The title is both literal and figurative. I gave up drinking for Lent. You see, I have an immense fondness for beer, whiskey and wine, and, more often than not, I find myself unwinding with a drink in hand after saying Vespers.
But I am also starting to recognize that this has become a spiritually dry period for me. I get little consolation from the usual sources, and instead all this bitterness is rising up in me. That is one explanation for the increased drama of recent posts.
Some of this is my fault. It’s becoming increasingly clear that my stoic approach of sucking it up and taking it is just not viable, and as that breaks down, all sorts of garbage that should have been swept away a while ago is being discovered.
Catholicism involves a lot of introspection and self-confrontation. Getting on my knees and praying to God, confessing my sins to the priest, these are things which I needed to have in my life, because they created an opening where I could be honest about my problems and ask for help. I think this has had a positive effect on how I interact with others. I am gradually unlearning my fears that others will hurt or reject me if they see my weak spots.
As for the celibate gay stuff, it’s a work in progress. I still have yet to arrive at a manner of dealing with it that seems sane in the long term. Right now, I have a tendency to oscillate between periods of feeling perfectly fine with it and feeling absolutely miserable about it. Highs and lows in life are perhaps ultimately unavoidable, but I’d appreciate it if things evened out a little bit. I’ve been at pains to be as honest as I can on this blog about my struggles here, lately, because I think it acts as a better witness than if I tried to make it seem a little bit rosier. Sometimes, “things will be ok if you just do x, y, and z” can be more damaging than “it sucks and I have no easy answers”.
When it was discovered posthumously that Mother Teresa had struggled with horrifying spiritual darkness, and could be difficult to work with, a lot of people took that as somehow deconstructing her. But, really, it just showed that she was a real saint as opposed to our bubbly image of what saints are meant to be. Not that I, at all, claim to be anywhere near that level of holiness – it’s just that there is something to be said for not trying to explain away the messed up stuff.
Which brings me back to the dryness – aside from the usual answer that a dry spell is a way of purifying our love for God and freeing it from emotional crutches, it is perhaps possible that this has been permitted so that I will get off my butt and actually do some housekeeping. It’s probably hurting my spiritual life to have all that accumulated dust.