if ever there was a night for doubt

The Plough is above the house tonight,
the most persistant ? hanging high in the night sky.
The question mark just hangs there prodding and poking me with doubts.

Is there nothing but a cold, dark expanse that we live into and try to make the best of and struggle through
or is there more to it,
is there really a maker and creator,
a redeemer and some big story that creation lives into and for?

Then I come back in because I feel scared.
I feel small and alone in the cosmos and if there is no God and no redemption, if we’re just randomly assembled chemical reactions then despair descends into my body and hangs me low.
Some claim that thought   spurs them to make the most of every minute and find comfort in the dark matter, but it scares the shit out of me. When I became a Christian as a teenager it felt like I came because I was scared of going to hell. Now at the age of 34 it sometimes feels like I’m a Christian because I’m scared shitless of what it means if there is no God.
And even though those stars in The Plough are light years away in a cold cosmos they seem closer  and more real than God, Jesus or The Holy Spirit are presently. They stars of The Plough might be distance but they seem real and weighty whereas God seems like ether and mist that floats around the head.
Except I know that when tragedy strikes  I’ll be crying out to God for help because I need to believe in miracles and hope, that there is more to life than death and chaos, that pain has meaning and that I won’t always feel so broken and hopeless.
So this night is a lonely night, but if ever there is a night to be lonely and doubt, to feel scared and alone it is tonight.
Tearing pictures out of an old Vincent van Gogh diary I noticed The Plough in one night scene and it made me feel not alone, there an understanding that we looked into the same night sky and saw the same thing.
And now that I think about it,with the full moon beaming through the living room window did Jesus look up at The Plough in Gethsemane, lonely in a way that is beyond understanding but at the same time in way we can understand?
For although I often have my frustrations and doubts, although I can’t make sense of great Biblical truths that theologians can make sense of I can make sense of a man lonely and doubting, alone and afraid and feeling let down by his friends. And the truth(which I believe) that this man is also God just about keeps me hanging in there despite the doubts and lack of faith.


a prayer for the mid-week break

I’m in Mayo, on the beach at Keel, Achill Island with the curlew. The sky is blue  but soon the rain clouds will roll in.
I’m blue – but it’s nice to have a break from here.  I want this to be a nice break for us, to feel a tiny bit restored when we return. We’re both weary and tired, a bit fed up sometimes but I want this to be a nice break in Mayo for a couple of days.  We’re both a tiny bit blue.

failing to put down roots.

I had one of those days that you reflect on and think yourself to be a loser or just not very capable at life.

It reached it’s zenith this afternoon in a failed attempt to make butterscotch for the church fair (or fayre as current spelling seems to dictate) with my new electronic thermometer which of course had run out of battery. Then the failed cakes for said fayre and the icing on the cake, a call from Talk Talk when I had briefly hoped it to be someone ringing to say I had a job interview for a job I would really have liked to do and had spent Sunday night filling in a job application for.

Then there are the many personal failures that would be unwise to put up on public display. Added together and more they seem to be pointing out that I’m a failure.

Anyway, it does seem a bit unhealthy an indicative of our modern age that I’m saying this stuff on an internet page instead of talking/praying it over with friends or family,(or church) but this is all I have at the moment.
I feel so discouraged, isolated and lonely at the moment and for a number of years. There you go, I’ve said it.
I’ve never really put down roots in this new soil up here in Lisburn, and like a seedling that doesn’t like being transplanted from where it was sown I have too have struggled with being transplanted from the south. I miss the soil of the south, the culture and even the light.  Walking along the canal at 1.00pm it just felt so dark and gloomy, a Mordor sort of dark and gloomy. I never remember the darkness being so dark in Dublin  and Dun Laoghaire.

The darkness has literally been eating away at my soul, I hate it and want the light. I want a place to put down permanent roots, somewhere with water and light. Few plants grow well in the shade, I don’t grow well in the shade either. And it must have healthy soil. Lord, is that too much to ask? I have the fear that you’re always going to ask me to do things beyond my capabilities and strength. This place you’ve planted me has been beyond my capabilities.  I’ve tried my best to flourish and grow, but I’m sickly and want to go home. I’m sick of the exile and sick of reflecting that exile on to other people.

There you go. I just want to put down roots.