Monday, May 16, 2011

my god, my god...

One night last week I couldn't sleep and decided to skip around the net to see what I could see.  I discovered the Indie Ink Writing Challenge.  "Hmm," I thought, "This looks interesting.  Participants pass around writing prompts and use the prompt they receive in a blog post that week.  That sounds like fun."  (Yes, that is how clearly I think in the middle of the night; why do you ask?)  And, as I often do at that time of day, I signed up first and read more about the challenge second.  "Oh crap.  These people don't fool around.  There's some really good stuff here."  And so I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and prayed my prompt would be something like, "Once upon a time...."  Instead, I got this from Random Girl: 

"You lost your faith.  How is life different now?"

Wow.  So much for splashing around in the shallow end!

A loss of faith would be a loss of Love more than a loss of belief for me.  Or a loss of the ability to sense that Love in any way.  Without my faith I would have an indescribable ache, a terrible longing for God.  Fear, confusion, and anger would be present at different times.  But in the midst of this dark night of the senses or the soul I would choose to believe regardless of how I felt or what I understood.  I have made that choice a number of times in the midst of depression.  That choice does not make living a life without Love, or a sense of Love, any easier, though.  Life would often be hell.  But, when I had the strength, I would pursue God as relentlessly as he pursues me.

"Woman Weeping"
Vincent Van Gogh

I've been writing notes and thinking about this for 24 hours, and I can already tell you it won't be done by the deadline Thursday evening. There is something more going on here.

In Clinging: The Experience of Prayer, Emilie Griffin writes:  "C. S. Lewis wrote of a practice...that he called festooning.   Festooning, Lewis explained, was taking a familiar prayer, such as the Lord's prayer, and elaborating it, adding one's own intentions on at various points in the prayer until this elaboration became a ritual unto itself."

I wrote and scrapped a few rough drafts before it dawned on me that a song I've been drawn to recently fits well with my evolving response to this prompt.  As I read the lyrics of this song, several related things come to me:  a book mentioned by a friend last week, a book that friend recommended to me 20 years ago, Psalm 22, The Song of Songs, the gospels, a book titled Clinging, a favorite book since childhood, and "Christmas Canon" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO).  I am in the midst of weaving all of these things together before festooning it with my own thoughts, which I'm not fully aware of yet.  And I will probably choose not to share those thoughts here.  There are some things revealed in secret that are meant to be kept secret.  But here is what I've processed to this point:

"Wuthering Heights"  Kate Bush
Out on the wiley, windy moors
we'd roll and fall in green (your love is more delightful than wine)
You had a temper, like my jealousy
too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me (I looked for him but did not find him)
When I needed to possess you? (He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.)
I hated you, I loved you too (my God, I call by day but you do not answer,)

Bad dreams in the night (I call at night but I find no respite)
They told me I was going to lose the fight (all who see me jeer at me)
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering (the Spirit blows where it pleases;)
Wuthering Heights (you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going)

Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, I've come home (my God, my God)
I'm so cold, let me in your window (do not remain aloof!)
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, I've come home (my God, my God)
I'm so cold, let me in your window (do not remain aloof!)

Oh it gets dark, it gets lonely (my God! my God!)
On the other side from you (why have you forsaken me?)
I pine a lot, I find the lot (All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves)
Falls through without you (I looked for him but did not find him)
I'm coming back love, cruel Heathcliff (before I knew it, my desire had hurled me at the chariots)
My one dream, my only master (in him I live and move and have my being)

Too long I roam in the night (all night long...I looked for the one my heart loves)
I'm coming back to his side to put it right (I shall seek my love)
I'm coming home to wuthering, wuthering (Awake, north wind,)
Wuthering Heights (and come, south wind!)

Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, I've come home
I'm so cold, let me in your window
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, I've come home
I'm so cold, let me in your window

Oh let me have it, let me grab your soul away (I held him fast, nor would I let him go)
Oh let me have it, let me grab your soul away
You know it's me, Cathy

From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice..."My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

"Three Crosses"

Jesus, why have you forsaken me?

Vincent Van Gogh:
"'The Roots' shows some tree roots on sandy ground....I tried to put sentiment into the landscape...the convulsive, passionate clinging to the earth, and yet being half torn up by the storm, I wanted to express something of the struggle for the black, gnarled and knotty roots."

Madeleine L'Engle, The Weather of the Heart:
You're supposed to do the knocking.  Why do you burst my heart?...

     Dear God
     is it too much to ask you
     to bother to be?

"We are waiting; we have not forgotten..." 
"Christmas Canon," TSO

Robert Hodgell

(How it ends):

And suddenly, the veil of the Sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, the rocks were split...(Jesus' body was taken to a tomb). Meanwhile the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus were following behind. They took note of the tomb and how the body had been laid. Then they returned...and on the Sabbath day (the next day) they rested, as the Law required.

I slept but my heart was awake...

"Three Trees"

...he has fulfilled it.


  1. Wow. This is really, really an amazing collection of thoughts around this challenge prompt. I usually submit my topic blindly when I sign up but this week I signed up late and you had already been paired with me so I spend some time on your site and just knew that you would be able to really do something amazing with the loss of faith concept. You really did. And to be honest, this was a selfish prompt because I wanted to see how someone of really strong faith would approach the loss of faith experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the process that brought you here. Wonderful!

  2. Kerri
    A difficult prompt, I would have been stumped or turned it around, because losing faith would make it hard to lift my legs some days, not every day. Thank you for sharing your personal spirituality and deep love. Very creative use of images and quotations.

  3. This was an incredibly moving and creative way to address the loss of faith. I really like the fact that you incorporated lots of different quotes and images that really conveyed what you were trying to get out there.

    Welcome to the challenge, and I hope you join us again next week. :)