) and she said that she wanted to be present for whatever reason and was a bit concerned about getting ready to be there on time.
i woke at 1am with a horrible forboding, lost in my own anxiety.
it is completely impossible to see the goodness of life in those moments. i have felt completely alone and unloved. i cannot find God and my heart is completely unsure that i'll ever be able to know him again. much of my spiritual journey of late is anchored in community, in the church and not in my search for God. when i see God i see him in those around me but i have wanted more.
i am no longer convinced that God is faithfully involved in lives. that doesn't affect my own efforts to involve myself in serving others but it gets to the point that i used to do such things in my search for closer unity with God while now the argument can be made that we do such things because we are simply good. i do good things because i'm a good man. i have my flaws, they're more like significant chasms in which once can get lost for life actually. don't go thinking that i'm a "works" guy though, i know fully that there's nothing in this chest that is really all that good in the first place.
a friend in my church community, a Jeremiah archetype, spoke to me yesterday of sorrow and mourning and it's place in our lives. he and i have both known our own wilderness experiences so when he speaks on this topic i tend to listen more intently. on some level i relate although my struggle is not his. he could certainly accuse God of being unfaithful to him but i have never heard him say those words. he has known loss and he has sat in the dark amidst his own sorrow and tears for far too long. i don't really want to relate to that. i would much rather say, enough pain already when do i get to see some light?
don't get me wrong. there is abundant goodness in my life. i am truly blessed in that i have luxury galore and a secure life. it certainly seems like the height of presumption to ask for the absence of pain on top of all the grace i have seen in my 47 years. when i am stuck in my own anxiety however, i can see none of that.
i tried to express some of that at worship yesterday. i spoke of Joshua crossing the Jordan and how i wished to take the stones around me to mark my spot as i came to another marking point in my lifetime. i chose as my song to sing in celebration of another birthday "Here by the Water" because the words of it resonated with me. i hoped to suggest that i was coming out of my own wilderness experience just as Joshua did.
Here by the water, I'll build an altar to praise you, out of the stones that I find here. I'll set them down here, rough as they are, knowing you can make them holy.
and yet, my perspective is more about the fact that i have survived my wilderness this far and i hope that i have indeed come out on the other end of it. i don't know that i have come out on the other end though, and that may be where my anxiety lies. i've got to think that my experience is vastly different than Joshua's since the focus of his prayer is in thankfulness for the faithfulness of God ... and my heart yearns to be consoled and to know that experience. i know that God is faithful, i just don't KNOW it right now.
i'm certainly not promised an easy ride, and i also have not experienced one.
so i still feel a bit lost in the dark. my experience with my community as i tried to express some of these thoughts has been one of overflowing love and support. those who have known me best expressed their love for me as they recognize my struggle. they have missed me as i wallowed in my own resentment and bitterness and they have told me so whenever they got the chance.
i have missed my community, and i also have not missed them. the introverted me prefers to be left alone to sort and to try and address my own things in my own manner but the community me wishes to contact, to be together, to play and laugh and wrap my arms around those closest to me and tell them of my deep affection for all that they are to me. i suppose i'm just looking for someone to love me. i'm always looking for that. it's a neediness that embarrasses me but is also very much necessary for my own ongoing growth.
i do know that you love me though. i do know that. i suppose on some level i'm talking to God there. i'll struggle on.
peace to you my friends. peace to me too.