“My custom has always been to ponder grief; that is, to follow it through ventricle and aorta to find out its lurking places…But the fact is, I have never found another way to be as honest with myself as I can be by consulting with these miseries of mine” Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
In August I put a millstone around the neck of social media and cast it into the depths of the sea. The bubbles of Facebook rise to the surface for about 10 seconds – at most – a day, but that minuscule amount of oxygen is inconsequential to its survival in my life.
There were a few reasons why I discarded them from my life, but there was one reason that trumped all the others:
I wanted and needed to experience sorrow.
Social media, for me, was like placing a bandage over a festering wound. In moments of isolation or boredom, its comfort attempted to cover up the loneliness which encompassed and encompasses my being. The pores of the aid soaked up the puss and blood but clotting always failed to occur.
The wound would crust up a bit, and I would feign as if all was well with pithy posts about my life or students, pictures of me gallivanting around Iceland or Germany, or some highly spiritualized quote from something I was reading or from something I was wanting others to think I was reading. Each red notification light on my phone or browser was like a hit of euphoria to the pleasure sensors of my brain briefly covering up the wound below.
But, the wound continued to ooze and the euphoria would quickly subside. Instead of dealing with the wound, I took hit after hit, placed bandage after bandage over it, trying to ignore the loneliness without having to actually deal with it.
The reality, though, even with social media removed from my life? I still don’t want to deal with it; I still don’t deal with it. I find other distractions, other vices, even good deeds, so that I don’t have to go through the painful process of rehabbing the wound back to wholeness and health.
I avoid the sorrow of my own failings, failures, and unrequited desires.
With it being Advent, though, I have no way of avoiding the spiritual discipline of waiting. At least on Sundays. I am confronted with its visceral presence hovering over me and even within me every Sunday. I want to veil Advent with a bandage like I do my wound, but the waiting seeps through my vacuous attempt.
So, I am left waiting in sorrow, sitting on a pew or in a chair or on my knees, singing the refrain of Advent over and over again, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”
Come, Lord Jesus, Come. Heal my wound.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come. Heal our wounds.
Image credit: http://santafechurch.org/2017/11/advent-and-christmas-2017-calendar/