Bunyan’s the Slough of Despond: Wisdom for the Waylaid Wayfarer

Posted: May 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m slowly crawling out again, bedraggled and bruised, from under one of my infamous dark nights of the soul. Yesterday evening, I sat down with my journal and tried to ascertain what had gone so wrong this time. I did quite well, identifying a number of things which probably collaborated to upset my psycho-emotional state: the insultingly irritated manner in which my Mother spoke to me on the phone; my apparent estrangement from the pulse of life; a lack of warm companionship and the sense that I’m reviled rather than appreciated for me being me; my financial situation; the weather; the result of the recent referendum on whether Bristol should have an elected mayor  (why aren’t people thinking!), and so on. But having compiled this list, it became obvious that I hadn’t really learnt anything of fundamental import that would bolster my defenses against the next dark cloud. So I said a little prayer: “Greater Intelligence, where were you?” I had also prayed more than once I was becoming aware of the dark cloud settling over me – that was when I had needed to be strong, yet found my strength dissipating, and with multitudinous glasses of forgetfulness in hand found myself once again sinking into a familiar quagmire, where escape becomes a mere matter of no more funds. But this particular stick was shot through with an anthem, more audible than usual, and the chorus: inarticulate questions, which I hoped – but knew otherwise – to be answered even whilst the storm raged. I found myself questioning the very existence of God and the fundamental bases of my reality, overshadowed by the fear that I would never really distinguish fact from fiction.

Why do we turn to drink or drugs as a countermeasure to

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