Monday, March 23, 2009

Lent 22: Light and shadow

Every year, I cycle through a period of depression. It’s partly related to the lack of sunlight on the cloudy West Coast and partly hereditary. I remember that my paternal grandmother thought she was “dying” every February and March and didn’t know if she’d see another summer.

It’s the winter of my soul when my internal motor ramps down to a low gear. Before I know it, I’m withdrawing to bare essentials with people and tasks. Detailed to-do lists keep me on track at work, and I watch my vegan food intake carefully. I read lots of scripture to keep my internal self moving ahead. Still, I get confused and muddled around big groups of people and the hustle of industry outside my own four walls. I feel listless about ministry and it’s an effort to go to church. Rehearsals are agony. I dread visiting people in their spaces and go home as soon as politely possible. The levels of functionality rise and drop, but there’s a steady heartbeat underneath, a settled knowing in whose hands I rest.

I get plenty of unhelpful advice. “Jolly up!” “Step up to the plate!” “Read something inspirational.” Or just plain, “Get over it. Snap out of it.” And, “Get some medicine to make you feel up. Then take sleeping pills so you can rest at night.”

Someone even said, "I wouldn't tell anyone - they'll take advantage of you." So what. I need the solitude that refreshes and renews. Love the deep breaths that steady and stabilize. It's my season to think deeply about the world’s griefs and pray over heartaches and famine and illnesses. A small taste of suffering with those who don't have the wonderful privileges and abundance of life we enjoy.

We know God hovers over us with his love in dark days. His light pierces the shadows. And we know spring is coming. Somehow, summer is sweeter and life is richer when it’s not perfectly plateau’d at “Happyland.”
God's peace to you today!

*Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever... Psalm 136: 1-3 NLT

*People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray. Proverbs 10:17 NLT

*Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4, 5 NIV

*So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6 NLT

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