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a passionate repentance

Misery, Moaning, Mortification and..Me

Misery, Moaning, Mortification and..Me

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may God stand
I got asked a bit ago why I spent all that bloody money if I wasn't going to post in this thing.

The truth is, it's more fun to read than to post. And I don't usually, unless something's bothering me. Something that I can't work out any other way.

Ignore for a moment, if you will, the essential vanity of writing out your private thoughts for an audience of at least..what..five? Pretend for just a moment that what I say is just what it is, without all the seamy little underpinnings of selfishness and fear.

I have wanted for some time now, to be part of a particular faith. I've studied (though not as thoroughly as I could) and prayed but that's not what really bothers me. Because belonging to a faith isn't a sort of gymkhana, where you win the cup if you complete all the jumps without knocking any part of them over.

It isn't as if what's being asked is very hard. It's wholly self-imposed, no one's told me to do this, and the guidelines I've read are reasonable and sane. Simple fasting. No meat, no margerine, no oil, and no sugar or caffeine. Eating not to saiety but to survive. Sensible and even gentle, really. There are a LOT of vegetables and fruit in the world and I am not starving by any stretch of the imagination. Monday Wednesday and Friday. Three days out of seven. Like I said. Gentle stuff.

But I cannot seem to do it. I always end up 'forgetting'. Eating something I shouldn't. It's not that I need the food. It's not as if I'm not willing to do it, in fact I find that I have to remind myself that it's not the day for fasting, on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. This is pure and unmixed willfulness.

How can someone possibly subdue their passions if they cannot even fast in a reasonable manner? I am dismayed, that for all my wanting, all I really do seem to be wanting to do is read, and daydream about being 'spiritual'. And that's not what it's about. I want to make this a sacrifice. A complete release of all this individualism I've carried around like a baby that's never going to be born.

It doesn't help that I've been a completely miserable bitch to all and sundry. I've gotten my hand slapped, and it was well deserved. Both times. So now..I have to figure out how to turn this around. And defeat this stubborn conviction that I know better how to run my life than God does.

I heard somewhere that the spiritual life was all about falling and getting up. What sort of life is it where you fall and then just fall farther?
  • First of all ~hugs~

    Secondly, unless I've been getting some overwhelmingly preferential treatment, I have to disagree with the statement that you've been 'a completely miserable bitch to all and sundry'.

    Not knowing the details of the faith-path you've chosen, and not wishing to pluck you from that path at all, I'd just like to say that, from experience, feeling entirely unworthy does not make travelling easy, so if I may I'll email you, and tell you why I think you're a wonderful person. :)
    • If anyone deserved overwhelmingly preferential treatment it's you.
      Unfortunately I've not been particularly nice to anyone.
      Sometimes I just feel miserable, and determined to share that misery.

      I thank you for that wish, it means a lot to me.

      Feeling unworthy is hard because I really *don't* want to make a drama of it. This isn't wearing a hair-shirt for the effect. Or even because hair shirts are in this year. I don't like them. They make me itch. And frankly I'd much rather do without them. Unfortunately knowing that I can see what I need to do doesn't seem to close the distance between knowing and doing very well. And that's the problem. Because there's a part of me that doesn't want to do any of this. It likes being lazy.
      • Fasting, the way I understand it, isn't a hair shirt - unless I'm misunderstanding you, that isn't the main issue, but a symptom of your preparing to fail (as you have done in the past?)

        Unworthiness? Personally, I find it difficult to move at all when I am feeling entirely unworthy. Unless you have someone pushing behind or towing in front, that car is never going to move without a little juice. Be humble, but be aware. You are appreciated. You are remembered. You are loved. You can do this.

        And you are currently reading a comment from one of the laziest people I know.
  • Oh, honey, you haven't been bitchy to me at all either.

    To fast three days out of seven, as the beginning of the new regimen, seems rather like immediately running a 5 mile race when you've always just ambled from car to couch -- you aren't a failure, you've just taken on more than you are able to do yet.

    Metaphor alert: Religion is like martial arts, not firearms. Any idiot can pick up a gun and shoot it, and if they're at point blank range, they can hit something. With martial arts, you have to start at the beginning, and practice, and improve your skills. No quick fixes.
    • That is exceptionally good advice. I know that right now, I'm dancing without music--reading books and asking questions before I try and find a community to belong to. It tends to make hard things even harder because there's no one to talk to. However right now this is what I have, so I'm going with it. I think I will file down what I expect, and then add to it as time goes by. Thank you.
  • I find it very hard to believe that you could ever be bitchy to anyone. Perhaps what you need is a gentle reminder of what day it is...something subtle but hard to ignore. Like tying a small piece of yarn to your finger on the days you need to fast. If you really want to do this, all you need to do is get into the habit.
    • I think that's a good idea. I think I would have very fluffy and colorful fingers and toes. And ears. And hair, and arms and legs. I have a lot to remember.

      Maybe the Abominable Snowman is just a very forgetful man who's lost his way?
  • Oh, please, ladies. Everyone is capable of being a bitch if they put on the strap-on the wrong way, and so can koinonia. I've been on the wrong end of her a time or two, and I've given piss in turn. The point is, Jade, dear, we love you anyway, and as many issues as I have with God and the way He runs things around here, I doubt He's sending you to Hell for enjoying "that thar Tic-Tac".

    Clearly this religious fasting means a great deal to you, so blowing it off is not an option. Can you find a like-minded friend with whom to fast together? Or really, if three days is too much initially, cut back to two or one until you get your feet under you. There is no shame in admitting you took too big a bite the first time around. The shame comes when you choose to choke on it rather than fix it.
    • Good advice, as I said in IM. And I'm taking it. Thank you for speaking clearly and kindly. I value your insight, I really do.
  • Jade, you have never been b----y to me either, so don't be down on yourself. That is a very bad habit I do to me way too often. Heaven forbid you should do that.

    Traditional Catholics like myself usually fast only from meat and meat-byproducts and only on Fridays and the eve of Holy Days.

    And as for defeating that "stubborn conviction" you mentioned? Dear neighbor, that is a life-long process, but Our Savior knows what we go through. And He is always there to help, even if it just to get us through the day.

    You and yours are in my Daily Rosary intentions. :)
    • Thank you so much for reminding me that I am not alone.

      Sometimes it's a great temptation to regard myself as terminally 'special'. And that's just..sick making.

      I am very grateful to you for your prayers. I will pray for you too, and I hope that you will continue to offer your generous and kind presence. It is so very welcome.
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