In the cave

I’m paralyzed with a sense of hopelessness. I feel very alone.

I have barely enough strength to function in what they call “activities of daily living.”

To go to work… a burden I almost can’t carry anymore. To talk to anyone… it takes all I have.

I plead with God for mercy.

I feel like I deserve the loneliness and fainting soul. Whether or not I do, it doesn’t matter to me right now.

Right now, I feel the need for mercy, not an analysis of the details. Not a rebuke that my feelings are wrong. “No shoot Sherlock.”

To figure out “how much of this is my fault” is a weariness. I can’t. I’m too tired.

To hear others who may read this tell me… “but it’s not your fault”… confuses and distresses me. My friends are not God… they can’t know the depths of my heart… the secret (even from me) thoughts of my heart that only God sees.

My shame.

Their love for me is genuine… I know. But it’s hard to receive that right now. I’m swirling in despair. Their words, though coming from a place of love, are not enough.

I plead with God for mercy.

This is my complaint… my pain:

My spirit faints within me… there is no one who takes notice of me… no refuge remains to me… no one cares for my soul. Psalm 142

This is what I feel:

Lost, alone, confused, helpless.

Fainting.

Judged.

Wrong before I open my mouth.

Because I don’t know what to do or say. To anyone. About anything. I’m afraid.

Afraid of even people who have cared for my soul.

Afraid that my complaint will be seen as stupid, or complaining, or divisive, or bitter.

All things that must be fixed.

Afraid that my pain will be met with advice or rebuke.

Advice I have no energy to follow.

Rebuke that I receive as a whipping I deserve.

So it’s not ok to complain. It’s not safe to complain to anyone.

And I stop talking to everyone.

I can’t take messing up anymore.

I can’t take one more rebuke. I can’t take one more guarded discussion where there are things not said that are louder than the things said.

I can’t take the fear that what I meant for good turned to crap… becoming more evidence in a mounting case of… “don’t trust that man. Keep him at arm’s length.”

I’m wincing already.

The expressions and silence and guarded speech… the actions and inactions that reflect assumptions of me… the hugs I crave and don’t receive… they fuel the loneliness.

Any action or conversation I have… with anyone… is subject to the microscope of looking for something in me to correct.

I’m fainting.

My words will be weapons used against me to prove to me what I already know… that I’m wrong and lost and confused.

Even these words I’m writing, right now, will be found to be wrong. And they help to build the case of my wrongness.

So I sit in my cave, my prison, cringing… waiting for the text or phone call.

Do I answer it?

No. Because I’m cringing at the thought of anything but a hug. And even a hug will make my mind go in a thousand swirling confused directions. Why are they hugging me? What will they say after the hug? What am I supposed to say or do after the hug? Will I know? Will I be able to?

So silence is all I know… and it’s harmful.

My very silence hurts others.

So I plead with God for mercy.

O LORD… You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low.

You, Lord Jesus, are the only safe place I can cry. I turn to you.

You are my only portion… all I’ve got. All I want anymore.

Man has hurt me and failed me.

I have failed me.

But you will bring me out of prison.

You will deal bountifully with me.

Thank you for giving me mercy and not judgment, even though I deserve your rebuke.

Thank you for saying you do not condemn me.

Thank you for pouring oil into my wounds… God they hurt so much!

Thank you for not even talking about what I’ve done wrong… my lost-ness in the pig pens of my mind and words and actions and choices.

Thank you for saying that it’s time to eat at your table, as if everything awful had never happened.

I will eat with you. I’m safe with you.

Thank you for forgetting my mess.

Thank you for not forgetting me.

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