Before Easter I was in a bad state of mind, waiting for news from the authorities about our refurbishment of the church. Things were already improving as my mum asked me the very sensible question, 'What's the worst that can happen?' and the answer - we'll have to put the church back together again, and abandon all our plans - was bad, but not un-cope-able with. It got my mind back onto something like stable footing. Since the Faculty arrived there has been another nailbiting delay as the electrical side of the work, which is the first stage after the clearing of the pews, can't begin until early May. THAT means the fifth anniversary concert of the local music club which uses the church will have to be moved to the secondary school, and we'll lose a round of very lucrative music exams which we normally host - hopefully we'll be able to find them an alternative venue and they'll be back. That was all it took to plunge me, very briefly, into an extremely bad frame of mind. Strangely it only lasted a few hours, especially as it coincided with discovering that somebody I hoped was rather interested in me isn't (that's something that happens with dull regularity too - there's sense in priests either being married or celibate).
I have a very good friend who I can go and talk to about psychological issues and she thinks my difficulties are due to low self-esteem. I'm not sure about this as naturally I imagine I'm strictly realistic! However it would help to reflect on the things I have coped with to decrease my assumption that the situations I get involved with are as threatening as I seem to think, and to challenge the leap I usually make to the most extreme reaction to what are fairly normal stresses.
Whatever the truth of that, one of the consoling, and anchoring, thoughts has been to relate what I've been going through to the Cross, a sensible reflection given that it was all happening over Holy Week and Easter. Our own small sacrifices and mortifications are reflected in the great sacrifice of Good Friday and, just as that was utterly transformed by the great working of God into triumph and transcendence, so our lesser deaths can, if we nail them to the Cross and put them into the Tomb with Jesus, be the points of takeoff for new insights and change. Nothing comes to life except first it dies. I have never felt my weakness as I have done over the last few weeks, but God became weak so that our infirmities might be carried up and made the means of victory. I believe there is a reason why someone of my inadequacies and inabilities has been placed in this impossible vocation. I am not sure yet what it is, and may not be for years, but even if, if, the Church made in human terms a mistake ordaining me, God will still take the offering and work with it. And so I have to pray, always, and learn to be thankful for my mortification, because if I do not discover how to die joyfully I will not be able to live as I should.