“Faith is not for dealing with God’s grandeur – the sunset, the candle flame – the child’s face … Faith is rather for the hours of God’s absence, when we are most alone, betrayed, in pain, afraid.”- Thomas Lynch, “Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans”.
Can you feel nostalgia for a faith that you haven’t truly felt for over 40 years? Can the God of childhood tug at you still, when that singular, often seemingly distant and bad-tempered God singular has been replaced by the distant, even more remote gods plural of Nature?
As I write this, consider my words, I’m listening to Simon and Garfunckle’s 1981 Concert in Central Park. Paul and Artie just sang:
“… Michigan seems like a dream to me now …”
This is not a line I expected to resonate with me, when I was growing up in a Downriver suburb of Detroit, all those years ago.
I tried writing another blog, a few days ago, about the things on my desk, only to catch sight of this photo:
…. and promptly burst into tears.
Does grief, like our childhood faith, never really leave us? Are there things in our lives which, no matter how much we believe – or unbelieve – we are better off accepting? Taken as permanent givens in our aging – sometimes, raging – lives?
When I started working in mental health, I thought the best, the most useful thing, I could bring to my job was my experience of being bipolar. Of having been in and out of mental services for five – now coming up to over 10 – years. Of having been miserable, and bored, in so called psychiatric “care” three – now, four – times.
Of knowing what it’s like to experience what Tom Lynch calls “the hours of God’s absence“: often, but by no means always, those dreadful hours of around 2 to five in the morning.
I started this blog with a desire to talk to you, and myself, about my desire for “peace like a river”. The older I get, the more I crave what the churches and preachers of my childhood called “reconciliation”. Whilst they were concerned with the reconciling of God and (wo)Man, I would be more than happy to see more reconciling of human and human; mankind, and Nature.