Lately my mind has fallen into that misty mix of numbness and detachment. It’s an interesting place to be.
For many years I was most definitely a “deeply feeling person.”
It wasn’t uncommon for me to look at Ann and not understand how she could so calmly and quietly react to news received, whether it be good or bad.
We’ve laughed about it over the years. If I ask my family how I did on something I had just finished, and they replied, “Oh it was good”, then I just knew it had been bad.
Kind of nutty isn’t it, to only hear that something was bad when being told it was good?
Well, that’s me: the nutty professor.
But because of the medication for the bipolar, OCD, and psychoses (at least I hope it’s the mental illness medication; otherwise …), I don’t feel things as bright or as dark as before.
I think you’ll even find me telling someone else that something was “good” and really mean just that.
I know; those who know me are falling off their chair right now.
While in many ways this has been a blessing to keep me from the highs that are too high and the lows that are too low, it has made prayer a different experience.
Let me explain:
With a spinning mind combined with many people that I have felt a deep connection with as well as almost painful sympathy, my prayers in the past have been full and long and a constant flow of words.
Not so much anymore.
It’s kind of like how my relationship with Ann has morphed into the incredible oneness we now share.
It is not uncommon for us to ride in the car for more than an hour, holding hands, looking out the windows and listening to the music, without a word being said.
But we are completely together, each waiting patiently and ready to listen should the other have something to say or share.
It is a complete acceptance of the other for exactly who we currently are.
It’s a deep trust that we will each figure out what we need to figure out for the next step in our progression in the right time and the right way, enabling us to personally own our decision and choices.
And it’s also a demonstration that words are only one of the many ways we communicate with each other.
So, as in many cases, I look to what I have learned with Ann to help me see more clearly how my prayers have become different.
For some reason, kneeling down at my bedside seems to turn off the words and I only feel to, well, just feel.
I close my eyes, and call out His name, but the long rattle from the past just isn’t there anymore.
In fact, I find that I communicate best now while moving around. You may find me talking to myself while mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom. Never fear, I’m not escaping with my imaginary friends.
I’m finding refuge with my very, very real Friend. I testify to you that God is real. He is very, very real.
In these cases I’ll talk a bit, and think a bit, and then just quietly continue on listening and feeling, trying to clear my thoughts and separate out distinct shades from all the mixed swirls of color.
And it comes; those moments of bright, sharp and brilliant simple color make my whole soul breathe in deeply and whisper a sincere prayer of gratitude.
The other day while scrubbing the bathtub I just stopped talking; I didn’t have anything more in me to say. It had all been said, again and again and again.
But I needed to still be in prayer.
So without realizing it, I simply asked if I could just leave the line open for a while as I puttered through my list of chores.
You know what? I discovered that it was okay.
During the tough days I may not have much to say. It’s really hard to put words to the numbness and detachment.
But I still need a hand to hold.
By leaving the line open, I can look out the window, and listen to the music, and know that when a moment of clarity comes, He is there, patiently waiting to hear what I may have to share.
And then respond.
There may still be more to be communicated.
After all, isn’t prayer really about feeling?
That’s what it has come to be for me anyway.
I like the difference.