I can feel the darkness drawing nigh
How do you keep up the fight
When everyday is a struggle to get by
The battle is all my own
A fight against the darkness of my soul
I don’t know where it came from or how it got in
But it’s back trying to take control again
I’ve never been afraid to be alone with my thoughts before
But lately it seems to be all I can do in attempts to drown it all out
Not sure of what it is that I’m afraid to hear, but I know those words are hiding somewhere deep
I just keep trying to bury them deeper and deeper
Bury them with food
Drown them with drink
Ignore them, anything, just don’t leave me alone to think
I think the depression is coming back
But when I stop to take a look around
I think that’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard
There’s nothing wrong, no reason for this feeling
Why do I feel so grey when everything is in its place?
I used to think there was a ghost in my house
It gave me something to talk about
An excuse for things I couldn’t understand or explain
And it may be true
But more and more I’m starting to think that there’s more to the story than meets the eye
I’m starting to think that it’s not the house
Or maybe, that it’s not just the house
You’re constantly in my thoughts
You’re with me everyday
I am consumed by you
Not only is the house haunted but now my thoughts are too
I’m scared and I don’t know what to do
A house ghost I can live with
We have our time together, and we have our time apart
But being haunted in my thoughts
There’s no way out
No time for escape
It’s everywhere I go
In everything I do
I don’t understand why you’re putting me through this
I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of misery
Where have all the sparkles and sunshine gone
Motionless like a zombie, I sit adrift in the office, with no thought to my brain or sound to my name. The world keeps spinning, the cock keeps ticking, yet I remain unmoved with nothing but blinking to mark a change. Thoughtless, because all I know all too well the emotions that are lying just beneath the surface. Fear, anger, rage, resentment, pity, sorrow… they’re just the tip of the iceberg. An iceberg, that is much too large for any ship to pass by today. And so, I sit here alone in a fog hoping to avoid even catching a glimpse of the ice, of what’s to come. I don’t feel right in my own skin.
There are no words left in the emptiness of the night.
And yet, there is a dullness in my mind and a familiar sense that there is more to come.
Alas, sleep don’t fail me now.
Though it was years ago, I find myself tonight grieving the loss of a dear friend. For I did, as we are all trained and told not to do… I stuffed it. Bearing the thought of grieving the unexpected loss of a friend, a friend for whom I was unable to say goodbye, it was too much for me at the time. It hurt too deeply.
Isolated from my community, I didn’t know where to turn with my grief. And so I hid it away, buried somewhere deep beneath all of me. But as Rob Bell states in his Nooma video entitled “Matthew”:
We can’t avoid our responses to things and think they’ll go away. If we stuff it, then it’s in there somewhere, and it will come out. Maybe you lost somebody a long time ago and you never properly grieved. Then it’s still in there somewhere.
If the Son of God needs to let it out, if Jesus wept, then we do too.
And little by little, piece by piece, my pain has slowly surfaced over time. Then I watched Rob Bell’s Nooma video, and like a flood gate being opened, the emotions were released. Though I tried to fight it once again, tonight I lost my control over the pain. And as Jesus grieved the loss of his friend, I too wept.
To my surprise, I had buried much more than the sorrow of loss. Buried deep within my core were feelings of resentment, confusion, and even guilt.
But while watching the video brought on a surge of emotion, most of which were of a negative nature, the preciously chosen, eloquent words of Rob Bell also brought a sense of comfort and hope.
May you realize that Jesus wept.
And may you come to see that whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. May you make the choice to not become bitter and closed, but open.
And may you realize that God is sitting shivah with you, fully present, grieving your loss… but also restoring.
And in that, may we find hope.
And so, I find myself in a paradox of mixed emotion. Yet, I remain faithful and hopeful, that while my heart will never be what it was, it will recover and I will open up once again. And I find that these thoughts and reflections are most appropriate today, in this Easter Sunday. For as a dear friend has written:
Today is a day when our faith story reminds us not to give up hope. While we don’t have certainty, we can still hope… love, compassion, peace and mercy did not die! They could not be killed. We’re not quite sure what’s coming next…but we know something is up. Where we were sure death had won…suddenly that isn’t the case.
Post Talk Reflection - Just a Draft
Why do we judge ourselves so harshly?
This is one aspect of the human condition that I continually fail to comprehend.
When I see the works of others, very rarely do I find myself questioning the skill, time, energy, or commitment they put into it. And yet, when I look upon the works that my hands have made, I am filled with doubts, disbelief, and disapproval. I see the beauty in the works of others, their love and talent shinning through. But for myself, the question always lingers ‘is that really the best that you could do’.
Recently I wrote an article which was publish in local church paper. From it, I have received nothing but good words, support, and encouragement. As my copy of the print arrived I took the chance to read it again from a fresh perspective. What did my mind see upon reading the thoughts of a previous me? Criticism. The thoughts did not flow well from one paragraph to the next. The topic, though defined in the title, was not provided a solid foundation, as though it was lacking in direction.
To be honest, it was lacking in direction. There was very little direction given me as to the purpose, content, theme, etc. All I was given was a word count to follow. The rest of tho objections and criticisms that my brain concluded, are all likely very true as well. However, had the article been written by anyone other than me, I doubt I would have noticed them, or at least not to the same bothersome degree. So why is it that I’m such a harsh critic of me? I know I’m not the only one with this problem. Is it a boundary issue? Is it a process that we were brainwashed as children to follow? Is it a result of being concerned about becoming egotistical in our own gifts? If so, why are we engrained with these beliefs? Should we not be proud of the gifts that the Spirit has blessed us with? If our gifts are in fact from the Spirit then they are sacred gifts that deserve to be shared with the world. What better way to make a difference and instil change in your world than by using the very gifts given to you as you entered it.
This topic of gifts is one that seems to be creeping up a lot in my life these days. I suppose that began when I decided to reassess my current career situation. Because to properly assess if you are where you should be, one should be aware of the gifts they possess, then it merely becomes a matter of defining how best to use them and share them with the world. And now it would appear that the main topic in the anglican lectionary is that of gifts. For however much gifts are the topic of conversation, I can’t help but wonder why we are ashamed of our own. We are always thankful and quite often jealous of the gifts we see in others; and yet unaware or embarrassed of the gifts we posses ourselves.
Not a Question of Age
It’s February, and this year that means a time of transition within the Church as we leave the season of Epiphany and begin our Lenten journeys. For many, the season of Lent means a time a fasting by giving up their favourite treats such as doughnuts or chocolates. For others, it is a time of reflection, of recognizing our need for God in our lives so that we may face life and have Him journey through it with us.
Whether it’s a change of season, diet, or mind, there are many things that cause transition within our lives, and right now we are all in the midst of change.
Fear not. As a part of the clergy search committee at The Church of the Epiphany last year, I know that change, and the uncertainty of what it may bring, can be scary. But through that experience, I can also tell you that change can lead to a multitude of new and exciting things. Though we are all resistant to it, change can be for the good.
As we transition out of the season of Epiphany and into Lent, I want to encourage you to pause and reflect on the words of our Bishop’s charge to Synod 2012 when he asked us to “recall what it means to be Christian communities, inclusive of all human beings”.
Now you may be wondering why, when talking about being in the midst of change, I would ask you to reflect on these words. To be “inclusive of all human beings,” aren’t we already doing that? Yes, to some degree we are. But I think we can do better if we, both as individuals and as a Church, begin to make some changes. You see, Bishop Chapman did not end his charge there; he went on to say “inclusive of all human beings of every age”. This, I believe, is where our problem lies. Too often we count youth and young adults as important when it comes to their numbers in the pews, but we forget to actively include them in our Church communities.
I believe one of our most important changes to come lies in the reassessment of our modern Christian notions of youth. Many Christians become fearful when they see a lack of young people sitting in the pews, and all too quickly come to the conclusion that a youth worker is the required solution. While it is true that youth will at some point need special attention, so too does anyone who comes through the doors of our churches. We must begin to think beyond the paradigm of age and strive to encourage, support, and be faithful to one another whether we are young, young at heart, or somewhere in-between; because regardless of age, we all have varying gifts we can offer to each other, our communities, and to the Church.
Our Church needs to stop thinking in terms of “youth” and start thinking in terms of community. I have been blessed to grow up within a community that is working to put this into practice; a community in which young and young at heart alike are encouraged to get involved in various aspects of the Church. Whether it be in the form of music, art, administration, or leadership, there has always been encouragement to both practice and share our gifts with each other. While I was not fortunate to learn music in school as many children do, I was encouraged to take part in our church services with the gifts I had. From my first days as a server when I was a child and through all the many roles that I have had at Epiphany, I have always found support within the community to develop and share my gifts. I believe this support and inclusiveness within the parish were integral parts of becoming who I am today.
Now, as a young adult, the support of my church community continues as I share my gifts of leadership and administration, which were developed within the church, through my work as People’s Warden.
Just as the Church is undergoing a change of liturgical seasons, so too must we undergo change. We, as the people of God, must begin to change how we think of “youth” and how we interact with younger members within our Christian communities. The results of which just might surprise you.
I had all the words, they were all in place, within they’re proper space.
But I had no way to let them out.
I took too long
Out of Fear of what they would think
But I don’t care what they think
So it’s a fear of something else
I may never know what
Whatever it is, I took too long
And now they are all gone
Every attempt I make to recreate the composition I longed to make
All dissolves away as soon as the words touch the page
Exhausted but can’t sleep, awake but can’t keep my eyes open… Forever in a state of in-between. Feeling like I’m trapped in an over-drugged/comatose body, with my mind that’s ever present and ever awake. And yet the dreariness is beginning to overtake my thoughts as well as my body, nothing is clear anymore,’as though I’m walking through a fog. The night is trying hard to get a tight hold on me. But I refuse to give in, to give up the struggle to the darkness - maybe it’s a fear that there’s something more to the darkness than just sleep, it’s lurking in the shadows, in the fog of it all - yes, I think it’s there, the same darkness as before. The darkness that longs to consume me. Will I ever escape this battle of the night, this battle over my life. I don’t want to live in darkness anymore, I’ve been down this road before… I need to escape from this pattern that’s been following me.
Know that’s it’s time to let go of all the pain and sorrow
and the fears of an unknown tomorrow
What good is fear when there’s no danger in front of you
And no reason to run
Though some would consider the day still young, I’m going to call it a night for tomorrow there is much domestically to be done.
How do you reconcile differences when you know they’re just going to hurt you again?
Or do you even try?
I want to reconcile with you. But I don’t trust you.
The clothes monsters have attacked and once again I’m alone in my defence of the war for control over the floor. But that’s a much easier battle to bare than the one my heart fights everyday just to keep beating. Life is hard to go on when there’s no song in your soul, no dream in your mind. It’s like walking blind. How do you find the strength to battle on when there’s nothing to believe in? No words come to mind but my insides are screaming. Out for help, out for someone to listen, out for someone to share in this agony and despair. But who am I to be blue, at least a have a floor that I can battle for. But it’s not always that easy, my life’s not as it appears, the clothes monsters may be the only demons you see, but inside I’m attacked by monsters of a different kind, monsters I unleashed, now I’ve lost control my mind cries out for them to retreat they’re attacking me now and I’m the one White flags in hand ready to give sign of defeat. I had the perfect line but they stole it from me, I’m attacking myself destroying body and mind