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of caves and cliffs…

I’m not at Liturgy today…and I’m also not at the Presbyterian church.

This is what might be the 10th week in a row I’m absent any kind of church experience on a Sunday morning.

Some of it is that we’re back and forth to the retreat house on Sunday mornings, getting it ready for new renters to check in after the previous renters have been there on the weekend. Some it is my leading 3 retreats in a span of 3 months…some of it, though…is my feeling of being stuck.

I could get up and go on my own to Liturgy…leaving my kids at home with my husband. I’ve already talked about my insecurity with that prospect. I wish I was brave but I’m not.

I could get up and get the kids ready and take them to DPC….leaving my husband at home. I’ve already talked about my insecurity with that prospect as well. I wish I had some resolve but I don’t.

And so I’m stuck or at least it feels as though I’m stuck.

But it’s not exactly a rock and a hard place. It’s comfy in this stuck place, I recognize that. I’m not in a cave somewhere trapped under a rock, water dripping on my forehead, ticking the hours away. I’m sipping coffee at my table, I’m writing, I’m in my jammies at 10:20 in the morning while my kids read and play on the computer and argue. It’s a typical Sunday morning struggle now.  Why on earth would I want to give THAT up?

And yet I do…or at least I say that I do. Old Catholic guilt weighs heavily on me still, even after all these years, so I have to be careful to choose my motivation well.  I won’t pick up and go to DPC because of guilt. That is not the right reason to choose worship over coffee no matter what my head tells me.

Old insecurity feeds the fear of doing something new and possibly risky. I keep thinking, I need to be somewhere now, I need to be with people now, I am so very afraid of this. My social awkwardness and my social anxiety is at it’s absolute worst. I can’t remember ever feeling as afraid of people as I feel now. It’s troubling to me, even as I hope that I’m on the edge of something good while I stand on the cliff looking down at the rocks.

I wonder how much of the struggle is indulgent…perhaps it’s my attempt at an emotional torture I’ve disguised as my version of asceticism. I pine, I struggle, I deny…all in the name of spiritual enlightenment. This is the cave, these are the rocks that pin me down.  It’s still cushy and safe in the dark though, it’s not uncomfortable enough to feel as though I’m deprived of anything. It’s time to stand on the cliff…get up from under these rocks I use as blankets for my pain…

I wrote this poem a while ago…it feels prophetic for the moment…

All That Remains

If you are you

…as you are now

and I am me

…as I ought to be

and we take hold

of hands

then jump with abandon

to the stormy sea

who could say

what might happen

all that remains

is the chance to meet

the hand to take hold

the eye to connect

the wind to blow…just right

the sea to rage

the heart to calm

to engage


as the fear releases

and then

at last

the leap