It’s Easter Saturday and I find myself reading through my blog again and again, trying to trace the journey of me and Easter, trying to remember my way into this story. It hasn’t been a great week in my head, I have had a cold, I’ve been looking after a son with croup, husbandface is in one of his less great cycles in his mental health and we are in a global pandemic. I’m tired. I’m weary and for the first time this year I felt the weight of the black dog sitting in my head again. That it’s the first time this year is in itself is a wonderful thing to notice. This has been a hard hard winter but it’s also been one of freedom in my thoughts, freedom to know I am loved, freely and unconditionally. My Spiritual Direction course has been instrumental in helping me process and know and own this simple reality of my worth as beloved. I have felt like my inner world has been decluttered from a lot of the rubbish that goes on in it at times. It has been brilliant. This week does not deny the goodness of the last few months. This week does not mean I am back in another part of my journey and story, this week does not negate or wipe out the very real stuff that has been going on as I have moved forward in this awareness of how loved I am. This week has just been one of those weeks.
I search through my head for triggers to this weighted blanket on my head, stopping me from knowing how loved I am. I remember how this week I have read about the abuse carried out in the conservative church circles I was once part of. I remember that I have been reliving memories of people I knew in Durham at Uni, the conferences I went on, the times I heard this man preach, the ways the heavy shepherding culture affected me, the ways I saw it affect and damage friends, the horrid nature of a world where you were taught to be suspicious of others and look for those who were ‘sound’, the grimness of measuring people’s eternal destiny by the theological framework they subscribed to. It’s an exhausting journey, even as one who escaped relatively unscathed. I am deeply glad of having left much of that tribe behind me yet I’m still aware of the messages that swirl around my brain. I feel for all more deeply affected, I try and pray for hope and for clarity and for the love of Jesus to hold all those hurt by this situation. I go back to a post I wrote last year after another abuse story from a different corner of that tribe hit. I long for people of gentle integrity to bring light and hope.
And so I imagine this week’s darkness has come as a combination of the above and also the reality that this is again a transition week into a new way of being. Just as we get used to one way of living, the goal posts shift again and we have to relearn what we are allowed to do and who might want to do it with us. After months of being in a fair amount of solitude suddenly we are allowed to meet up with other people again, all of which begs the questions of who? Who might want to meet with us, does anyone want to? Do we have the energy within to take initiative, why are others meeting up without us? How can we enjoy knowing about other peoples friendships without jealously or competition? How can I take this huge wonder of knowing I am secure in love into my friendships and into this world where we can physically encounter others again?
The questions are huge and although I had almost learnt to live without that rolling train of thought in my head. I am glad to notice it, to write it out, to see and be aware and remember again the source and safety of my love and remember how to reach out to others because of love rather than because I think I should be connected to everyone in the whole universe. My deep well of need to be loved is met in the bedrock reality of the Maker of this world singing love songs over me. I am loved, I am loved, I am loved. I smile. I can walk on, I can speak out resurrection hope tomorrow because I am loved, not because it proves anything about me, but because I am able to offer the wonder of this Jesus who loves and calls me by name to the people I have the privilege to serve and work for in our church (and their mum’s who seem to watch most of the services online as well).
It hasn’t been a great week but I’m here, on Easter Saturday, pondering the hope and light of a man who stands in a garden saying my name. That hope nourishes me, draws me close, warms me and helps me trust that holding it out tomorrow morning will speak volumes to me and anyone else in need of a light to carry through this exhausting world.