Sunday, October 18, 2015


Saw this on Facebook a little while ago:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.

And cleaning my room, hanging up all my clothes, rearranging my closet and my dresser drawers, and cooking a decent dinner--these must fit in there somewhere. Focus? Planning? Decision-making? Something in that circular path, because that pasta dish made for dinner tonight is going to be leftovers for a couple of days, reducing anxiety and improving enjoyment.

Sigh. At least the busy-ness got me through the afternoon. I'll be able to get dressed this week without having to dig through a basket of unfolded laundry. There will be clean sheets on the bed tonight--if I  remember to put them in the dryer soon.

The topic this morning in church was healing, thanks to St. Luke, Evangelist, known also as a physician, who is commemorated on Oct. 18.

I don't like crying in church. In fact I'm pretty damn tired of it, but there it was, with every hymn, every lesson. Healing is a sore spot. I would like my son Kris to be healed of his ALS right now. I would like the trajectory of that awful disease to reverse itself—bam! and have him climb back up the slope to being his whole, moving physical self again. But this is not the way the natural world works. So what I'm left with is a religious/spiritual reframe-it distinction between cure (which won't happen) and healing.

Healed is, I guess, a spiritual state, something about no bitterness, or perfect trust in God, something that happens in the metaphorical heart, not the tissues of the body.  Or it's some acceptance of the finitude of this life and the resultant sweetness. Or lasting love. Or something greater than ourselves. Or the cross of Christ and Jesus. Or depending on God and being okay with whatever happens.

Or it's something about being strong. That's the Lutheranism, the Christianity of my youth--admiration for people with strong faith, who never waiver, or who "fight the good fight" and conquer doubt and anger. And we all want to be that person, don't we? So you put on a good face. You express anger and doubt and—did I say anger?—only where it's permitted, in privacy or in deep heartfelt talks with spiritual advisors. You're told to "have faith" or lean on the little faith you do have.

Shit. It's so much harder than that. I've bumped up against randomness, wretchedness, sulkiness enough that the grey cloud of life's meaninglessness moves always alongside me.

Today, tomorrow, this week, doing healthy stuff--sleeping, reading, knitting, walking, deciding to cut my hair or clean off the table where the junk mail ends up, even working--will probably do a lot more for me than spiritual whatever. Out walking today, I saw a beautiful sky and intensely green leaves about to turn gold. Reading in my chair yesterday I finished "Moby Dick," grim story, awesome writing. Knitting feels good in the fingers and you can measure your progress.

Concrete stuff. Incarnation.

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