Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Potter

The priest announced that Lent was nearly half over and that we should “redouble our efforts.”

What “efforts”? To not eat meat or dairy products? I am fasting, diligently in fact. But it seems like no big deal.  Certainly no herculean effort.

Of course, true "fasting" involves more than that. Its purpose is to cleanse the whole person of toxins, both physical and spiritual.  Beyond not eating certain things, it should include the obvious no-no’s - like not breaking the Ten Commandments.

Yet none of this, even if perfectly executed, would necessarily evidence spirituality or wholeness. What do fasts and renunciate behaviors really matter to God, who looks at the heart?

What counts is my inner state, and this remains an impenetrable fog of un-reconciled, un-reconcilable dissatisfactions that coalesce into a yearning for the warmth of true love - a yearning that has never been met. I feel like a child weeping in the dark that sees itself as both unloved and unlovable, longing to appease a Parent that long ago showed (or so I’ve come to believe) that this was ultimately impossible.

Perhaps from time to time a temporary reprieve occurs, an experience of sharing and affection with someone, maybe even a fleeting moment of happiness or peace.

Then the darkness swirls back in. Despair hits again – and in that same old spot which is already bruised and wounded beyond all hope of healing.

The world then seems a weary and miserable place, and life itself no great gift.  But such an attitude is pure ingratitude, despondency.  What to do?

I am advised to “resist the devil” and to be submissive to God's omniscient will. I am reminded that the created object has no right to critique its Creator; the pot should not demand explanations of the Potter who formed it.

What consistent counsel! How very much like what my own parents drove home with their incessant mantra about how children should not “talk back” when scolded or disciplined.

So, our amazing and supposedly all-powerful God is just as insecure as my human mother and father, who in their surpassing maturity could not endure a child’s expressions of helpless grief and rage.

I want to forget them all.

To hell with parents and lovers and deities that need a person to be “just so” in order to merit their affection and approval – which they never give 100% anyway.

To hell with wagging one's tail in order to placate another person's misplaced fury, and betraying oneself over and over and over in the process.

To hell with carrying the burden of not being good enough, strong enough, smart enough, together enough . . .  anything enough.

To hell with being held responsible for how someone else is feeling, as though whatever is wrong in that person's life is my fault.

Let the dead bury their own dead.


  1. Wow how cool that last scripture came to me three days in row this week. Thanks for all you share, this came to me yeterday, I love it...The word for "law" in Aramaic points by it's roots to anything of beauty that helps relieve or take away that which deprives a human being of strength. Mathew 5:18 can be translated from the Aramaic as:

    Let your delight flow through us,
    in wave and particle.

    Let your pleasure manifest in us,
    in light and form.

    Let your desire act through us
    as communal and individual purpose.

    God 'Delights' in, with and through us. :)

  2. What helps me when I'm feeling the way you seem to be feeling as expressed in this post (all courtesy of Michael Brown):

    1) Unconditionally give to myself that which I am seeking from others.

    2) Mirror exercise: a) Giving something to yourself (reflection gives back)
    b) Taking something from yourself (reflection takes away)

    Like MB says, there is nothing to get from this world.

    (But perhaps, a lot to give. Dee, you do give a lot, so please recognize that about yourself.)

    Hope this is not too didactic ;-)