Friday, January 29, 2016

A is for Apple



Ninety-nine out of 100 mornings, I start my day by eating an apple.  A nice, big, crisp apple, brimming with deliciousness in the fall and straining to relay a hint of "appleness" in the waning days of summer.  But still an apple.  Every day.

William Cowper said variety is the spice of life, but I say no thank you!  Give me my habits, my routine, my daily do this and do that over change and disruption.  You call them ruts, I call them steady paths leading to gorgeous predictability.

It is apparent to me that I need a nice, comfortable rut in which to spin out my writing for this blog.  So I am hearkening back to the most "successful" season of blogging I had, which was the year I blogged through the alphabet.  And hopefully that rut will prove successful again this time too.

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A note to the interested:  my life has not been predictable these past few months.  After several intense years of life and ministry, I found myself in September needing to go on medical leave for what I thought was burnout but turned out to be more complicated than that.  Anxiety was my primary and most debilitating symptom, but it is still accurate to say that I am a burned-out, on-leave pastor seeking healing and restoration, and that I have been finding it in unusual, unpredictable places.

The most painful difficulty of my current state of health are those symptoms which relate to my faith. I cannot attend church, or other communal religious gatherings.  I have not been able to read Scripture or Christian writings for most of my time off.  That has just started to shift in the last few weeks, and I thank God for that.  But it is a strange thing to a be a Christian who can't read Christian things, stranger still a pastor who can't read the Bible.  I didn't ask for it to be this way, but it is, and I have had to find other ways of being nourished.

Henri Nouwen, in his book, The Inner Voice of Love, wrote of himself once what I can honestly claim to be true of me now: "There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss.  You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible.  You have to work around it, so that gradually the abyss closes." The roundabout work is very likely what I will be blogging about in this alphabetical rut I have chosen.  I have been coming at God in slant, at angles different from those I know best.  I have had to look to Him through dimmer-than-normal glass in order to see Him at all.

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Lest anyone worry (or if you're just curious), my faith remains intact.  I can pray about most things, most of the time.  I can sing hymns alone at my home.  Some Scriptures or Bible stories come to my mind and I can draw from them, even as I can't open the Book itself and read it.  I cannot yet attend church, but I am hopeful I will be able to soon.  I know many are praying for me, and I lean gently into that knowledge when I find it difficult to pray for them.

I am with it enough to recognize that the intactness of my faith is a gift of grace.  My current state of being, and the circumstances which led me here, have parallels in the lives of others that sometimes end in agnosticism or an inability to believe at all.  That has not been the case for me, and I give myself no credit.  In the words of Job, I still know that my Redeemer lives.  In my own words, I am grateful it is so.

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I have very little to give these days, certainly nothing to preach.  But I can still offer a blessing, and would like to end my posts over this next season doing so.  I understand now (better than I would ever have wished) that religious language can be off-putting or even painful to hear, so feel free to skip the end if it is unhelpful to you.  But if it isn't, I extend this blessing to you with trembling hands and a weak heart:


May God be near even when He is far.  
May His light be light indeed.  
Amen.

  

2 comments:

  1. Kadee- You've been close at mind.

    Thought I'd pass these titles on to you. I've read them recently and they are quick and secular yet both moved my heart to worship our God.

    "When Breath Becomes Air" Paul Kalanithi
    "The War of Art" Steven Pressfield

    cheers,
    Amber

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  2. Thank you Amber for the thoughts and for the book recommendations. I will try to get my hands on them. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness and sensitivity.

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