I fall into these holes sometimes. And when I'm there, submerged in the dark, I forget that I've ever been anywhere else. It feels a little like standing on the edge of a cliff in complete darkness. Way down inside my head somewhere I know there should be a bridge that crosses to the other side because I've not actually ever fallen so far that I can't get back up. But for some reason I can't access that knowledge in a way that is at all helpful. And so I fall off the cliff into a hole instead of stepping onto the bridge.
Sometimes I know why, sometimes not. The past two days have been the hardest in a long time. There have been moments in the last 48 hours when I've held on better than others, felt like I was on the bridge instead of at the bottom of the ravine all broken and bleeding and tangled up in the brush. Mostly, though, it's been dark. I haven't been able to write or believe that I can write - even with two sermons to preach tomorrow. My wife is speaking tonight at a regional event and I couldn't even manage to go with her. She's unbelievably kind and supportive, holding me until I can come back to life enough to cry and start letting the water wash away the dark a little bit at a time. And she's the one who suggested I blog today, that maybe I have to write about where I am in the dark to be able to write about anything else - that I have to let God into me before I can be a way for the Spirit to speak. I suspect she's right, as she often is.
And maybe I'm starting to remember that holding on doesn't mean I have to be completely un-broken all at once, that maybe God can use me even when I'm bleeding a little - or a lot.