An Admission.

Gentle Reader,

I try to keep my posts here informative, uplifting, and focused on sharing with you the goodness of a spiritual life. It is, however, not all sunshine and roses. As a person with a disability, it is sometimes very difficult for me to find something positive about my situation. I have times where I find it very easy to write happy, hopeful things. More often, however, I am wrestling with depression severely distorting my perspective on the world.

I am not going to tell you that prayer and spirituality is going to cure you of your ills. They have not cured mine. The instances of people being cured by way of prayer and miracles like what is written in the Christian Bible are relatively rare. Prayer and spirituality, however, can help you to endure the struggles and hardships that you face in life.

On my darkest days, when I am so depressed that I can’t stop thinking about ending my existence, I pray. It is not the loquacious elegant prayers of adoration and delight. It is not the prayers of gratitude. No, my prayer is simply for the strength to resist the temptations that my illness place before me. My prayers are for the pain and other symptoms to stop.

While much has been written about the power of keeping a grateful heart, it is not necessary to pray. When you are as low as you can possibly go, it is all but impossible to be grateful. Your view of life is heavily obscured by the waves of despair and apathy that assail you. You may have physical difficulties adding to the mental difficulties that you face in that place of darkness. Those make it even harder to be grateful and optimistic.

It does not matter what words you use, if any. Reaching out to the Divine is a powerful act of hope. Even when you feel that the Divine does not regard your cries, persist in your prayer. Your prayer may be asking the Divine to lift you out of your troubles. Your prayer might be weeping to the Divine about what you are suffering. These are perfectly valid prayers to make.

The Divine does not want us only on our good days. The Divine does not want us too turn to it/them when we want things alone. The Divine wants to be a part of our lives. This means opening our hearts to allow the Divine to perceive us in all our wounded, dirty, broken state. Today, I pray from a place somewhere between normal and depressed. I would call it an average day for me.

I spend more time depressed then much else. It hinders many, many things in my life. I do not allow it to stop me from reaching out to the Divine. It is my sincere belief that people who have some faith in the Divine have need that is the greatest during times of struggle. That connection between one who prays and one who hears those prayers is sometimes the only one that we feel safe enough to truly express what is in our hearts.

If I have learned anything over the last several years since I had become disabled, it is that it is only by expressing the fullness of what we feel and what we are thinking that we can begin the process of healing. Some say that confession is good for the soul. I would agree if one takes a more liberal view of confession. Make it more then an admission of errors. Make your confession a full accounting of where you stand at this moment.

Then start again with a clean slate. You do not need a ritual of absolution. Such things are for humanity’s good but they are not vital. It is, however, positively vital that you make an honest attempt to be compassionate towards yourself and others after you give your accounting. Because compassion is a balm that heals many wounds of the spirit. It is vital that you do your best to embody what the Divine is to you, because this will also help lift you out of the depths of despair. It is a situation that you are ‘faking it until you make it’.

Because at some point, you will transition from acting as though you are a confident and healthy person to being that confident and healthy person. Prayer is one way to walk through that process.

Originally Published: 7/8/14
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