The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday 5 -Overcoming

Sally of the RevGalBlogPals shares this:

"I am preparing this Friday 5 just before I take Chris into hospital for a cardioversion, right now we are all a little apprehensive. But this whole thing has got me thinking, so many of us are overcomers in one way or anoither, so many have amazing stories to tell of God's faithfulness in adversity. And so I bring you this Friday 5:"

1. Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?

I have had some pretty serious bouts with depression and "accidie", that old archaic word that has similar meaning to apathy, torpor, ennui, sloth --and is appropriately one of the seven deadly sins. God has always been there with a word in season from often an unexpected source [once it was my astrological forecast that week in the local LGBT newspaper] and a much needed lift, or kick in the pants. Annie Dillard once said, "I felt as if I were a bell and I had been struck" --I think revelation is often exactly like that.

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?

Once, when I found myself in the Abyss, over a thanksgiving holiday when I was housesitting for friends, I glanced at one of those "a word of wisdom a day" tear-off calendars they had in their kitchen window. They hadn't torn the sheets off for about a week, so it was as if the message had waited for me to find it: "When I learned the distinction between being in control of my life and being in charge of my life, it made all the difference."
That is also the thanksgiving holiday when I learned that very often, thanksgiving is a discipline, not a feeling. When the apostle Paul advises us "In everything, give thanks," he doesn't mean "be thankful for everything" in Pollyanna fashion. He means, "seek diligently to find something for which to be thankful at all times."
That proved to be a key directional sign on my pathway out of that particular instance of the Abyss as I struggled to find something for which I could thank God. Some days it was "Thank you God that at this moment I am able to breathe ..."

4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?

Yes, especially given that so often the roots of human suffering really aren't as mysterious as we make them sometimes [although the roots are often complex]. Examining the "why" of suffering may offer a path toward healing, wholeness and hope.
At the same time, I think it is intellectually dishonest only to ask "why do bad things happen?" We must also ask, "Why do good things happen?"
--which I suspect is the far more interesting question.

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?

Usually with some kind of ritual that marks an ending and a new beginning ... I have burned things, buried things and bought new things. I have smudged things. I have had long conversations with pictures propped up in a chair ... I have kept some old things, but renamed them, imbuing them with new life and meaning.

Bonus- anything you wish to add....


  • At 4:42 PM , Blogger Sally said...

    I like the idea of creating a ritual, I believe we need to re-visit the idea of thanking God for landmarks along our journey,it helps us to move on.

    Thank you for playing today.

  • At 7:38 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

    Thanks for the Anne Dillard quote. That's really nice.

    And your rituals sound very healing. I'm going to borrow them, if I may.

  • At 9:29 AM , Blogger swandive said...

    Your answer to #2 was just what I needed for today. Blessings.


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