Monday, October 28, 2013

Just Shoot Me

I have learned so much in the last week that, once again, I am just about ready to pop.

Back in my 20s I went through several years where every day seemed the same. I was piddling along, feeling alone and miserable most of the time, amusing myself as I knew how, and pretty much waiting for it all to change. Occasionally I would become vaguely aware that I might just be wasting some time.

How loudly can I say duh?

I used to love to do things like scrape the paint off my woodwork or clean little detaily things in my apartment and just think and muse and wonder and wish.

And I spent a lot of time with a very macabre image: Marie going through a meat grinder.

Yeah, seriously.

I can look back and see it as a way I was crying out for God's mercy on my messed-up-edness. I would think of everything that was wrong with me or hard for me or hopeless and unconquerable, and I would mentally send myself through the meat grinder. I somehow vaguely hoped that I would come out purer. That somehow that I wanted to be purged of all those things, and some day break free.

As I came to know Christ in a new way in becoming Catholic, I stopped thinking about that just like that. I realized that God was indeed purging me. Maybe I started having enough real life struggle that I didn't have to imagine it so much any more. My cry for being purged started happening in reality.

Which isn't much fun either, but it is emotionally much healthier than constantly feeling one should be crushed.

But occasionally, over the years, I would feel a stab of deep remorse, of meeting something in myself that I desperately want changed but have no power to change. And what would slip either out of my thoughts or out of my mouth would be this weird prayer:  Lord, just shoot me.

It's that flash of shame, that flash of realizing how deeply hopeless I am apart from the Lord.

But it can also be a sense of harshness on myself, a lack of mercy, which is not right. I certainly cannot have any real mercy or understanding for any other person if I do not fully receive God's mercy for myself, and refrain from even a reflexive beating up on myself.

Sometime over the last week, when once again my soul was found raw and open, I suddenly had these words slip out of my internal prayer: Lord, just shoot me.

For a split second, I thought, oh, no Lord. I can't go back there.

But suddenly I had an image come to mind, and a Scripture:

Before birth the LORD called me,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword,
concealed me, shielded by his hand.
He made me a sharpened arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
(Isaiah 49:1-2)

And then I said it again.

Lord, just shoot me.

And the rest of what I learned this week, well, I'll have to process that another time.

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