And with a heavy heart…

I hate that phrase and phrases like it. As if our emotions bear weight on us, tear at us physically. I have always struggled with that notion, finding it especially amidst writing that waxes poetic. I muscle with it, trying to discern how we could ever emote in units of measurement I am light and happy, our hearts are heavy, I feel a thousand pounds lighter, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders… until I remember depression, how my body just didn’t move, couldn’t move. How everything screamed with a dull ache, from behind my eyes to the soles of my feet and light, porous precious light, made the marrow in my bones turn to lead.

I’ve been feeling an unexpected heaviness, a pain crouched in the caverns of that place I might call a soul crying to be undone, let free, unchained. It isn’t depression because as much as I want to stay in bed, there is a flicker of something still there. The flint and steel still spark, I still walk, heavily as it may be, to the bathroom and manage a semblance of a morning routine.

I feel like I’m screaming sometimes but forget to open my mouth, so the scream takes up residence somewhere in my throat, makes a little camp and cooks dinner until I’m ready to un-clamp my jaw. So instead of screaming, I’ve been listening lately to the world around me. This is a city that alternately strolls and struggles to get by. So when I often see or hear someone genuinely aching with the monotony of the every day, or even just participating in the clamor to get heard, or eating a tuna salad at 10am, I often concoct stories for their lives. As someone who loves stories, who imagines God as an author crouched over their giant presumptuous mahogany desk and scribbling in the third person omniscient, I can’t help myself. Today a guy my age in a ratty t-shirt and jeans, his chin length hair half pulled up in a pony-tail, strolled past me with a bible under his arm dropping a couple of really good f-bombs. So often I am surprised that Christians (assuming he was one) look like my friends, seem like someone I would easily strike up a conversation with. I admit that I pigeon-hole Christians into a stereotype and so I am genuinely excited when someone breaks down that barrier.

I imagined him a bit like me. A bit of a struggler bordering on social outcast in his faith community who has faith in the corners of their heart but wonders why we don’t ask more basic questions? Why are we why are we so afraid to admit that somedays we wake up wondering if God really exists? Are we so terrified of being shredded by those questions that we just pretend they aren’t there? Can this shadow of doubt be wiped away by ignoring it?

Last night on cue I woke up a few hours into sleep convinced that I was fooling myself into believing in God. Why can’t I just believe in goodness and mercy and love? Do I need this God personthing? Every day I spend at least five minutes trying to figure out why I am here. Every day I look at the people around me and just don’t get it. Most days I yearn for college, I yearn for the formative years in which it is supposedly acceptable to ask those questions.

I am not by nature a confident person. I no longer think that I am scum between the toes of Christianity, but my confidence is sometimes easily shaken by stupid things. Today it’s that I don’t understand a good 15 or so pages of this ethics book and worry that I am too abrasive. Tomorrow it will be something else. But I do have confidence that I am not doing this because my friends are here or because it made the most sense. I don’t what this other thing is, but as wrong and as distant as I feel from the social status quo, there is something right.

God is something somewhere. Maybe I should have a better grasp on this by my second year of Seminary. Maybe I should just be grateful that Hebrew makes sense right at this moment. Maybe I should just let it go. Maybe this heaviness is the kind of heaviness that doesn’t weigh on the souls of my feet but drags them in some direction. Maybe I need a way to stop dreaming about bedbugs so I won’t wake up at odd hours and regularly question God. Maybe I just need to pray whatever that means.

Either way, I have this thing. I still don’t know why I am writing or if anybody will ever read it. But I’m starting by putting out some words.

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