The other night, while I lay in bed waiting for sleep to weave together thoughts and concerns in the ephemeral landscape of dreams, it struck. The depth of the truth of my reality crashed up me. This time instead of struggling against its power I let it drag me under, allowing its weight to demolish any semblance of control (i.e. pride) I daily attempt to exert over my comings and my goings, my relationships, my financial resources, my vocation.
In the darkness and isolation of a week spent sick and alone, I realized after years of fighting I was in a quiet place of acceptance of the now. I accepted that:
- I have no career. I am underemployed in both the amount of hours I work and the amount of my talent, ability, and knowledge utilized in the work available to me;
- I have no love life of which to speak;
- I have an absurdly large amount of student loans that cause me significant anxiety, which in turn makes me feel trapped in places and positions I abhor;
- I am ten months away from losing my health insurance because I cannot afford the monthly premiums.
In short, I have nothing, no thing. But if I have no thing then I have nothing to lose. And if I have nothing to lose then I can do anything, any thing. If I can do any thing, I must be obedient and respect this time and place and the longing that is being drawn up here.
That night washed away the weight of years of anxiety (about what to do next), fear (of looking foolish in the eyes of those I know and those I want to know me), and isolation (from those who appear to have somehow managed to scrape together a life that is accepted as normal and good by society at large).
I see, name, and know the blessings that daily garnish my life. I humbly receive them as the abundant grace and blessing of a God who loves me with the greatest urgency.
My prayers have become simpler in the last few years. The life-stripping process of 2008-present has laid me bare, and my words reflect that: “Lord, all is unreservedly Yours; Thy will be done. Use me as You see fit; Thy will be done. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
May I embrace this freedom, in which I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. May I risk in ways previously unimaginable, for what have I to fear? And in all of this, may:
I arise today
In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth
I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in thought,
Generous in love.
John O’ Donohue, “Matins 2” from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
Grace and peace.