I am back at work, I spent yesterday looking at my somewhat empty diary, and then sorting out some emails, and setting priorities, I am not back full time, I think that would be too much at the moment, but on a phased return. , and if I am honest I am feeling somewhat wobbly. My confidence has taken quite a knock over the last couple of years, and maybe more particularly over the last four months. I have questioned myself and my vocation, I have even questioned the substance of my faith. Maybe there are, or even should be times when we all need to ask ourselves what we believe, and we all experience changes and challenges to our faith!
I was signed off from work with stress related depression, I have not been shy in sharing that, I am not ashamed of it, nor do I believe it is something we shouldn’t talk about, being back at work does not mean that I am no longer depressed, nor that I have stopped taking meditation. I am still depressed, but it is not overwhelmingly debilitating, I am getting up and functioning, and am probably better now doing something, rather than doing nothing.
That said, as I write this I know that I am wobbly, I was called this morning by the worship contact of the church I am preaching at on Sunday, as I put the phone down the first thing I asked myself, was, goodness can I preach? Can I deal with leading an entire service, will I be okay? Previous experience has taught me that it is a little like riding a bike, I may not have ridden one for years, but I haven’t forgotten how, and anyway, through prayer, and through faith, and leaning on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit come into it all, this of course is not about me.
This of course is where faith comes in, it is something deeper than mere belief, but the living out of a relationship with God. In his devotional today Richard Rohr says:
On one level, soul, consciousness, love, and the Holy Spirit can all be thought of as one and the same. Each of these point to something that is larger than the self, shared with God, and even eternal. That’s what Jesus means when he speaks of “giving” us the Spirit or sharing his consciousness with us. One whose soul is thus awakened actually has “the mind of Christ” (see 1 Corinthians 2:10–16). That does not mean the person is psychologically or morally perfect, but such a transformed person does see things in a much more expanded and compassionate way. St. Paul calls it “a spiritual revolution of the mind” (Ephesians 4:23, Jerusalem Bible)—and it is!
A spiritual revolution of the mind, I like that, the ability to step away from what Rohr calls “stinking thinking”, the voices inside my head that tell me I am a failure and a mess and incapable etc, etc, believe me the list goes on! I need a spiritual revolution of my mind, and I cannot make that happen myself, in order to go there I need to rely upon someone who is immensely more than I am in every way, and yet who by some miracle of grace and mystery dwells within me. That someone is the Holy Spirit, the advocate Jesus speaks of, the one who is for me when I am against me! Rohr calls this Spirit and Immensity:
You must contact this Immensity! You must look back at what seems like your life from the place of this Immensity. You must know that this Immensity is already within you. The only thing separating you from such Immensity is your unwillingness to trust such an utterly free grace, such a completely unmerited gift.
Of course we are not talking about alien contact here, but rather an openness to all of the possibilities of God, allowing the divine life to flow to and through me. So I am wobbly, but I am held by one who is far greater than I, and for that I am thankful.
Out of my depth- chalk pastel image, mine.