Dryness

There are times in life when we feel dry.  Things that have been important to us lose their luster and don’t give us the good feelings they used to.  This certainly happens in the spiritual life.  Going to church, singing in the choir, being in the silence of Quaker meeting for worship, or practicing a habitual spiritual discipline—any of these can go dry and seem to lose their life. The same can happen in a work situation or in a marriage or other special relationship.

Where to find life in dry times will differ.  But I do think it can be a big mistake to jump too quickly out of the situation.  I’m convinced that, when the problem is dryness (and not some serious issue that is being ignored or missed), there is a lot to learn from staying put and inward searching.  Sometimes too much busyness or responsibility for too many things can cover and hide what is happening.

Perhaps, too, the dryness may be an opportunity to grow in love of God for God’s sake instead of for our own good feelings.  In that case staying put, continuing to show up and be faithful, for the good of the other (God, our co-workers, our partner or family)may be what gives life, whether we feel it or not.  Loving God is not about having warm fuzzy feelings, but about service.  Borrowing from a rabbinical idea, that service is to love the Lord our God with all that we are.  This means being faithful to our commitments even when our hearts are not warmed by doing so.  Dryness is not likely to last forever.

Queries:

What is your spiritual condition now?  And the condition of your work and relationships?

What is it for you to love God?

Prayer:

Get a blank, unlined piece of paper.  Quiet yourself.  Randomly write on the paper words that arise for you in your prayerfulness.  When you have enough, reflect on the words.  Link them together, in groups or as a whole.  What is the prayer that emerges?

For further reflection:

“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42: 1-2a).”

“There are times of dryness in our individual lives, when [Quaker meeting for worship] may seem difficult or even worthless.  At such times one may be tempted not to go to meeting, but it may be better to go, prepared to offer as our contribution to the worship simply a sense of need.  In such a meeting one may not at the time realize what one has gained, but one will nevertheless come away helped” (Berks and Oxon Quarterly Meeting and Extension Committee, 1958).

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One thought on “Dryness

  1. I’ve been slogging my way back through Will and Spirit (May). While I’m still not thrilled by it, this time around I was struck by his discussion of sticking with meditation when nothing happens. In his framework, even patting oneself on the back for sticking with it is still the ego hanging onto control. It struck me that the only way to let go is to approach each time with curiosity but without expectation, whether I’m in a dry period or not (and with meditation, dry is usually the name of the game for me 😉). Soooo hard to do, but something to try. So, maybe I need to learn that “dry” involves some unnecessary self-judgment.

    Like

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