I wrote yesterday about Michael Mayne’s comment, that if fatigue and anger and the bleakness of life is all you have to offer in prayer and sacrifice, then that’s what you offer. It is with those things that you do honour to the Creator, because the Creator and Source of all knows deeply and profoundly what it is to be tired.
And in many ways, that’s easy. It’s easy to own to being tired, to lift that in offering: I’m tired, I feel unwell, I had an asthma attack yesterday and a rubbish night’s sleep, and I’m starting a headache and I didn’t make time for a proper lunch today, and God I feel like shit, but here you go. It’s all yours because it’s all I’ve got.
It’s harder when all I’ve got is actually not caused by physiological realities. When it’s not tiredness of the body, but tiredness of my soul. Some days are good, and it’s easy to offer how I’m feeling as my prayer; other days aren’t good, and what I’ve got to offer is bleakness, and pain, and anger, and grief, and shame. The weight of the past, and my guilt that I cannot yet shed it; the anger of rapes and beatings and ten years’ worth of injustices and unfairnesses; the fear of panic attacks and the impact they have, and my shame that I cannot control them.
And that’s hard to offer not because it’s a pretty crappy gift – which it is – but because offering means owning it. Offering it means acknowledging that this is what’s going on – and that it hurts. I’d rather not offer it, to be honest. I’d rather be alone with it and pretend it’s not there than I would gather it up and acquiesce to it, and actually recognise the impact it all has.
There’s no choice, though – I get that. Until I actually acknowledge it all, and honour it, and feel it, I won’t heal from it – I’ll just bury it and pretend it’s not there, and carry it around unadmitted until I work up the courage to look at it.
In lifting all this shit up to the Source of all compassion, I must find the courage to face compassion. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, and that’s what I have to do.
Low at his feet lay your burden of carefulness; high on his heart he will bear it for you.
I know these words to be true – living them, though, is a whole other matter.