Passing Through Hell

[A] Myfanwy’s Thoughts On A Cold Autumn Day

Over breakfast in a café, I told Myfanwy that, having poured out my life blood in the passion writings, I am now empty. I have forgotten all that was said, and can say no more!

She laughed, and as always with these crises, told me the fallow times are necessary to a new spring..

Then she gave me her summary of all that we had worked on in Crete.

[1] The second passion book is about how you deal with the pain of existence.

This pain makes some people evasive= they try to laugh it off.
This pain makes some people bitter= they take it out on others.
This pain makes some people moralistic= they have to apportion blame.
This pain destroys some people= leaving them in despair.

[2] The quandary is, how to let suffering deepen you– so you have a fellow feeling with humanity, and you cease playing games but are left standing naked before God.

[B] A Reply From Karin

“Thanks Jamie, YEP – quite right, how do you let it deepen you rather than mess you up. It seems to me that this is dependent on God’s action/the action of the Holy Spirit who ‘groans within us’ until the day that the ‘sons of God are revealed.’ One way is if we reject bitterness, moralism, despair and evasiveness: some people, for example, choose bitterness and seem to enjoy it. They even make it part of their identity. These are the traps we have to avoid. We have to avoid identifying ourselves with bitterness, moralism, despair, and evasiveness, and say ‘no’ to them.

In fact, we have to be able to tolerate not having an easy identity because there might be quite a long gap before our true naked selves start to be more apparent to us and before we assent to living as our naked selves. This long gap is where trust comes in — trusting that we will come through in the end. God trusts us. He trusts that we will come through. We don’t trust ourselves however – or rather, we can’t tolerate the suspension of knowledge and so opt for an apparently easier solution – such as bitterness. For this transformative action [the becoming of ourselves] to take place, it is not necessary to ‘know’ the Holy Spirit consciously, or to believe in any creed, though that might make it easier, or it might block it; what is necessary is to go through the process – to walk the narrow way into and through the dark and unknown.

In this walking no conventional form of living helps – not the social networks, friends and family – although the best of them may encourage – not the conventional life of any kind, not the church [except in the sense of signaling that there is such a road to walk and in some advice as to how to do it, in its liturgies, and prayers– at least there you don’t have to pretend ‘to be on top.’ And very few priests – and even fewer startzi – can help, because there is no recipe for this walking – it has absolutely nothing to do with ‘doing the right thing’, or ‘being good.’ It is essentially a journey taken alone with only the Spirit as guide – the Spirit who whispers and groans in our hearts and in the heart of every person, however corrupt, however sick; however great, however small. If we are attentive we will hear his voice.”