Monday, September 28, 2009

God Does Not Leave Us Comfortless

Do you believe that? The title, I mean.

The line comes from one of my favorite poems, from one of my favorite poets. It is a portion of the last line of Jane Kenyon's Let Evening Come, which I've read was written for a dying friend of hers.

God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.

I've been feeling strangely alone these past couple of weeks, and the searching I've been doing seems to be put on temporary hold until I can find my bearings again. Of course, this isn't what faith is for, is it?

Let the light of late afternoon shine through chinks in the barn, moving up the bales as the sun moves down.

If I was to tell someone I'd been feeling down, they might believe me, but they wouldn't have seen any sign. I keep going, full speed ahead, but what I want to do most is hunker down beneath the covers with a box of tissues and weep.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned in the tall grass. Let evening come.

I missed church yesterday (a mortal sin!) and last Sunday, felt as if I were merely wasting my time on a very uncomfortable surface. I had no sense of being in God's presence.

And yes, I know, God isn't the church, the building, the pews, the altar, but usually all of that adds together quite nicely and makes me able to focus on getting in touch with things I may have forgotten during the week.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den. Let the wind die down.

I wouldn't call myself depressed right now, because to me, a person with a lengthy mental health history, depressed carries a different heft than feeling mopey and removed. Perhaps it's hormonal, perhaps it's stress, perhaps it's mild depression (dysthymia), perhaps (most likely) it will pass and I'll be back to hallelujahs and hosannas in no time.

Let the shed go black inside. Let evening come.

God doesn't have any responsibility in making me feel better. I'm just struck by the sensation of loneliness, and the fear that there is nothing out there. Here I sit, a child of relative privilege, neurotransmitters all jumbled. Sometimes I feel silly in my sadness. Sometimes I believe it shouldn't be real.

Let it come, as it will, and don't be afraid.

I have to say my morning prayers. Haven't said them in days.

When I made my Communion, my Aunt gave me a small statue that showed a child standing, cradled a bit within a large hand. I long to feel this way, cradled and safe. And I know that, worldwide, others do too. And others deserve it way more than me, that sensation of safety and love, that sense of comfort.

God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.

I took a ride this morning after the girls were in school. At a red light, wind blew leaves down in a storm of brown, scattering across the street. Some made their way through the partly-opened passenger side window, coming to rest on the seat and my lap. I cannot tell you the feeling I had then, like, yes, here is something. Here is something for me. No matter how small I am, or how small I feel.


Portions of poem by Jane Kenyon, “Let Evening Come” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.


Anonymous said...

I do believe it, but I also believe that we might not take comfort...depending on what we're expecting. Especially for those of us in the Western world, life has changed significantly, has become immeasurably more comfortable than it was for the generations before us.

A better understand of the meaning of God's comfort dawned on me just a couple of weeks ago in the form of a hymn we sang on Sunday, "Will you let me be your servant."


Life itself will always be wrought with more pain than pleasure. But were we not given God's "best gift," Jesus, who demonstrated for us not only how to live, but how to die, that we might live again?

Kelly said...

De, you are amazing. Your comment gave me much to think about.