Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Up at 3 AM

So I thought I'd put some more wood on the fire, and think a bit.

For several years now, I have been waking in the AMs at irregular intervals and can't get back to sleep. It used to be the time of "white nights" -- all the ghouls would show up and stare at me -- anyone who's had this happen won't need any more explanation! Not EVERY time I woke up, but enough to scare and dishearten me.

More recently, it has been a bit easier to bear. I started using that time to pray and think through whatever was haunting me, and try to figure out solutions. It still involves a lot of emotion, but the demons are quieter, usually.

The fact is, the responsibility of being a Christian is very great. I know too well I am weak. There is so much joy and not that much hardship in the actual details, but the big view is very frightening. I am still the 10 year old that had nightmares for weeks about the science fair, because I knew I wasn't coping. Not coping has been an ongoing issue in my life. IT's grace that has kept things going in spite of that.

"Divide et impera" has been helpful or as Flylady says, "Baby Steps!" Also, "tomorrow is another day!" We get to convert every day, every minute until the last one.

But really, it comes down to the Holy Spirit. If I'm doing well, I need Him. If I'm doing badly, I need Him. There is no shame in that, I suppose. "Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me."

White nights have become a time of contemplation, of purification-- "purgation". I suppose during the day I am usually either drifting or caught up in temporal cares. Processing is quite a task. During the night it catches up with me. I feel like I'm alone in the universe with my defeats and failings and the harm I do. But God's there too.

It would be easier in earthly terms to NOT be a Christian. You try to get through life and not disgrace yourself, with a maximum of comfort and enjoyment and a minimum of regrets. You detach from relationships that don't work, and then you die. There you go. Not much to hope for, but not too bad either. There are any amount of consolations, and if the desolation gets too bad, ignore it or take legal meds or read a self-help book and try to believe it. Or die.

But I realize how utterly impossible it is to be a Christian without Christ. There's absolutely no way. At night, it stares me in the face. I have a task to do. It's immense, and it matters eternally, and I can't get out of it or ignore it. I am so very weak. There is no way. Someone has to help me.

There is a Stillness at the heart of everything. My failings and fears don't go away, but they lose their shadows and become precise. I thirst and it is a blessing to know it; for if I don't, how can I drink? He is a lamp and a quiet water.

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