Friday 15 August 2008

Last Sunday I sat and listened to my friend Jane and her friend Nerida discussing coping with CFS, and was shocked to realise that what I was feeling was ... well, it wasn't envy, but it was something in the same vague vicinity. It was a recognition that I had lost my CFS identity, and in many ways that I am only beginning to understand, I have not managed to replace it with something else.

Which is ironic, considering when I was sick with CFS I felt like I had no identity at all. I used to wonder why Jesus asked the man at the pool, "Do you want to be well?" I wondered if perhaps it was just some sort of social nicety. But the thing is, us humans want to stay where we're comfortable. Even if that's a horrible place. We gain our identity from our experiences and giving that up does not always come without a fight, even if it's a great evil. I don't understand it entirely, I must say. It seems ... well, crazy. But it's true. He knows how hard it is for the rut of suffering to give way to the horizon of possibility, of anticipation, of change. We have no idea how we're going to get there. I don't think we're meant to. Do I want to be well? Oh, yeah, I do. I hope.

Timing is everything. When I knew that I had tried, with all of my might and for over two years, to stay in my marriage but I just couldn't do it, I strongly sensed God, or maybe my own inner great wisdom (or maybe they're just the same thing), saying, "Not yet. Wait." It was so strong, it was something I just hung onto. And it was proved right. When I did finally leave, the most terrified I've ever been in my life, the reverb still enough to easily bring tears to my eyes two years later, it was the most seamless, least messy breakup I've ever seen, really. Which is a great consolation. As is the fact that I can say that my mate Mocca has picked himself up and moved on. He is actually happy. It makes me happy to see him happy. In some ways I have been more concerned that he regain himself than I regain myself. Which is not an entirely healthy thing, I suppose. But I felt like I was lost anyway, you know? I felt (stupidly so, according to him) so responsible for this marriage break-up, and was in so many pieces myself anyway, that to see him go under as a result of my actions (and he did, for a little bit) was more than I could bear, really.

So Mocca has moved on. I am happy. I think now it's time for me to do the same. He was quite flabbergasted about my insistence on claiming that this was all my fault. What is the point of blame, he asks? And indeed, he is correct. Blame is a pointless egoic exercise. It feeds bitterness. Which is something I seem to have carried from the past 10 years. Surprisingly. How surprising to discover these things about ourselves. It is a brave enterprise to venture forth into the discovery of ourselves. It's why many people refuse to, unwilling to look, happy instead to live in the land of unreality, the most unsafe place that ever did be.

Blame and self-punishment. Both pointless enterprises. But I have done both, these two things operating out of such deep roots that I have hardly been able to really recognise it for a while there.

Yes, blame is pointless. But examining oneself is not, and perhaps it is because I am the one who has to pick up and move on with myself that examining the part I may have played in the breakup of my marriage is a necessary and useful thing for me. At least examining your part to play in painful enterprises redeems them somehow, me thinks. The most painful situations drag up subconscious stuff, and when it's dragged up it is of the utmost benefit to take, and look, and drag it into the light. As painful as that is, God is there. As painful as that is, it leads somewhere. It opens up new rooms, new continents, and the reverb extends down through your life into the future. A good reverb, opening things up, revealing a bit more of the mystery that is yourself.

I have been making noises for the past several months to myself, slowly getting louder, that it is coming time for me to move out into some sort of community. Not anything major. Like everything, very small steps lead to long miles walked if you just walk small steps at a time. This is something I need to remind myself. The following verse by Julia Cameron is the way I desire to walk in my life and in my artmaking:

Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps. How many of us have burned through promising relationships by moving too swiftly? How many of us have burned out in new creative ventures by setting goals too high? Most of us.

~ Julia Cameron, Walking in the World

I desire to share, on a semi-regular basis, my life and spiritual journey with a few likeminded people. I think I am ready. It is never going to not feel scary. Interaction with others is always a vulnerablefying experience. I remember when I stepped out of the whole church building deal over 7 years ago, I wondered if I would ever find people who were looking at things the way I was. These days, they seem to be everywhere. I feel comfortable now within myself about my faith, my God, and what it feels and looks like to be led by God. I know how he talks to me. I don't want sermons on five-step plans to accomplish my goals; I wanna hang and share hearts with some people. As scary as that is.

I don't need to be led. Never have. But I need to share. And it's taken me a long time but I think the shards are stuck together in some sort of vague coherency now that sharing can be some sort of a two-way street. And maybe, like that elderly woman on the bus last night whose beauty shone out through her facial lines, maybe being a blob of shards stuck together will involve some sort of light refraction. Here's hoping.

There is a Christian meditation group that meets on a Monday evening a suburb away from mine. I'm planning on giving them a call over the next few days. God has been saying 'Wait' to me in some fashion or other the entire time I have been a believer. I don't think there will ever be a time where 'Wait' is not occurring in some part of our lives. And it's okay. That word 'Wait' contains promise. It is a risky word, too, because it can feel perilously like, 'No,' or maybe sometimes like, 'Never, you silly moron,' or even, 'Never. Don't look at me. I am a small god and I am not interested in fulfilling any of your desires,' depending on which version of life we are clouding our lenses with at the time. God is the ultimate risk-taker, the ultimate vulnerable lover. And just because we are living in an age of smallness, of greyness, of clamour and unease, maybe we need to remind ourselves that God is love and life and colour and movement and the 'Waits' s/he says to us are for very, very good reasons. But God's heart is always 'Yes.'

Image: Tree of Wisdom by Emin Sinanyan


  1. Sue, don't you love it that he goes with us at our pace?

  2. Kent, I do. It's an amazing thang, isn't it? Especially when Churchianity teaches that he's standing there waiting to whack us, as Wayne would say. I have found his patience to be something I can swim in ... and within that patience lies the seeds of change.

    You know what though, Kentster? I wish my pace would hurry up. Because I'm still stuck in the middle of all of this shit, in the middle of the deepest stuff, and I know he is walking me through all of that. I know it. But sometimes it's really easy to lose hope and lose sight because dammit, my pace seems to be a snail's one :(

  3. "us humans want to stay where we're comfortable. Even if that's a horrible place. We gain our identity from our experiences and giving that up does not always come without a fight"

    That is so, so true.

    My heart is praying that you find that circle of people that you can hang with and be completely Sue and share this journey with. I would totally hang with you if it wasn't for that giant body of water between us!

  4. "My heart is praying ..."

    Awww, I like that! :) Thanks, Tina. I really need to get out and stop being alone so much. It's time to start getting my life back together ... shame about that giant body of water :)

  5. I have been thinking all week about how you said you don't need to be led but you need to share. I love that, it sums it up for me, too.

    But how to find that? How should it look? Sigh...

  6. Mm. Erin. Timing, me thinks. Timing. I really think there is a spot for us all - not a perfect spot. I'm sure it's full of people as irritating as you and I :) But a spot for us.

    So I think it's a matter of expectancy, and trust. I guess. And maybe expecting that it will look very different than we imagine maybe. Which would be not having expectations :)


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