It happens to me occasionally. Sometimes it affects me less or worse depending upon certain variables. In its lesser form I generally plough right through it. When it comes on in full blown form, set off by certain triggers, it’s another ugly scenario altogether. More often than not I spin a cocoon around myself and disappear for a while.
It’s been quite a number of years since I last made it through the Christmas Season without the full blown form rearing its ugly head. I relate very well to the multitudes that experience a lot of emotional pain during the holidays. This past season’s full blown form was exacerbated by several close family crises that were themselves well beyond difficult to handle.
One of the things that Benedict teaches me is that I am not, nor will I be, perfect in this life. Perfection is a process that is ever ongoing. It is a process that plays out heavily on the experience of life as it happens to us rather than on how well we play life to our benefit.
Life is not always pretty. Life is not always fair. Bad disastrous things happen to good people and the tragedy of the unfairness, like lightning striking a roof, burns holes clean through into in our heart and soul. It penetrates to our core leaving a gaping wound.
I think it was Charles Swindoll who wrote the book entitled Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back. The title makes it sound like we are regressing if we back up. Sometimes it’s not a matter of backing up. Sometimes it’s more a matter of stopping long enough to just breathe and be. Sometimes we need to take time to rethink, rediscover, and redirect.
A couple weeks ago I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck in the middle of the woods. I was all alone on a solo hunting trip experiencing the solitude of the woods. When I finished eating lunch, and was listening to the wind whistling in the pines, I opened a New Testament and read Psalm 8. It was one of those Providential things. Tears filled my eyes and I gave thanks. God came and visited my cocoon.