Friday, April 13, 2007

Quare tristis es anima mea, et quare conturbas me?

I've hesitated to write about my struggles this Lent, partially because I haven't managed my time or sleep very well this week, and partially because I fear that I don't have anything interesting to say about them. I've found, yet again, that I don't have any knowledge of my own, that I'm only good for reacting to other people's ideas and (over)analyzing them. Sorry if you expected anything better from me.

In short, I've been battling a sort of free-floating despair on matters mathematical, personal and theological. More than once I've contemplated apostasy, the total divorce from God. I'd submit a couple of the intellectual excuses I've had for doubt, but I can't deny that this is more about hope than about reason. There are simply times when I lose hope of seeing God- and I worry that this sort of despair is not a cross I'm done carrying.

When I talked to my mother recently about my doubts and despair, she told me something amazing and beautiful. I can't do it justice here, but she said that carrying and giving birth to me was one of the most spiritual times of her life- that she would exclaim, "How could there not be a God?" when faced with the wonder of it all.

It refreshes me to know that she (and others) have these kind of connections to reality, but I've never seemed to be wired for them. I drift, unmoored by any sort of visceral knowledge, in a sea of ideas that connect only to each other. Those of you who've talked with me for any length of time on serious matters have usually heard me raise repugnant ideas with no self-consciousness whatsoever. That's because for me, there are no repugnant ideas- only ideas that offend others. (I've retreated from some conversations, not because I was offended by this or that, but because I'd have felt embarrassed to make my principled objection.)

I've gained more respect for those who, out of allegiance to what they cannot deny as true, hold to contradictions- for example, those who can neither deny that the Church is the Church, nor affirm some particular of Her doctrine. I used to feel that such people were ridiculous, but no more. I'm the weird one, the one who perceives the sinews of arguments but not the thing described.

I'm aware that this post doesn't make any sense. Do you see what I mean, that I have nothing intelligent to write about this? I can't make heads or tails of my troubles, and I can't stop thinking about them. I'll end up a saint or a lunatic, and I worry I won't be a saint.

Spera in Deo...

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