I was really, seriously thinking about throwing this blog overboard a couple of days ago. It’s a long story, but I wrote the short form to a friend last night: I have been trying to navigate past shoals inner and outer. It is hard to avoid capsizing a tiny vessel like this. You want to keep it real, but you have to keep it confidential as well, all the while holding your inner demons at bay. We all have them, I imagine. I know I do. I know it now.
Enough mystery: Yesterday morning, I was really down about it all—loving the writing, hating much else about the process. I had sworn to at least one beloved person in my life: That’s it! Final post! I’ve had it. Then I received an e-mail from an American woman I will call Roberta.
Roberta wrote me a few weeks back about her struggles with the Church, which were effectively political. She loves the Church, but can’t understand the attitudes of many within the Church. Yesterday morning, as I was writing my blogger’s suicide note in my mind, Roberta wrote that she had begun attending daily mass again—because of this blog. I was flabbergasted. Then I began blubbering.My poor daughter Martha: She and I had a 1 pm phone appointment to discuss a book project we are co-authoring, but the moment I said hello, she knew I was in trouble. By that time, sandbagged by Roberta and beset with memories of my father, together with missing my daughters, and so on and so on in a sort of emotional avalanche, I was a basket case. Fortunately, Martha understands her dad pretty well.
But really: What do you call that force that sends that e-mail from Roberta just when it is most needed by a hysterical male blogger halfway across the country? I’m just crazy enough, just Catholic enough to think that you call it the Holy Spirit, which in Hopkins’s beautiful poem
. . . Over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.