Last week during our spiritual direction supervision meeting, one of my colleagues read a confession. She talked about feeling totally listless, gray. About how she cannot force herself to pray, how her exercise program has gone out the window and she finds herself turning on the TV too often, watching too much “news” and other empty programming. At several points as I listened I found myself silently affirming, “I do that, too.”
Yes, me, too. I don’t really understand why I am facing the gigantic hurdle of grief and apathy now, today. Is it the new variants of the virus? Is it the worry about my children who still refuse to be vaccinated? Is it the natural disasters all across the country that are the result of climate change? Floods, fires, famine, we have them all. Is it the escalating violence as we demonize one another and weaponize our disagreements?
I suppose it’s all of that. And it’s that six months ago I held out hope for a change for the better. We were coming out of our winter of isolation, people were getting vaccinated, travel was opening up. It looked like employment was on the rise and suffering would gradually diminish. Today I don’t have that hope. And I feel so very helpless.
From all our readings for the day the passage that speaks to my heart most deeply is Isaiah 35:4-7.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
. . .
He will come and save you.’
I have never felt more in need of being saved than I do today. I feel like tucking my head down against the onslaught of the many storms by which I feel buffeted and holding this message close against my chest. I’ll rest my cheek against it and just hang on.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
I am standing at the low point, at bedrock. From here I really understand that there is no help except in God. There’s nothing I can do except to pray this psalm over and over again, with the simplicity of a child.
May it be so! May our blindness to one another’s personhood be lifted. May we hear each other’s cries with unstopped ears. May our paralysis be cured. May our speechlessness be cured. May we find the water that is Christ’s essence in the desert of our souls. O, dear God, may this come to pass.