It's Lent and I've enjoyed reading the different meditations and journeys that my friends are on. My Lent has been a bit different. I've lived with chronic pain for some time. It's a part of life and I just get on with doing what I need to do. I even confess a little pride in my ability to push the pain to the background and just continue.
This Lent my image of myself as a person who just gets on which it shattered. I'm on the strongest meds I've ever had to take, and they still aren't working well. I learned that I don't really handle pain that well after days of snapping at everyone because I couldn't stop myself.
But I'm not writing this for sympathy, I writing this because I'm learning something truly valuable about myself. I've been following Richard Rohr's meditations on the ego self and shadow self. My pride in my equanimity in all situations belongs to my ego self. It is an image I try to project, and when I fail, I try to protect with excuses. Better to just let it go, to watch it crumble beneath the weight of pain.
What is left?
If Lent is the journey toward God, then I'm on that journey. The more I let go of my ego and my need to be in control of my life, including the pain, the more I find God. The funny thing, the sad thing, is that I've been here before. I've felt God's hands holding me when life was impossible. I've heard her whisper. "I'm here." I just forgot.
I started to remember through the tears when I watched this video.
I understood the words the girl spoke, I felt them, as I felt the sudden glimpse of hope. Is this not what we are about? The sharing of hope in the midst of our darkest experience?
So, if I let myself die, the one who has it all together, what is left? What is left is the one who knows he's broken and in pain both physical and spiritual. Yet, who is not? Yet clinging to God, who is clinging to me, it is not my powers of self-control that will point people to God, but my faith in the one who shares my pain. That one who listens to me curse, who hears my fear, and still does not judge. It is time and past time that I give glory to that One, and I can only do that if I stop glorifying myself.
There is no end to this journey. It will continue on past Easter and round the seasons again, but each pass through this wilderness I come closer to apprehending the love of this God who made himself to be no more than me, so that I may become a great deal more like him.