I am finding myself in a strange place tonight. An odd brew of emotions. I have been walking in joy for so long, and last night was such an amazing experience. The culmination of so much, coming for so long. I slept the best sleep I have had in a very long time and woke in such a peaceful place. The meditation on the Henri Nouwen website this morning spoke to me powerfully: Some people say: "Although some people have unique experiences of God's presence and, therefore have unique missions to announce God's presence to the world, all of us - whether learned or uneducated, rich or poor, visible or hidden - can receive the grace of seeing God in the fullness of time. This mystical experience, is not reserved for a few exceptional people. God wants to offer that gift in one way or another to all God's children." What struck me was the connection between experiencing God in what he referred to as mystical experiences and the responsibility for mission. Somehow this had never been quite so clear as it was today.
By noon though, I was crashing. Exhaustion was the first thing that hit. I decided I simply could not be present in any meaningful way at work, so I went home, hoping maybe I could nap or do some of the house sprucing that needs to get done for our church dinner party tomorrow night. Listlessness precluded either of those things. I blog hopped, did some desultory TV watching, wrapped a present or two, and finally, when the work hours had passed, went out and ran errands. The evening found me back at church dropping off some things. Finally, in the dark on the same altar where we so joyously celebrated so few hours ago I found myself crying in the dark. I felt a kind of loss, emptiness, bereftness...that sort of stunned me. I found myself wishing that I could be in the presence of a truly incarnated Jesus...that is enfleshed NOW...not one that was once so long ago...not one coming in our hearts again and and again...in song and story and symbol but here in the physical realm.
I have no idea where this is all arising from. I can't really get a handle on it...it's a complex mix....exhaustion I'm sure. I have not been sleeping well this week...largely from just too much joy and fizz! It may also be a little bit of post-excitement let-down. This thing, coming so long is done. And even though my rational adult self knows that done is simply begun on a new level, some primitive part of me feels bereft. And a lot has been let go of....there is some...vacancy I guess, some loss, even loss of that which is not good for us is still loss. And Dear One pointed out something interesting...that, historically, I do not allow myself to enjoy my "highs" for very long. Hmmmm. From Dear One's perspective at least, in the past I have tended to cut myself off prematurely from my "radiant" moments, and I may be doing it again.
I have even entertained the notion that it may be the presence of evil sneaking up on me...I'm not always so sure where I stand on the embodiment of evil, but it did occur to me as I sat in the dark church between tear storms, to wonder of this might be possible.
I am calmer now than when I sat in the dark church. My plan is to go to sleep very soon , to get up early and write a sermon for Advent 4. Then I'll prepare to entertain my Dinner Bunch and find my joy again. I know it is there. It is real, solid and certain and it has not gone far...this is just a little momentary departure. Regular programming will resume soon. I remain hopeful.