I have been gone awhile.  I have had not an ounce of energy for blogging.  All of my resources, my thoughts, my time have been completely immersed in my latest “esoteric crisis”.  I really think that I am broken in the Love Department.

Maybe everyone is broken in this place?  Is this the human condition?  Is this really the “hole in my heart” that only “Christ can fill”, as I used to so simply believe?

Because of very stressful family circumstances as of late, I have found myself depleted, and just surviving each day.  I cannot sit in silence, because when I am not filling myself up with distractions, and have to face what is inside, I become immediately uncomfortable.  The sounds of my children, which should produce in me feelings of gratitude and joy, have become nails on a blackboard.  The dishes in the sink, the huge hairballs, some combination of dust, lint and dog hair in every corner, and the endless piles of molding laundry weigh on me like boulders.  I find myself always looking to my next break, the next opportunity to sit and check out on the computer or with a book.  When my children approach me for anything, physical needs or emotional…I find myself thinking, “WHAT do you want from me, don’t you know I don’t have anything for you?!”  (please don’t read this wrong…my children ARE being fed and hugged….I am talking about my inner attitude and heart here)

These past two months I have been faced with some of the worst parts of myself.  I have really seen a clear picture of how, apart from G-d, I am completely incapable of love and sacrifice.  Part of my spiritual failings in the past have been that I am chronically self-sufficient.  I always see my opinions and my WAY as right.  Trouble is, that WAY is always changing, because no matter which WAY I go, it’s still ME with all of my struggles and failings.  The moment I face discomfort, I seek to soothe it by finding what is “right”, and what is “true”.  Hence, my inability to commit to a spiritual path or practice.  I plug in my ipod earphones to “make it” through the day…fueling my time and my mind with political and religious talk.  I am addicted to thinking, to looking for more, for something else.  Where others might turn to alcohol or drugs, I turn to overthinking and analyzing.

With all of these mental gymnastics, I have made very little internal space for the things that would produce the Fruits of the Spirit.  Patience?  Forget it.  I want to feel better NOW.  Long suffering?  Yeah right….see “patience”.   Joy?  Doubt it…I would actually have to live in what I am doing to experience it.  Kindness?  Well, I don’t have patience, and I don’t want to feel discomfort, or to feel the present moment….so when someone needs something from me I don’t have a lot of kindness.  Faithfulness?  I give up on G-d every time I turn to my own ways and thinking.  Gentleness?  I am a bull in a china shop.  I am not gentle, least of all to myself.  Self-control?  If I had some, I wouldn’t be writing this.  Then the crowning piece….LOVE.  The all-elusive LOVE.

I realize that LOVE is not a feeling, although it produces feelings.  I know that LOVE needs to show in actions, and in sacrifice.  Maybe I have it, and I am just not plugged into it.  Do I have some sort of soulish extension chord that I should be able to just plug into the Great Outlet of Love? Have I blown a fuse?

I don’t want to leave a legacy of life evasion to my children.  The legacy that was left to me.  I want to teach them to love life, to embrace it, and to look to G-d, no matter the circumstances.  I realize that my chances of teaching that to them, when I do not do it myself, are slim indeed.  I remember a childhood of being disciplined or silenced for expressing a negative emotion.  I remember thinking that my negative  feelings were the cause of my mother’s stony silences, of my father’s anxieties.  I remember wondering how it was that I came to be the Great Destroyer of Happiness, how I destroyed my family with my SELF.  Oh, how I don’t want my children to feel that!

This human condition is messy at best, devestating at its worst.  I don’t want to wake up one day, with my kids grown and wrinkles on my face, and realize that I wasted so many days just trying to get to the next day.  I want to learn to embrace what is NOW, and to open myself up to seeing the beauty that G-d has placed in it.  Now, just to get out of this trap of a head.  I want nothing more than to pull down these lofty and theological ideals that I hold into the mess of my daily life.

I have been reading “The Way”, by St. Josemaria Escriva (the founder of Opus Dei).  His words have been speaking so deeply to my condition, that I do see a glimmer of sweetness inside.  Here are some of his quotes:

“‘Tomorrow!’ Sometimes it is prudence, sometimes it is the adverb of the defeated.”

“You’re afraid of becoming distant and cold with everyone – you want so much to be detached!  Get rid of that fear.  If you belong to Christ – completely to Christ – he will give you light, fire and warmth for all men.”

“‘If your right eye scandalizes you, pluck it out and cast it from you!’  Poor heart…that’s what scandalizes you.  Grasp it, hold it tight in your hands – and don’t give it any consolation.  And, when it asks for consolation, full of noble compassion say to it slowly, as if confiding, ‘My heart…heart on the cross, heart on the cross!”

“Many who would let themselves be nailed to a cross before the astonished gaze of thousands of spectators won’t bear the pinpricks of each day with a Christian spirit!  But think, which is the more heroic?”

“Your worst enemy is yourself”

“Sadness, depression.  I’m not surprised: it’s the cloud of dust raised by your fall.  But….enough of it!  Can’t you see that the cloud has been borne far away by the breath of grace?  Moreover, your sadness – if you don’t reject it – could very well be the cloak of your pride.  Did you really think yourself so perfect and sinless?”

I hate to end this entry on a negative, self-deprecating note.  I want to end it like a psalm…all misery and longing until the “BUT YOU L-RD…..”.  But I am no psalmist, and my resources are tapped.  Instead I will cling to someone else’s words, I will borrow someone else’s strength and clarity,

“Consider what is most beautiful and most noble on earth, what pleases the mind and the other faculties, and what delights the flesh and the senses.  Consider the world, and the other worlds that shine in the night – the whole universe.  And this, along with all the satisfied follies of the heart, is worth nothing, IS nothing and less than nothing, compared with this G-d of mine! -of yours! – Infinite treasure, most beautiful pearl…humbled, become a slave, reduced to nothingness in the form of a servant in the stable where he willed to be born…in Joseph’s workshop, in his Passion and in ignominious death, and in the frenzy of Love – the blessed Eucharist”.  (emphasis mine)