The short answer: because things have been tough. Because I’ve got a new job and I’m a manager now and I have to hold it together at work: it’s now harder to show the vulnerability of having a shit day, or being depressed, or admitting that I’m tired because I was tossing and turning all night with nightmares that still haunt me upon waking. Because sometimes things are easy and sometimes things are hard, and right now things are hard and there’s no rhyme or reason to it but my neighbour’s dog barked on Friday night and I wept with fear and frustration at what textbooks call the “exaggerated startle response”. Because I’m angry about things that don’t matter, like my internet connection’s eccentricities and the boy in the chemist who refused to acknowledge the existence of the product I wished to purchase – but I can’t place my anger where it actually belongs: at the feet (or across the back of the head) of the man who did these things to me, whose actions are still causing me to pay a price that I’m a bit fucking sick of paying. Because my life is wonderful, filled with friends and fulfilling work and indescribably beautiful music and the peace of a safe, stable home and the unutterable blessing of freedom – to say nothing of the mundane blessings of clean running water and enough food and the knowledge that I can walk down my street without the fear of an air-raid, or a suicide bomber, or any one of a thousand different horrific realities faced by so many of the world’s citizens – and yet, in spite of all my blessings, I feel like this.
I feel flat, and anxious, and motivating myself is like pushing myself through cloying, clinging, heavy mud. I feel guilty, for feeling like this when my life is so rich with blessing. And I feel angry, and angry at myself for the anger, and for having a mind that goes around in circles and that intellectualises as a sort of tranquilliser. And I wish it would go away, and I know that it will pass, and that I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have to be gentle with myself, and care for myself, and allow others to be gentle with me.
In this, I’m seeking, yearning for, that connection in prayer with the Sacred. I’m longing for the peace that comes with that, even as I know that there is more to that need than simply a sense of serenity and space. And in that longing, I know this: that the Source of compassion has shared every pain and exultation, has lovingly held every dishonourable thought and lighted every shameful thing that was done to me. That the Ground of my being is closer to me than my own breath. That the Force of love dwells in me, and me in It, whether I’m aware of it or not. That this shitty, tedious darkness is lighted not only by those amazing people who care for me and who are friends to me, but also by the Origin of light, from whom those blessings flow.
So when things are too crappy to feel like writing, it’s that which will keep me going. Because a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. It might be having a damn good try at the moment – but that’s not going to be how the story ends.