Tonight I achieved my dearly held wish to make it to church for at least part of the prayer week. I'd forgotten how big our church building is - it has magnificent wooden roof beams on a scale that would today be prohibitively expensive.
God was deliciously, gloriously close and I really felt His love and Him with me, especially during the singing and the time of corporate prayer. Though I'm not sure I really know how to worship with others any more, it felt a bit strange, I suppose just from lack of practice, I'm not used to other people being there too.
I suppose I'm feeling so down and flat now because for a while I dared to dream and be part of another world that I don't usually have much contact with, then I got home and realised that I still wasn't part of that world and everything is still the same. It is like when you watch a movie and get caught up in the world of that movie; then it ends and you come back down to earth. For a while this evening, before fatigue, fever, panic and the tiles on the chancel floor making me feel seasick and weird brought me back down to earth, I dared to dream that maybe I was well enough for church. For about 15 minutes I felt fine, great even, I managed to stand through two whole songs and for a little while after that! But before I'd been out of the house two hours I was struggling to focus and stay awake and feeling physically bizarre (there is no other word for it).
The glimpse of the lives other people live didn't help either, I'm finding that the more I compare my life with that of other people the worse I feel about myself. It was yet another reminder that the church doesn't seem to have a lot of use for the ill or disabled, in order to serve in the church you need not only to be well, but turbo charged. And yes, I know how bitter that sounds. I know I need to stop comparing myself with others, for a start it's not comparing like with like. If I take life slowly and focus on each moment at a time, on the things I can do, then I can sometimes achieve some sort of contentment.
Sorry that there has been so much soul-searching on here lately: I've been having a very confusing time, quite turbulent inwardly and I don't have anyone to talk it over with, who I know and trust well enough and see anything of to talk about such things. And there has been so much inner turbulence and instability of mood that it wouldn't be fair to inflict it all on one person (though Catherine has stoically put up with plenty of it!). I think I shall start a private diary for matters spiritual, but still share some of what goes on here, partly to encourage and partly to educate anyone reading this about what it is like to be trying to survive as a sick Christian, or to make any fellow travellers feel less alone.
In the meantime I'm trying to salvage the good from the wreckage of tonight, wishing my mood were more stable and trying to ignore how much more of 'an ill person' the experience made me feel. Most of all I want to focus on God and how good He is, in spite of what a mess I am.