(Written April 14, 2020 for my Homeschool Community)
I have to admit, the past week has been tremendously difficult for me. Since early last week I felt a creeping sense of unease trying to overtake me, a sense of hopelessness and weariness. The lack of connection was taking it’s toll, the empty calendar for weeks unknown (for a planner like me, this is probably the worst) I have lived through loss, and infertility and even betrayal. Yet this week, I felt despair…and then I felt guilty for feeling depressed over something so benign. We are alive, we are healthy, and provided for. Others have it worse, after all. And yet, It was even effecting me physically – a heaviness that I just couldn’t shake.
I’m familiar with this struggle, as in my 20’s following Bible College, I had a serious bout with depression. I was socially isolated then, as the majority of my friends had moved away, and I felt disconnected and disjointed. Not sure in my career, ministry, etc. The future seemed a very scary unknown. I felt frozen. The sun on my skin not penetrating me with any warmth, not feeling much at all, except a frustration with myself. Crying out to God and feeling like my prayers were falling down like lead having never penetrated heaven.
Now, just like then, all the things I had known to do to combat this, weren’t working. Gratitude lists, turning off the news, reading the Bible, reaching out to friends, praying in spite of my feelings, worship music, just keeping on keeping on… maybe some of you have felt this too… and yesterday, with the possibility of another month or more of this… it just about put me over the edge. I walked around all day on the verge of tears, like a zombie… my family was worried… I wanted to bury myself and sleep until the world was “normal” again…
And yet… joy comes in the morning…
It started this morning with reading Psalm 42:3-5 – My Tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”, when I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast, Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him…
…and then seemingling unrelated… I reread my devotion from Saturday that just didn’t penetrate that day…
John 20:1a Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark.
Nobody knew how long Saturday would last. Nobody knew if Saturday would ever end. So it is now as well. Nobody knows how long Saturday will last or if it will ever end. Saturday is that in-between day of stillness and doubt and despair when time stands still in lethal flatness. The old Saturday was about abandonment and disappointment at the far edge of the crucifixion. And then came all the Saturdays of fear and abusiveness, of the Crusades and the ovens and genocides in too many places. And then came our particular Saturdays of Katrina and 9/11 and economic collapse. Saturdays of overwhelming failure with no adequate resources, (and of social isolation and Covid19 – my words)
In the midst of the that desperate stillness, the church listens yet again to another narrative that interrupts and intrudes and summons and haunts…. we are marked by the memory of Friday, but also the hope of Sunday.
…John 20:19…That evening, the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear…Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Twice. Then it says “He breathed on them” and said,“Receive my Spirit”.
The Greek and Hebrew words for Breath and Spirit share the same root word. He literally gave them “artificial resuscitation” – the gift of His breath of Life…and forgiveness and the power to forgive… Walter Brueggemann – A Way Other Than Our Own
This passage broke through to me, and I immediately felt the need to express gratitude…which I did, and still do. He breathes His life into us. He forgives us and empowers us to take that forgiveness everywhere, in His name. This morning, a spring of life started bubbling up in me, and again I could hear His Spirit and life breathing encouragement all around me. The scriptures are alive to me again, expressions of love are felt again. Music moves my heart again, and though I still long to worship corporately, I worship “corporately” even while alone, knowing brothers and sisters are all worshiping Him still.
I still struggle, but I no longer feel alone. I receive his Peace again and again. Friends, I look forward to the day when I can plan again, when I can see you and hug you and hear your laugh in person (not via technology). But until then, I look forward to our virtual chats and texts and the like. I am always blessed by you, and give thanks to God for each and every one of you. Xoxo Tammara