A Sigh Too Deep for Words

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.                          Romans 8:26 (NRSV)

I find it hard to pray when my brain is on fire.

The words do not come, though I try to push them out, birth them with the practiced ease of a thousand, thousand prayers before.

I want to, try to, but I cannot.

It is hard to pray when my brain is on fire, body exhausted; a sure sign that I have overdone it, heaped one too many logs on the fire of stress, once again reminding myself that all is not well with me. Somewhere deep inside me there continues to lurk a disease that will unfailingly find the open door and return triumphant. I come home unable to work one more minute, collapse into bed and the hours pass by. I sleep but not for lack of sleeping, but in response to a body with no more energy for activity; to let the fire burn low, coals in time extinguished, the fuel of the regularity of even the simple things consumed.

I could take the path of self-indulgent pity I suppose, shaking a fist at the sun, the moon, the stars, the heavens, at God that two years of therapy and thousands of pills and hundreds of thousands of steps could still leave me so fragile that one day, one conversation, one act by one person could ricochet in memory and loose pain so long now left behind, give that pain legs, muscle, a will to race into my present and leave the healthier me in the dust.

But I do not want that pity.

The fire in my brain will not consume me. Not this time. No.

For even in the midst of a conflagration of past and present, of memory and actuality, the way forward has a voice, a certainty in the smoke and heat and flame. Instead of being lost, a way forward finds me and I take it and the rightness of it helps to still the building up of anxiety and I can take a breath.

Such battles leave me tired, so tired, yet not defeated. There is a victory to give thanks for even as such a prayer still cannot come, will not come. But some days even if my only words are sighs, they are enough. Such is the promise. Such is all our hope.


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