vocation?

What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.

1 August 1835

I have been thinking a lot about vocation. Do I have one? And if so, what is it? Is it from me or from God? What if I tell people and they laugh?

This morning I thought about one of the earliest pieces that people normally read when they start with Kierkegaard – the journal entry for 1 August 1835. And, in particular, it is the end, “and die”. Is the vocation something I am willing to die for? Or, to put it another way, am I willing to live it for the rest of my life? No matter what the cost. If so, whether the church says it is a vocation, or other people, because less relevant. Yes, God speaks through others! But am I dedicated enough to stick it out to the very end even under opposition.

And then I thought about a quote from a book I have been reading (which I think I have shared before):

And it is in this sense that it has been rightly said that monasticism is a kind of substitute for mar­tyrdom.

I am not sure what a “substitute” means in this context. And I know that various forms of monasticism have sometimes been called “white martyrdom”. So putting it all together I am still as clueless as always!!!

So …

I have renewed my blog for another year. In a year, I have no idea where I will be – emotionally, spiritually, or physically – but I am taking a “leap into faith”. I have a very strong sense of what God wants from me but since we are in lockdown I have not had the opportunity to talk to people about it. Life needs to unfold and I simply need to be patient and wait.

Kierkegaard tattoo

So I wanted to share this picture:

For my birthday I got a tattoo. Something I never thought I would do. But I am so happy with the whole experience that I am thinking about what to get for the other arm. Sorry, a bathroom selfie is not very aesthetic.

Today I am getting my first dose of the Covid vaccine. And, in an ironic twist, I am a little worried that it will hurt. So pray for me!

faith and doubt

The opposite of faith is not doubt because the opposite of doubt is knowledge. And faith is not a type of knowledge. The opposite of faith is sin – a refusal to believe.

manage people

… because everyone is drawn almost irresistibly back towards this urge to manage.

Rowan Williams. Silence and Honey Cakes, 26.

I have been reading Silence and Honey Cakes – a book by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on desert spirituality. It was recommended to me by a lecture in history at a Catholic theological institute.

The above – “this urge to manage” – is a very strong image for me in the first chapter. The withdrawal into the desert is not a withdrawal from a sinful world but an opening of my own sinfulness. And at the core of this is my need to manage people. To set limits on other people’s access to God and to always place myself between God and people. To make myself the spiritual guru, the person with the answers, the person who has it all worked out. To place myself above the other is not an act of love but hubris.

But that is nothing but my sinfulness. And in silence, I hear that most clearly. The desert is not a place but part of my heart that I need to listen to intently. Only when I know what it means to be broken can I really appreciate what it means to be whole – or holy!

Come, Holy Spirit!

[Verse 1: Gabrielle Jones]
Come, Holy Spirit, come
With energy divine
And on this poor, benighted soul
With beams of mercy shine

[Verse 2: Gabrielle Jones with Wilder Adkins]
Melt, melt this frozen heart
This stubborn will subdue
Each evil passion overcome
And form me all anew

[Verse 3: Gabrielle Jones with Wilder Adkins]
Mine will the profit be
But Thine shall be the praise
And unto Thee will I devote
The remnant of my days
And unto Thee will I devote
The remnant of my days

time?!

I have been thinking about how I use my time. I need more downtime without social media. Information overload!

So today I looked at the Screen Time app. I think that could be the answer. So I am going to start setting limits. And be more aware of what information I allow.

Three Wives, One Husband

Lockdown means more TV watching. So I have been watching Three Wives, One Husband :

Filmmakers gain access to the community of Rockland Ranch in the middle of the Utah desert where 14 polygamous Mormon families have created unique homes for themselves carved out of a rock-face.

There is a common theme in some “cults” (I am not saying this is a cult): individuality gives way to the community. For the greater good (however, that is defined) individuals stop being individuals and become a cog in the machine. The individual’s task is to be a step for another to reach a “higher level of holiness”.

Anyway, I am enjoying the series!

catastrophizing

I wanted to share that one of the things I really struggle with is catastrophizing. I know it is a learned response for me and it gets worse with the cycle of my depression. But it is incredibly hard to fight (for me) and it can be very overpowering.

As an aside, I think I have drifted to theologies that agree with my catastophizing – “the end is near” type ideas. I have been attracted by the holy elect type of thinking. But, in reality, it only leads to ghetto-type thinking and “us and then” actions.

So today I am struggling with seeing the light in the midst of the darkness I have created. And I am sure that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train!