March 27, 2010 by Nicole
I don’t usually read the Bible much, and my commitment to try to read a little bit everyday, especially this Lent, seems to have gone by the wayside. But, I found myself flipping through my Catholic study Bible, not really looking for anything in particular, and I came across Psalm 84, the prayer of a pilgrim to Jerusalem.
I figured that if you want to go on a pilgrimage, you can’t get anymore appropriate than that if you are trying to make an effort to find something to speak to you, in particular, verse 6: “Happy are those who find refuge in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrim roads.”
Last night, I just marked it with a little piece of paper and went to sleep. When I came back to it today, it occured to me why this psalm connects to me. The ultimate purpose of my journey is for me to finally find some rest. I really do feel like those restless little birds who want some security in their lives. I also liked the verses that reminded me if at any point along the way I get “lost,” God will provide me with sustinance. And, I also noticed that this psalm, like 23, has a valley in it that sounds like it is hard to get through.
There are some days, like a few last week, that my depression really is a valley–a “ravine as dark as death,” to quote a priest I know–and those times I feel not only lost, but just completely abandoned. People tell you that God is always there to guide you, and at those moments, I find myself wondering if there really is someone up there listening to me, and if He is, then why doesn’t he fix me so I no longer feel like this? Where is God with my big, tall glass of tasty and refreshing ice cold water? Depression feels like it cuts you off entirely and keeps you totally alone. If hell is being eternally cut off from God, then times like this can’t be that far off of from being a small taste of hell, which is probably so much more horrific than that. Even worse, you can try to seek God out and “draw close,” but it feels like you don’t make any progress; you’re just stuck wandering around in a valley.
I really would like to stop feeling so restless all of the time; maybe like the psalm says, this can be the journey to a safer, happier place. I just need to be mindful of my Guide and look forward to how much happier people are who take the time and the trouble to travel the pilgrim road to find that refuge.