Saturday, April 19, 2008


I'm not sure what has been going on. But ever since Shug's death on February 1, I've found it very difficult to write here. Part of it was my grief about her death. But another big part is that I am dealing with a personal issue that I dare not share – even obliquely – in the blogosphere. Losing my cat and trying to give up the hope of a romance or intimate friendship, all in the same month, has cost me my voice on the blog. And then there was the experience of Lent and Holy Week, which (thankfully) moved me beyond all that … at least for a while.

I'm going to try to set all that aside.

And I want to set aside the notion that my postings need to be Significant. The bloggers I admire [and you'll see their links in the sidebar] do a fine job of keeping up with and commenting on the news in the Anglican blogosphere. I think I need to ratchet-down my expectations of myself and my writings here. I hope that can be easier, now that my site hits are down to nil. I don't need to speak for anyone but me. There must be a gazillion blogs out there. I don't need to be wise or insightful. Fact is, I am not wise. I need to give up that illusion.

And I need to give up the illusion that I can be insightful. I am not. I muddle along day to day, trying to do my best, trying to avoid the worst. I try to live into the baptismal covenant, but I fail all the time. I'm trying to discern what God or the Spirit would have me do … but I can't make heads or tails of it.

Life was easier in my young, fundamentalist days, when I thought one could use the Bible [KJV, of course!] like a Ouija board. Things are more difficult now … as I try to discern the movement and direction of the Spirit.

As Faulkner had a character say (or pray?) in his Snopes trilogy: "Save us, Lord – poor sons o' bitches."

I'm feeling lost and without a compass. I'm just one of the "poor sons o' bitches."


Blogger Tandaina- said...

Deserts happen. I have the tendency to beat myself up about them, or feel that I "should" be blogging. The truth is that blogging is one of the things I "could" do, not should.

Often its only in the middle of my big dry deserts that I look around and realize that empty place is where God is closest and where I can find the solitude and the space to heal.

Beannach Dia dhuit

4/19/2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Tandaina. You put it well. You put your finger on it. It feels like I am in a desert ... and I'm feeling rather lost.

I hope I will finally find God in this desert. I wish -- I desperately wish! -- that I could discern how God is working in my life now. Right now, all I see is mile upon mile of barren sand.

I'm not in a happy place.

4/19/2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger ROBERTA said...

please don't stop writing - i appreciate your honesty in telling it like it is.....and that IS significant!

4/19/2008 10:39 PM  
Blogger Catherine + said... are not alone. I am where you are since the loss of my beautiful boy Dragon and--for me, the cold hard truth that I may be alone the rest of my life. Friends are one thing, a soulmate/companion, is quite another. I haven't been writing much if at all, either, on my blog. I feel impassive and quite apathetic to what is happening in the wider Church. And you are right, others are reporting and commenting on the various happenings. I personally don't feel that I could add or take away from the discussion at this particular time in my life. I tell you this and, now, in this comment, I tell others, that we do hit the desert sand every now and then but we hit it hard and it is not as yielding as others would have us think. It is a dry and barren place, in which we often do not find solace or comfort.

I just wanted you to know you are not alone in this place that Tandaina has so aptly "fingered" for you and, consequently, for me.

I'll hang in there if you will...


4/20/2008 1:26 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Roberta. You're very kind. Honesty in the blogosphere is sometimes very complicated.

4/20/2008 8:35 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, Catherine+, it's coming to terms with "the cold hard truth that I may be alone the rest of my life" that's a big part of this for me, too. Everything you said here resonates very deeply for me. Thank you for your raw honesty.

4/20/2008 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Mary Clara said...

Well, I haven't checked on you for awhile, Lisa. I'm glad I decided to pop over today. I know about the desert. Can't add much to what you and these fine commenters have said. Just know that while you feel alone and lost, you are not. Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, has not lost you but has you in his sight and in his hands at all times. You will be guided, you will find nourishment and moisture in this dry place.

Holding you in prayer, sister, from my own dry place.

4/20/2008 5:17 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

1. Glad you're back.

2. A certain friend of mine married quite late in life. Indeed, he had really just come to terms with the idea that he would be "alone" (ie, unpartnered) for the rest of his life - and he was okay with it.

The story - as told by his wife - got me thinking. Perhaps it isn't until the prospect of being alone for the rest of our life no longer fills us with dread that we are finally able to enter into a truly equal and mutual relationship with another person. I recall, in ny past, staying in perfectly horrible relationships because the prospect of being alone was simply too appalling to contemplate.

Which observation may offer no comfort. But perhaps it will remind you that it ain't over 'til its over.

4/20/2008 9:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Mary Clara, I'm glad that you came visiting. I appreciate your comments.

More than one of my friends tells me to remember "You are beloved by God beyond your wildest imagining." I hear you saying that, too. Occasionally, I am able to believe that. Mostly, I am not. :(

But I do know this: I have been in desert-times before. I have survived them. But I want to do more than just survive this one. I want to grow through it. I just don't know how to do that.

So … you're in your "own dry place"? Can/Would you talk about that? How do we – how do you – move through them?

4/20/2008 10:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Malcolm+, I'm grateful that you've hung in here with me.

I have a friend with a story similar to the one you told. His wife – and the love of his life – died about 4 years ago. They were in their 60s. He sadly declared he would never love again. This weekend, I learned that he plans to marry in the next few months.

I am happy for him.

You wrote: Perhaps it isn't until the prospect of being alone for the rest of our life no longer fills us with dread that we are finally able to enter into a truly equal and mutual relationship with another person. I can believe that. But, Malcolm, it doesn't fill me with dread. It fills me with sorrow. I think (or at least I hope) I have something to share, and I long to share it with an intimate partner. It's not fear – it's sadness and loss that's overwhelming me.

I had a spendthrift youth. Then I finally discovered the Episcopal Church and the belief in sacraments and covenant relationships. What a bummer to find (or perceive) that I have blown my last chance to enter into such a sacramental relationship.

I've made a lot of stupid mistakes in my past … not unlike what you suggested. I fear I blew all my chances.

4/20/2008 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is my metaphor or analogy.
I am in exile. Jeremiah is "my" prophet.

Since leaving my former denomination several (7 or 8)years ago for a host of reasons, I have wandered around spiritually. Fortunately, I immediately found an Episcopal church that welcomes and nurtures me along this sometimes lonely and frustrating journey.

Over these past years, my journey has undulated. There have been milestones that have brought joys and tears.

Like Jeremiah's potter/clay story, sometimes there is brokenness on the way to being reshaped into the vessel we are created to be. I have every hope that God can and will reclaim the shards and make them into something acceptable. Maybe even beautiful.

That doesn't mean it isn't a sometimes painful journey.

Hanging on my office wall are these words from Jeremiah 29: "For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me."

My God, and I believe yours, is a God of second chances. I believe God has plans for you, plans for good. Keep praying and seeking.

I'll pray and seek with you.


4/21/2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

In one of the litanies in the Book of Alternative Services, there is a petition which runs something like "for those whose lives are bound in mutual love and for those who live in celibacy . . ." (That may not be exactly right. I don't have a BAS at my secular office.)

At a clergy retreat forever ago, a woman who was both priest and a religious took issue with the phrase, suggesting that everybody is "bound in mutual love."

I don't know what my point is, but it seemed important to say that.

4/21/2008 10:52 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Susan, thanks for those words. I think I am living in a "Jeremiah time." I'm going to dwell a while with the verses you gave me.

4/22/2008 1:23 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Malcolm+, I too would express some frustration with that prayer. Where's the prayer, the comfort for those of us living in an in-between place? Not living in partnership, and not called to a vocation of celibacy?

4/22/2008 1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa.
Know Casting Crowns? I was listening to this CD and came across this song that has been meaningful to me during my exile. "Who Am I" I thought of you. See what you think!


4/22/2008 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A while back I accepted that my personal temperament and weaknesses made it unlikely that I would find someone. I never had much expectation of finding a soulmate, though. I am used to being lonely. There are worse things - not having a purpose in life, for one. And life is just one dam' desert after another, with brief oases in between.


4/22/2008 8:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Good song, Susan. I just wish it didn't have all the applause lines. I'll confess it: Given my background, I'm not confortable with the folks who seem to need applause or "falling out" or those other emotional manifestations. But that's just me. The song itself is good and speaks to me -- speaks exactly to where I am.

4/22/2008 11:55 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for telling me this, NancyP. I just can't come to the piece you seem to have found. I recognize that I'm such a **** that probably no one would put up with me ... but I can't quit hoping.

I wonder: How the heck do you "get used to being lonely"? I wish I could.

4/22/2008 11:59 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

One person once said to me there is a difference between being 'alone' and 'lonely.' Being alone seems to be less of a desert time than lonely where one feels the vastness of the desert. Prayers continue.

4/23/2008 7:48 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I do indeed know that distinction, Caminante. I have often treasured my rich times alone.

Lonely is something altogether different ... as I think you understand.

4/23/2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intellectualize a lot. That's how I deal with being lonely. Also, being able to do a job well. I am not exactly at peace, merely realistic, or pessimistic. Having been isolated as a child, loneliness is the default state for me.


4/24/2008 11:38 AM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Glad I checked in here with you again. I so hear what you are saying. I've been in a rather quiet mood myself lately (have taken down my blog for the time being), and haven't commented much anywhere else.

I don't know if you, or anyone, is destined to be lonely or alone the rest of their lives. Who knows what is a "last chance" versus a place of change that leads to another chance (or many)? It wasn't until I resolved that I could be happy alone for the rest of my life that I even began to have some women show interest in me.

I know I can't say anything that will make a difference, but do know that I hear you and send love to you and Scotty. :)

4/25/2008 3:29 PM  

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