We are halfway through the third week of preparing our lives for Christmas. The third Sunday is Gaudete (Latin: Rejoice) Sunday. The theme for the week is Joy.
In church on Sunday I struggled deeply with racing thoughts and obsessive counting. Silver lining: the obsessive counting is helping with reading music for choir and bells! But in worship it just keeps me from being mindfully present and trying to have a thoughtful and emotional experience in worship. I really, really tried to present, and was able to be present to the experience occasionally. And I tried to search for a spiritual experience, but to no avail.
I think I’m still searching for the kind of spiritual experiences I used to have, the kind that mimicked or led to mania. I would have a sense of deep peace that settled in my center (even feeling it in lungs, stomach and gut). Sometimes I’d get goosebumps, but I would get a tingling that I could often feel up my spine. Mentally I would feel a closeness to the Divine Spirit, and a deep understanding of Jesus’ message. When these experiences led to mania, I’d feel a special call to do something radical to follow the Spirit/Jesus, such as start a new program at church, become a monk, change my spiritual habits, go out in the community and recruit others into church. None of these are bad acts… But when they come all at the same time… Nicht gut!
I’d like to open myself to what is new and forthcoming in my spiritual experiences. But the new is slow in coming, and it’s hard to let go of experiences I’ve had for decades. (Maybe as early as 9 years old!)
I did experience Joy yesterday, much to my great happiness. I was watching a movie with my husband leaning on my lap. A couple cats were sleeping in the room. The Christmas tree was lit and the outdoor lights glowed their echo. I felt content and joyful that I could experience that moment. A moment of comfort and Joy. Amen!