“Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”
~ 1 Peter 5: 8
I have been feeling rather melancholic lately.
Not so much in the, “mournful, depressed, sadness, despondent,” definition of melancholy. But more like, feeling pensive, soberly thoughtful… maybe what some would describe as feeling “blue.”
It has not helped that I listened all day long to the chainsaws of two arborists as they expertly cut down one of our beautiful, majestic, 50-foot oak tree.
When we first moved into this house 20 years ago with grade-school-age kids, its large trees mesmerized me. And this guy was impressive. His 45-50-year-old arms leaned over and shielded the backside of our house, much like a mama bird protecting and sheltering her beloved young.
I think my emotions, or at least the depth of these emotions, seems to be connected to my Lenten mantra: stay sober and alert.
In order to stay sober I have to stop using [food, tv, alcohol, shopping, other people, etc etc etc] to distract me – to numb me! But when I do… then I find myself in the precarious position of actually feeling things. Feeling every thing.
And allowing myself to feel means that I am aware of things in myself that I don’t particularly like—let alone want to admit.
For example, realizing in the midst of a large family gathering that I am not enjoying myself – I am not living in joy – at least, not as I think I should be!
Or praying that I be open and real and welcoming of the present moment, as it is... yet noticing how easily I fold, get offended, gossip--and run back to eating and tv and pointing the finger at others in order to numb this, rather than hope in what could be.
Or watching – scattered all over my backyard – the pieces of what used to be one great, robust, mesmerizing oak… and acknowledging that I feel old. I feel broken, not strong as an oak, as I wish I would be.
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“Think of Me. Look at Me often, and unconsciously you will grow like Me.
You may never see it. The nearer you get to Me, the more will you see your unlikeness to Me. So be comforted My children.
Your very deep sense of failure is a sure sign that you are growing nearer to Me. And if you desire to help others to Me, then that prayer-desire is answered.
Remember, too, it is only struggle that hurts. In sloth, spiritual, or mental, or physical, there is no sense of failure or discomfort, but with action, with effort, you are conscious not of strength but of weakness – at least, at first.
That again is a sign of Life, of spiritual growth.
And remember, My Strength is made perfect in weakness.”
~God Calling, edited by A. J. Russell