The Ladder out of the Abyss

Out of the abyss

It’s Day 3 of Lent, post pancakes and ash and into the real business of the wilderness. I don’t do the ashing because of my position as sceptic and it would be hypocrisy to take part in rituals I am wrestling with.

I’ve been wrestling with the words of psalm 51,

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

and the whole notion of penitence. It’s not a comfortable place to be.  The wrestling will go on for some time.

In my state of wilderness I am seeking what is mine to own and what I should leave for others. Some of this is clear, some is not.

I have this recurring image of deep darkness, the depth and darkness of the abyss and of standing in it. Far above my head is a light, just the faintest show of it. I can see no way to climb out of the abyss and I think of a ladder.  One appears. But it is in fact not a ladder, it is a hand and it is within my reach. However, I am paralysed by the abyss and I cannot reach for that hand. Rather than disappearing, the hand remains and I feel in my heart that when I am ready, when I reach for it, it will assist me in my climb.

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