Dear God! I must say I have not been entirely well. I have been so far out of my normal routine and therefore "out of my comfort zone" (which, under the best of circumstances is about 5'5" tall and three feet wide) that I'm not sure what's going on.
You may or may not have caught my recent piece in The Fix: Under-earners Unite! That describes/explains at least some of my current upheaval, and it is all around something with which we are all semi-obsessed, but hardly ever actually talk about: money.
What I'm seeing is most of us so do not want to be horrible consumers and greed-infected Wall Streeters that we can go to another, in its way equally unhealthy, extreme. We can take Christ's message that "as ye do unto the least of these, so ye do unto me" to mean that we should choose our own martrydom and insist upon being one of "the least of these"--in the wrong way--ourselves. We all bring massive childhood baggage about money, holiness, success, fear, loyalty to our families of origin with us into adulthood. And we have very little guidance--not from our families, not from our schools, definitely not from our culture--as to how to manage money, earn money, think about money, relate to money. Thus many of us--okay, I--have shame around money, secrecy around money, a love-hate conflict with money, and an almost neurotic fear when it comes to money: of having too little; of having too much.
I could have gone along in my living-on-1500-dollars-a-month, no-health-insurance, no-vacations, no-separate-accounts-for-personal-and business way indefinitely, but reality jarred something loose and so, way WAY against my better judgment, will, and personal desire, I'm devoting a lot of energy and time to seeking help in this area.
It's going to be a long--in fact, life-long--haul. All my ideas about my spirituality, my progress, God's will for me are being upended. I feel very lost. I feel afraid I won't be able to write anymore because no matter which way I have tried, the truth is I have not been making a living wage from my writing (I live mostly off a "nest egg" I saved up from lawyering that in some sense has become my Higher Power). I see my resistance to change--I'm like the paralytic by the pool whining, "Nobody will take me in!" with Christ at my side patiently asking, "Yes, but do you really want to go in? Do you really want to leave your mat?"...
On top of it, my pore mother is fading. I was so grateful to spend last week with her, but there were of course many emotions as well, and leaving her was wrenching.
This morning I was cleaning my desk and I came across a little card a friend sent me years ago. It's a quote from Dorothy Day: "I always had a sense of being followed, of being desired, a sense of hope and expectation." I thought, Well I haven't. I've had a sense of abandonment and failure and pulsating, electric fear. I threw the card in the wastebasket and started crying.
And then I went to Mass.
|DETAIL, ISENHEIM ALTARPIECE|
MATTHIAS GRÜNEWALD, 1506-1515