Grasping at Nothing

I’ve never felt so profoundly and helplessly Orthodox as when I’ve thrown religion over my shoulder. For the pain of it, for the weakness in it, for the inexorable totality of it. When I’ve neglected the liturgy, and failed at prayer, and broken inside, and hid, and sentenced myself to despair, and tried to live without moving at all – in those moments of life, there’s something that happens. In letting go, I’ve felt myself adrift in something larger than myself, and so my Faith sustains me where I have failed it.

Perhaps it’s hanging onto the Fast, that tangible connection to the rhythm of Faith that holds me when all other forms of confession fail. I will not eat when my Lord is in betrayed, is crucified, when I have done this thing, and brought this upon the world. If there is nothing else, I will starve if need be, before I let go of the sense that meaning exists in the world. I will welcome the desert and the sand into my mouth. That’s what fasting is. And we begin a new fast tomorrow.

Drown me in it, Lord. Take from me this knowledge of fat and richness. Make me lean. Make me know suffering. Thank Thee for not condemning me to constant joy, where there is no meaning, where I am condemned to the silent prison of my mind, to solipsism, to narcissism.

If nothing else, I can hunger. I can know Thy reflection in loss and emptiness. Fill me with loss, and come to me in the void. Grant me the oblivion that, emptied of all else, is full of Thy love and Thee. Crush me with it. Amen. Take from my mind all false images, all pretense of holiness. Let me live in the dark of my tomb.

Apart from this, none of it makes any sense. It’s all a noise-filled room, a crowd of emotions, a maze for the mind. Absence is the chapel of the soul.

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