Monday, January 13, 2014

"Feeling Scabby"

A favorite book of mine is Joyce Rupp’s Inviting God In (Ave Maria Press, 2001). In one of her devotions (p. 69), she writes that as she read a Thomas Merton journal, she appreciated Merton’s image of “feeling scabby” that day. Rupp explains, “It’s when we pick at ourselves, it’s when we don’t like that ‘protrusion’ on our spiritual skin.” We're impatient at our rate of healing and then we self-defeatingly "scratch" at our old wounds.

I’ve been feeling that way lately. All of us have certain emotionally unhealthy ways with which we react to certain life situations, or to certain kinds of people who, for whatever reason, upset us. Feeling emotionally vulnerable lately anyway, I've also felt spiritually and emotionally discombobulated.

From the experience of years I can recognize my own emotional habits and “name” them. But I become tired of my same old inner struggles, and of my (apparent) need to return to those habits. And so I “pick at” my faults and wish I was making better spiritual progress.

Rupp notes that if we long to feel more whole, that longing itself is a gift and the result of prayers for renewal. God wants to help us. “When we feel scabby, it is important to continue to love ourselves as God loves us, to keep welcoming ourselves home as God welcomes us.”

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