Monday was not a good day. But since it had taken almost three weeks from the traumatic event to have a legitimately bad day, that's not so bad. And even Monday wasn't that bad.
When this happens, there are two things to do:
2) the dishes
(I hasten to add that number two may include the literal doing of dishes, but it is mostly a specific example of getting on with the things that need doing. Though I believe I did actually unload and load the dishwasher on Monday.)
For a religious blog, the importance on number one should be obvious. The strength to make it through those dark times depends on God.
But the second part is similarly important. When I go through those dark times, I tend to be paralyzed. Doing anything productive requires a store of energy I don't seem to have. And while I'm busy not doing, the list of things to be done grows and grows until it becomes another generator of despair.
When the house needs cleaning, I find that the dishes are often a discrete and doable part of the job - the net effect of which is a sense that something has been accomplished. When I lived in small apartments on my own, getting the dishes done seemed to cut the rest of the job in half.
So Tuesday, I did do some dishes. I did do my exercise routine. I did get dressed - dressed like a middle aged professional with a job and things to do - and I got on with things that needed doing.
And where did I find the strength to do that?
Refer back to number one.
I'm glad to hear it. There is something very helpful about doing a manageable task that is clearly defined and that is doable to lift the spirits a bit. I pray things continue to improve.
I know prayer is No. 1, but let's face it. Sometimes prayer is just not in us. Words may be mumbled, but with little meaning. And even the intercessory prayers of others, while appreciated, seem to evade any felt presence. At least for me, it's then I have to remind myself that it's not my prayers that are doing the work, it's God, and I don't have to feel it, I only have to know it. So, as my very spiritual wife would say, "I'll hold a place for you until you are ready to come back."
I remember once being in a discussion about prayer, when one of the participants spoke derisively about the meaninglessness of "praying by rote."
My own take was that praying by rote was better than not praying at all.
It seems to me that the discipline of prayer is about praying whether I want to or not - and even praying whether I mean it or not.
I've generally found that when I go through a period of praying by rote, I eventually come to mean it again.
Of course, when I have stopped praying for a time, it eventually comes back as well. But it comes back much quicker if I've been praying by rote because the alternative is not praying at all.
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