Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Lenten Pilgrimage

"Lent is a journey, a pilgrimage! Yet, as we begin it, as we make the first step into the 'bright sadness' of Lent, we see - far away - the destination. It is the joy of Easter; it is the entrance into the glory of the Kingdom. And it is the vision, the foretaste of Easter, that makes Lent's sadness bright and our Lenten effort a 'spiritual spring.' "
                              --Fr. Alexander Schememann, Great Lent

This quote I found  this morning in one of the many books I have going right now. ( A Monastic Year: Reflections From A Monastery by Brother Victor-Antoine D'Avila-Latourrette. ) It sounds so...HOPEFUL. So...not me.

I am having a difficult Lent. That's an understatement. I am having a humanly impossible Lent. Of course, that's the idea. It's supposed to be humanly impossible. Everything comes from God; what we partake of, what we abstain from, the courage and perseverance to do both....

I have bipolar disorder. For a month now I have been in a semi-hypomanic state. I'm much more "comfortable" with a depressive state; it's what I'm used to - it's familiar - I get to sleep! The state I'm experiencing sleep, but no bursts of energy that generally comes with hypomania. High anxiety, irritability; my language has deteriorated to the point where growling swear words is the height of conversation. My poor family. I struggle against spending my husband's hard-earned money. Yet there's no non-stop flow of creativity that usually comes in a manic state. All the pains - none of the "perks". And it's lasting FOREVER! My body generally can't sustain mania for more than a week. It is exhausting.

But it is Lent. And I never know where the disease ends and plain old sin begins. So I spend time in the confessional - wishing it had a revolving door. And I beg forgiveness from my Beloved and our children - glad they have short memories and long mercies.

Lent this year is an endless sand dune; the Easter destination a blurry mirage. Even sundays do not bring an oasis to my soul. I am dry, arid, parched. With every step I climb the shifting sands throw me back. But we're half-way there somehow. I am crawling on hands and knees... forward...the only direction I care to go. God will surely bless the efforts. I will arrive at Easter a dessicated pilgrim with grit under her nails; but I will ARRIVE!

Please pray for my Spiritual spring as I pray for yours.

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