Saturday, 4 April 2015

a Good Friday vigil and realisation

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.

4 comments:

Marnie Agnew said...

And across the other side of the world, in another hemisphere, I wept too, hurting with your hurt, wishing I could fix it for you. But with that came the thought that without the suffering,the hurt,the depression, the anger, you may have ended up in another place, not so fulfilling, not so rewarding in the end, not so honed, not so true to who you are. So stick with it, keep having courage to face the hard questions, & know we travel with you, with love.

Mary-Grace Bingham said...

That is a powerful reading ( writing ) Sarah!! Love it and if I could also share the wings of the touch of our risen Jesus!! Amen!!

Tracey Medhurst said...

I must confess this is the first story of yours I have read (don't know why it has taken me so long)...it is beautifully written Sarah, you have a gift with writing. This Easter I realised a little more of the importance of Easter Saturday and your writing brought it to me again... maybe it's not only the pain and sadness of Easter Friday but it's the agonising wait through Easter Saturday. Wondering, much like the disciples and people in Jesus' day...will He really rise, really conquer death, really hold to his word, because at the moment, He is dead, He is gone, He isn't here to help me through. God, in His master plan knew we needed time to wait, to fully rely on His plan, His doing, His timing...and this involved the wait of Saturday. I realised that so often we have the pain or grief or sadness and then, we have a Saturday...well, the wait of a Saturday I mean, where God enables us to wait until He brings deliverance, healing, even joy, on the Sunday. Praise God for the Sunday...praying you will enjoy your Sunday too, the Sunday of joy with Mel and Shell there especially xo

sarah said...

thank you for these comments of affirmation, encouragement and love. much appreciated.