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.