What lifts your spirits when you are tired, confused or angry and depressed?
Whether it is the changing of seasons, the long period of COVID-19 taking it toll, pressure from the trustees role, or just age, I don’t know, but I found myself feeling all of those things this week. I have been tired, and not just because of hours spent on the allotment. Perhaps irregular patterns of sleep may be the cause. My confusion is I think because I seem to switch from being content to worried, weary and wanting escape to then being excited and hopeful. I am angry with many of the developments around the world, political (both in England and the USA), economic (resistance to climate emergency necessary changes), and social (the continuing and worsening inequalities in society). And I am angry with myself for not doing more to change the world for the better.
On Sunday I found myself meditating on the words from the Quaker collection of ‘Advices & Queries’, Come regularly to meeting for worship even when you are angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold. In the silence ask for and accept the prayerful support of others joined with you in worship. Try to find a spiritual wholeness which encompasses suffering as well as thankfulness and joy. Prayer, springing from a deep place in the heart, may bring healing and unity as nothing else can. Let meeting for worship nourish your whole life.
This is one of the few Advices & Queries that I don’t feel the need to change. I can live with the language of ‘prayer’ though it is not a word I use very much these days. But the idea that we need to keep up a ‘spiritual’ discipline when angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold’, seemed to strike a chord.
The Meeting proved to be lively, with unexpected visitors and several spoken contributions. Afterwards there were long conversations and a sense that it is important that we are in this together.
The best inspiration came from watching the many butterflies dancing around the buddleia on the allotment. Little whites floated by themselves or did a tango with another or made threesomes with ever changing partners. I must have seen dozens in the course of one afternoon. And the whole summer has been full of all kinds of butterflies.
It may be irrational that I felt happy, especially in the light of my previous blog about lilies of the field and birds of the air, but the butterflies lifted my spirits.