“Stop trying to think out a solution for the moment: there isn’t one. One day there may be; God will then show it to you. In the meantime, accept it all as being the big thing for God and his Church that he asks of you—that, and the depression too. You will find the relief of merely accepting, instead of struggling, wonderful; and I include in this, accepting anything in yourself, during the crisis, which seems to you a failure or fault. Don’t exonerate yourself, but just say you are sorry, briefly, to God, and add that your name is dirt—that’s what is to be expected from you—but you’re sorry, you are forgiven, and it is over.
During the war I was simply terrified by air raids, and it was my lot to be in every one that happened in London—sometimes on the roofs of these flats, sometimes in the hospital… I tried to build up my courage by reason and prayer, etc. Then one day I realized quite suddenly: As long as I try not to be afraid I shall be worse, and I shall show it one day and break; what God is asking of me, to do for suffering humanity, is to be afraid, to accept it and put up with it, as one has to put up with pain (if it’s not druggable) or anything else. I am not going to get out of any of the suffering. From the time the siren goes until the All Clear, I am going to be simply frightened stiff, and that’s what I’ve got to do for the world—offer that to God, because it is that and nothing else which he asks of me.”
I sure love it when I read some sort of reflection or essay and find myself laughing out loud at the words—especially when it’s because of the intimacy (with God) and honesty of the author.
“…and add that your name is dirt,” certainly made me laugh… and pay attention to the rest of the essay!
I have been fighting a stiff, painful neck for over a week. In the past decade or so, I’ve had a number of issues with my neck and shoulders, including surgery on my cervical spine, so it is safe to say that I have learned many things that help me when I’m struggling with this type of pain.
But this time, nothing I’ve tried is working. Nothing is making it go away—or even feel much better.
What I hear in Caryll Houselander’s words is the wisdom that comes from knowing – from living – acceptance, rather than struggle. Surrender, rather than self-sufficiency. And confidence in God’s presence in the every day of life, every single aspect of it, rather than worry or fear.
In other words—why do I think I have to… get over / get better / be better / succeed / try harder / pray harder… before God can use me? Before I can offer my day and myself to God?
+ + +
NOTE: if you’re interested in learning a bit more about Caryll Houselander, check out this blog post by my friend, the talented Heather King.
+ + +
"If we only have sense enough to leave everything to the guidance of God's hand, we should reach the highest peak of holiness."
~Jean-Pierre de Caussade,
Abandonment to Divine Providence
+ + +
NOTE #2: All photos are from my recent drive and visit to the great city of St. Louis for this year's Catholic Media Conference!