It’s been a while since I’ve had a good, solid, spiritual centering. I miss my church, which I’ve abandoned because the pastor I adored moved on, and as lovely as the new minister is she simply doesn’t hit me emotionally the same way.
Of course, Advent will start soon, and I suspect I’ll be back at church just to be able to lift my voice in the Christmas hymns which I love so much, so maybe that will change things for me. I’m also planning on increasing the number of recovery meetings I attend, as my sober anniversary is just a bit over three weeks away.
But even better than all that is I’ve begun reading Anne Lamott’s new book: Help Thanks Wow: the Three Essential Prayers.
I’ve read all of her books, but my favorites are definitely her books about spirituality, and while I may not know her personally (alas), I consider her to be somewhat of a spiritual mentor for me because she’s written about things that have been permanently folded into my life and lexicon; things such as “when everything is awful it’s because something beautiful is about to be born” and what Charlie and I call “the Anne Lamott test” where we consider decisions based on how they make us feel as a way to connect to our instincts.
And that was the world’s longest running sentence ever.
So, anyway, I’m reading her newest book and the above quote jumped out at me and made me cry ugly tears. I forget, so often, that I am in charge of so little – and in particular I am not in charge of what anyone thinks of my life or the boundaries I set, and even in the relationship with my family.
Charlie and I clash, considerably, on the idea of God and whether there is a God or not. He feels very firmly that there is not, I feel very firmly that there is. Tori claims she also believes in God, even though we don’t push her to believe one way or another and we both talk frankly about our views. My mom is a Christian and passionate about Jesus, which makes us a very mixed household indeed.
But sometimes I lose faith (often), sometimes I feel disconnected from God (even more often), and I need help. This additional quote from Anne Lamott’s book struck me too:
If I were to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little.
I feel like I often have to restart the process of believing in God over and over and over again, particularly after the loss of the boys. My faith was so secure before then! Life sucks sometimes, and it’s so much easier to blame God than to practice acceptance. I struggle with this every minute.
But the statement about being “so ruined, and so loved” makes me think about my sisters. I haven’t spoken to any of them since Diana’s heartbreaking post, and I’m not sure if it’s because we all needed a bit of a breather or if it was just me. I feel such gratitude for having broken through the wall there, and I feel so connected to them – but I also know that there is a huge part of me that has simply compartmentalized the situation and that I’m not poking at the emotional turmoil around it (compartmentalizing shit in my head and heart is a trait I share with Diana, apparently).
When I get like this and closed down, it’s when I know I need to reach out to and try to connect with God again, but I become afraid because I know if I open myself up enough to let in God, I’ll crack open the walls around my heart and have to feel what I’ve been avoiding feeling.
But it’s happening anyway, because here I am, feeling open and raw and sentimental and full of love and grief and joy. This is good, and terrifying, and overwhelming, and wonderful. I’m trying to hold on to this final quote:
Grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hand on.
So, this is me, working on hanging on and hoping that grace will bring me a second wind.