2 : hard to bear; specifically : grievous, afflictive
It has been two and a half weeks since my last blog post. It's not that I haven't thought about writing. It's that I haven't know what to say. I've wondered whether I have anything to say at all. I've wondered whether what I am feeling is meant to be shared or kept. But two posts that I read yesterday felt like a nudge to at least attempt to find words for what I've been feeling and experiencing. The first post was by a friend and simply shared a profoundly convicting Madeline L'Engle quote - a quote that made me feel like I should at least try to find words. The second, which I read immediately after the first in my Google reader, made me see just how much fear has been crippling me in every aspect of my life lately.
I don't know that I've ever felt as far from God as I have in recent days. I've tried to pray and wondered whether he hears me at all - or whether he hears me and delights in ignoring me, taunting me, manipulating me. I've questioned his love for me and offered prayers along the lines of, "I know you may not love me, but if you love X, please give her rest. I know she needs it."
I have felt a gaping emptiness inside me - a loneliness that is almost too much to bear. I've started, from force of habit, to pray and then realized I am afraid of this God I am praying to. I've imagined myself in a closet, hiding from Jesus on the other side of the door. I have closed my eyes and seen God place hot coals into my open hands.
Perhaps saying that I am in a bleak and desolate place doesn't quite do it justice?
Last Thursday, my husband and I went for our monthly couples spiritual direction group. After I shared my thoughts, feelings and fears - thoughts of abandonment, feelings of being unlovable, fears of being drawn in by a God who only wants to hurt me - my spiritual director encouraged me to close my eyes and pray in the name of Jesus against the lies I was believing. I told her they didn't feel like lies. She told me this was a time to not believe what I was feeling, but to cling to what I know rationally to be true.
I have felt better, but not well, since then. I have begun to close my mind to the terrorizing thoughts that my friends and family only spend time with me because I do things for them. I have tried to turn away the idea that there is something very wrong with me - at the core of who I am - and that God knows that better than anyone.
Tears come easily these days. I am weak, tired and weary of feeling this way. This weekend I will go on a silent retreat I scheduled nearly a year ago. I am only a bit this side of terrified. Whether I am more scared of what God might say or that he might not say anything at all is indeterminable.
Despite all of this, I am trying to find my way back. I saw those two blog posts as a prompting from God to write. So I am writing - in a disjointed, meandering, perhaps unintelligible way - but writing nonetheless. I believe there is purpose in my past and current sufferings. This does not actually make it any easier to bear, but I do believe it. And that loneliness that I feel without the presence of God is not something I want to experience as my new normal. So I will plod along, hoping for a lightness to return to me when I feel ever so heavy inside.