All day long, other than my rosary en route to work this morning, I have been avoiding God. I left work in order to return home, still struggling with the papers that are due this weekend, and not ONCE did I open my Liturgy of the Hours. Once home, I simply chose not to leave again, favoring my solitude, choosing not even to invite God into the work I think I'm doing for and with Him.
One of my papers is nearly done; it needs only a conclusion. The other needs approximately 500 words...and much better organization. I'm going to call that class a wash. At this point I barely care. And my other class...well, that one won't be a well-done assignment, either. Such is life.
En route to work this morning, as I prayed, the familiar doubts crept into my mind. Who is God? Where is He, really? Do I REALLY believe all this stuff? Do I really want to give up my entire life for these beliefs?
I reminded myself that faith, while it is a gift, it is also an act of the will. Yes, I choose to believe, even when it's hard. Even when I "get nothing" out of it. Even when God's voice is silent, both personally and through the voices of others.
So all day, although I normally pray the different hours (some days better than others), today it remained in my bag, untouched. Finally, this evening, knowing that there is a reason these volumes were gifted into my hands, I opened it up. The feast days STILL confuse me, but 1130 was indicated so I opened to that page and began to read.
That reading quickly turned into the prayer I haven't been able to formulate today.
O Lord, listen to my prayer
and let my cry for
help reach you.
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Turn your ear towards me
and answer me quickly when I call.
For my days are vanishing like smoke,
my bones burn away like a fire.
My heart is withered like the grass.
I forget to eat my bread.
I cry with all my strength
and my skin clings to my bones.
I have become like a pelican in the wilderness,
like an owl in desolate places.
I lie awake and I moan
like some lonely bird on a roof.
All day long my foes revile me;
those who hate me use my name as a curse.
The bread I eat is ashes;
my drink is mingled with tears
In your anger, Lord, and your
fury you have lifted me up and thrown me down.
My days are like a passing shadow
and I wither away like the grass.
I'm constantly amazed at how the psalms speak so clearly in the voids where we cannot. Even if the words aren't exactly right, the tone, the sentiment, everything expressed so often fits the situation.
When I was a teen, I remember opening the Bible to the psalms, and I remember, over and over, reading this exact psalm. The situation was different, I didn't have the same understanding, but then, as today, I know that God drew me to those words...and into them. It is not so much that they express my deepest thoughts, but more, that God communicates something to us through them, and draws us to willingly reveal ourselves more honestly to Him.
God already knows our inmost being, far more than any of us ever will. And yet, here I am, as usual, running away from Him. Avoiding Him. Knowing that He knows all, He understands all, and yes, even that I believe in spite of the doubts.
Here I am, having been delving deeply into different facets of theology all day (and I'm not nearly finished), still trying to escape. But I can't. And you know...I'm tired. I'm tired of running, and of having nowhere to flee. I'm tired of seeking, not really knowing my goal. And I'm tired of watching my life pass by, day after day, not really sure why.
Today, I'm withering away like grass, and my life is a passing shadow.
Lord, let my cry come to you.