What the hell am I doing in this life?
It’s just too hard here.
My only moments of true freedom come in prayer, as I swim or make art.
Otherwise, I feel shackled with the unending saddle of everyday life.
I can not seem to reconcile my deep need to earn money with my bodily struggle of fibromyalgia and where I seem spiritually called.
I can’t remember the last time I felt a sense of accomplishment or valued.
I do believe I have ministry, but who, exactly, am I ministering to?
Take this blog, for example. I am compelled to write, usually twice a week, about my weak and vulnerable self. Sometimes people seem to identify and I receive a few heartfelt responses. Mostly, I think it goes unnoticed. Pretty much the way I feel.
My purpose doesn’t seem clear. At least not today.
Last week, it seemed full and rich. I envisioned being more of a presence, your presence, at Oakbrook, the subsidized-housing complex from where I draw Artsy Fartsy kids. I feel alive and purposeful when engaged in the creative work for them.
Sunday, in worship, you led me to a passage in Jeremiah (15:16-20):
When your words, came, I ate
they were joy and my heart’s
for I bear your name,
O Lord God Almighty …
I sat alone because your hand lies
And you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain unending
and my would grievous and
“If you repent, I will restore you
that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless,
You will be my spokesman …
for I am with you
to rescue and save you…”
I unknowingly flipped to the passage in response to ministry about what it means to “stand in the light.”
A woman said she easily holds others in the light, but asked what it means for her to stand in it herself.
I was immediately guided to the Bible and, as I have learned from conservative Friends’ Bible study, simply opened to a passage. Jeremiah is where I landed. The word repent struck me as I know it to mean being repositioned, changing course. Standing in the light is letting God chart our course and letting the rest fall behind.
Sunday the passage was speaking both to the woman’s condition and my own.
When I hear God, I hungrily devour the words, which sear my heart. As today, I often feel alone, yet I know God’s hand is on me. I do feel anger (I do not know how righteous it is) at the condition of the world and even in my own life. And, as Jeremiah, I feel unending pain.
So, what do God’s words in that passage to Jeremiah speak to me? That I need God to change my direction, my attitude, my mindset. Everything. I feel a strong desire for restoration particularly in my vocation. I must speak and write only with integrity.
I am grateful for the opening of this scripture and introduction to Jeremiah, whom I have never read. He is human and trusts God enough to vent his anger.
Since yesterday, I have been rough around the edges, a little fragile and emotional. I have not been very efficient at the studio, but did manage to complete a new art project. It was how I intended to begin this blog until my rant erupted. And, yet, it still fits. I had begun with the following two paragraphs:
The wall of pain is up – literally. In prepping for the March and April workshops on “Pain as Spiritual Teacher” I am co-facilitating with my first yoga teacher and dear friend, Renee Groenemann, I opted to make a more permanent wall than the one I did in paper and tempera early last spring.
I relish transcribing a personal but universal experience into something tangible. The wall’s function is to allow one to walk through with awareness and relate it to how they deal with pain. How did I encounter the wall the first time? Did I run through it or stand at the edge, waiting to enter? Did I enter willingly, reluctantly or begrudgingly?
Then, somehow, I lost it. Must’ve been about contemplating that dang pain wall … again. I am exhausted from re-entering it the past few days. While I am creating this for another purpose, I understand its creation is also serving me. I can name my pain and, even more than that, transform it into something interesting, bordering on beautiful, and look at it objectively. I can touch it, walk through it, not walk through it, re-arrange it, re-position it and play with it, prayerful it will help others. That act alone transforms my own pain experience and takes the edge off.
God was letting me address my wall of pain by standing in the light, not a comfortable place to be, yet necessary.
• What would I like to get off my chest and to God?
• [How] do I express anger at Spirit?
• How has that been transformative?
• What does standing in the light mean to me spiritually?
• Describe the last time that transpired.
whirling about in
a cloud of
happy, giddy almost,
to be facilitating
when my own shadow
dragging me down
into the my depths
where God shone
of truth onto
nowhere I would
choose to go, but
somewhere I must
if I desire to grow
into more of who
Listen to this post: