Friday, February 29, 2008

i am annoyed

Today I was compelled to stand up in meeting for worship and say:

I am annoyed at God.
I have been studying the Psalms and I know from this work that God is open and available to the full spectrum of human emotion.
And churches don't often share the angry psalms, the verses that say, where the heck are you, God.
And I am annoyed at God.
On Friday, I was joyous and content. I felt close to God, sheltered, covered.
I couldn't stay with those feelings.
Now anxiety hovers so close to the surface.
I am afraid that I will fall back into depression.
I will not -- I cannot go back there.
What I want from God is a guarantee that I will not be depressed ever again.
God will not give me a guarantee.
In the past when I have stood up in meeting it has been to express gratitude.
I have meant it every time.
And I guess I am grateful for yet another opportunity for growth, to learn again what it means to be part of a loving community, what happens when I ask for help instead of hiding.
I used to think it was up to me, whether I let God into my life...or not.
That I could control this process somehow. Like God wasn't going to do what God wants to do.

And then I ended with something about Grace. This transcript is only an approximation. I wish I could remember it more clearly.

What I know is that I shook before I spoke, and that my chest was tight, and I was short of breath. What I know is that after I spoke, I could breathe, and I felt lighter.

Throughout the day, different folks came up and thanked me for my message. That was great, but what I couldn't get over was how different my chest felt after I spoke. And when folks came up to me immediately after the meeting, with loving concern, I was like, no -- really -- I feel ok.

Now the great ending to this story would involve throwing out my anxiety meds, or something like that. The truth is, there is still a lot of anxiety hovering below the surface. It doesn't take much for me to feel my breath shortening or to feel shaky and disoriented. But rather than getting caught up in "this will never go away," I'm trying to adapt. Get sleep. Eat healthy. And allow more time than I usually need in order to get things done, because I can't afford to rush--I feel too bad.

And I'm also trying to see anxiety as a time of being particularly attuned to what is going on around me. God knows (you do know, don't you?) that I don't want to live like this, but I can gather some interesting information...

Saw Anne Lamott this evening at the Free Library in Philadelphia. She was hilarious, wise, compassionate, kind. And hilarious. She said some things that were hard for me to hear because they were so true. About relationships, and saying no, and boundaries when caring for others, and how we are drawn away from our birthright as children of God by being consumed by a fear of being judged by our outsides. I'm so not getting this right, what she said was amazing and I really hope the talk will be on-line some where so I can listen to it again soon.


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