I have been so angry.
Internal screaming tearing wounds like those ripped by a flogging.
Bitterness poisoning the purest honey-gifts.
Despair driving a salt-water river despoiling once-rich soil.
Awareness tore down the veil between me and my anger as I heard today, Good Friday, reflections on the stories of Jesus' journey to the cross.
I heard that our anger, the 'swear' words we utter are so often a railing against the Divine, or Life: why else do we use crude sexual language flaunting the restrictions of decency, or the very names of God and Christ themselves?
And the angry red and black swear-word-drawing in my colouring meditation journal of a few days ago made sense now, as it hadn't at the time: what seemed like a general anger at all the world seems now to me to have been anger at God for something very specific.
I am angry because the vocation I struggled to discern during the first decade and a half of my adult life, which was in its discovery and naming so life giving and affirming, has become like a curse to me.
This vocation has led me across the other side of the world from home and family and friends and community, and that has wrenched away from me confidence in my identity.
This vocation demands that I become vulnerable, creating and telling stories and poems for an audience I cannot see, have no certainty exists or even wants to receive my gifts.
I am angry because I believe in the worth of the gifts I have to give, I am certain of this vocation, this calling from the Spirit to be storyteller, poet, minister – and yet I doubt the worth of the gifts I have to give because I cannot see them being received, appreciated, making a positive difference. I send created works out into the world and hear hardly anything of their landing. I send created works out into the world and they are sent back to me unwanted.
This vocation gave me such confidence and healing and wholeness as it unfolded and enveloped me in its embrace. Now it is demanding much from me, and it feels like more than I can give. It is demanding distance from home. It is demanding continued living with limited financial security.
Most enraging of all, this vocation and its demands are causing me prolonged experiences of depression and the depression is inhibiting my ability to meet the demands of my vocation. This depression is reducing my resilience, hijacking my happiness, poisoning my perspective.
And I am angry.
I am angry with the Divine giver of this gift that seems at present to be more like a curse, or at least to bring on another curse, depression.
The curse – whether the vocation itself or the depression – is like a cross.
As the story of Simon of Cyrene was told, words put into his voice that told of Jesus' winged hand on his shoulder as Simon carried the cross for Jesus, I longed to feel that hand on my shoulder as I carry the cross I bear.
Then we sang of brothers and sisters serving one another, and I looked back and saw the winged hands of my community at home flying across the ocean to lift me up in the midst of the despair in recent weeks –
and how I wept.
I wept until I felt myself let the anger fall at the foot of the cross, at the feet of the crucified Christ, and I got up and I walked away.
Now I feel somewhat bereft. I feel a little tempted to pick up the anger again, for now I see it for what it is I rather like it in a self-righteous way. I am exhausted with an ache like that of putting a load down that has been carried some way, muscles light relieved of their burden but burning from the strain.
Beneath the anger, though, I can see now a question I am not sure I have the courage to ask. What is the purpose of the vocation to which I feel myself called, if none but me will value it, appreciate it, make use of it?
At least now that the question has been revealed, I might know what it is for which I am to listen.