From my journal for November 14, 1995
[I had a dream about Andy Lindsay who worked at the yacht club, had a boat called “Pelagius — for the originator of some heresy.” I looked it up: “Pelagianism: The theological doctrine propounded by Pelagius, a British or Irish monk, and condemned as heresy by the Roman Catholic Church in AD 416. Included in its tenets were denial of original sin and affirmation of man’s ability to be righteous by the exercise of free will.”]
I have been trying to find words for what has been happening to me this last week. There have been changes inside — but I don’t know what they mean. I don’t feel like I’m on my way back “up” but that I’m moving along the bottom. Just having some sense of movement brings hope. I also have the sense that some hard layer has broken, like ice breaking up in the spring. There are jagged pieces, but they are moving very slowly, and whatever is underneath has not had time or space to reveal itself.
… something I read recently: that quote from the Bible about the last days “two men shall be standing in a field and one shall be taken” and a child terrorized by it and thinking that she was the one who would be left behind. That made me angry and I thought how God doesn’t do that, god is infinitely merciful, infinitely forgiving. And then it occurred to me, as I was driving down toward the causeway at Moore Lake, that god forgives us even when we mean to do it, even when we aren’t doing our best, even when we make the perverse choice instead of the healthy one. If we make a stupid mistake — no, let me claim this — If I make a stupid mistake, god forgives me, and if I make the same stupid mistake again, god forgives me again …and again …and again. Jesus came and died on the cross to teach us this. Those whiny excuses that we keep offering, that I keep offering: “it was the best I could do,” “I couldn’t help it,” “I didn’t mean to” — those are excuses offered to a judgmental parent to try to get them to lay off. As though you could be forgiven if you had tried your best but not if you hadn’t. Actually, I’m seeing now, you can be forgiven for not trying your best, over and over again. How astonishing! and even though I don’t quite believe in god, the knowledge of forgiveness is, at least at this moment, real and palpable. Is this the rain coming down on the dark cold barren marsh in the November twilight, the tide rising? Is this what is welling up around the broken fragments of that layer of ice that’s been lying at the bottom of my psyche all this time?
I find this so interesting! First, the issue of forgiveness is a huge one for me, because Mother never forgave me for anything. Then my sense that I am traveling along the bottom of the depression? my psyche? the land of death where Persephone travels through the winter? It’s only a couple of years before I come out of depression and end the noise phobia. It looks like my intuition is much better than I ever realized. I always thought I didn’t have any intuition.
I also mention the “dark cold barren marsh” which was an effort to describe how I felt about ten days ago.
November 5: During the massage, I just tried to let myself stay in touch with my sadness, and when it was over I lay there feeling like a bleak landscape: a salt marsh, in the November rain, at twilight, a bleak grim place of black mud and dark sand and sharp grasses and dead brambles, with windy channels of water. The odd thing was that it felt OK to be this landscape, and in fact I love the salt marshes, love their bleak emptiness, even under the November twilight, even under the cold rain. And my sense was that the rain was needed, felt good, and that the tide was rising, slowly but inexorably, in the water channels.