The cursor keeps time on the blank screen. How many blinks before my next thought? My next phrase? This incessant blink blink blink taunts me. Over these past few days, I have tried to respond to the prompts for Writing 101. Words simply haven’t come. I have sat poised and ready. For long hours. Nothing happened. Oh, I wrote a sentence fragment here and there. Ended up deleting each one. Some writer I am. No. I take that back. I am a writer. I breathe and think and laugh and cry and wonder and despair and write. These experiences make up the whole of who I have come to recognize as me. But I’ve always had difficulty writing on purpose and had hoped the daily challenges might coax me into greater consistency. I was doing pretty good for the first two weeks. I guess my enthusiasm waned. That and I had a lot going on.
I was up and out early two mornings this week. Off to doctors’ appointments. One was a simple follow-up with my rheumatologist. The other was a first time visit with a psychiatrist. Don’t panic. I am not crazy. I did not end up in restraints that morning. Nor was I carted off by the proverbial men in white coats. Psychiatry carries a crippling stigma. I’m not sure which makes my throat seize up more: having to admit I am an alcoholic, or sharing that I am now seeing a psychiatrist. My reasons for making the appointment are far from dramatic. I simply felt an increase in my antidepressant medication would prove helpful and my primary doctor recommended I see a psychiatrist. So, you see, I was simply acting under my doctor’s advice. That and I figured one more attending doctor’s statement in support of my disability appeal surely couldn’t hurt.
It was really just a formality. I’m actually doing quite well. I celebrated eight months sober on the 21st, was asked to preside at a wedding of friends of a friend, and picked up a handful of preacher supply gigs over the next few months. The opportunity to again step into the role of ordained minister has probably done more for my sagging spirit than any amount of medication or talk-therapy could ever accomplish. It now feels like I’ve been having a bizarre out of body experience these past eight months and have finally landed back in my shoes. Oh yeah, I remember now. This is who I am. The wedding was yesterday; a small gathering of family and friends on a lake shore. It was cold, but sunny and the short ceremony went off without a hitch. I could barely contain my happiness on my way home. I was happy for the couple, sure, but I was absolutely ecstatic about my having officiated at a wedding.
And I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to sit down with Scripture and prayerfully discern a relevant message and then put on my alb and stole and step into a pulpit, let alone having the privilege to preside at communion again. It has been a long time. My joy is well off the charts and into the stratosphere. It’s hard for me to explain, and, I suspect harder still for someone to understand. But being called upon for these small favors has reignited the pilot light that fires up my passion for living. All sorts of things seem possible again. I am well aware caution is called for here. It is dangerous to define one’s personhood by his or her professional standing. I know I should be able to feel complete and whole independent of whether or not I’m “working,” but I’m indulging myself the luxury of lingering in this feeling of uncontainable glee for just a while longer.
So, anyway, back that infernal taunting of the cursor on the blank page. Now that I’m typing full throttle, I may as well catch up my responses to the daily prompts. I believe I can do that in a single sentence. Here goes. “Oh, my beloveds, I have searched the horizon beyond the darkening clouds of storm and night and found there a word for you, a word too enormous to behold and yet so easily captured with five swift strikes of the keys: faith.” Granted, it is a rather long sentence, but I’m pretty sure it meets the criteria of Days 12, 13, 14, and 15 and, more importantly, is true. Just beyond a seeming sea of despair, I stumbled again into the presence and love of God. This pickled pastor might always be a pickle, but she’s always going to be a pastor too, and that realization is making a huge and holy difference. All of time and space is sacred again. Blank or otherwise.