. . . to hang down my head and cry." I believe these are words to a song from whom Ken Kesey gleaned the title to his brilliant novel, Sometimes a Great Notion. I want to write about those vague feelings that come out of nowhere, the cloudy ones, that overcast your day with angst and rob your night of sleep.
Coming out of nowhere, a sudden notion, but you can't quite fathom where or why. Somehow you must weather these times. Somehow you must dig into these notions and discover what they have to teach. Sometimes they sting, sometimes they ache: these feelings.
Always they tug at you until you turn around and listen to them with respect. They are great notions, even though they come to visit wearing somber clothing.
I who love levity am visited frequently by heaviness. Heaviness can sink me or ground me. Grounded is good, sinking down is less helpful. I want to be planted above ground like the rocks at the shore, buffeted by waves, but steady.
When notions come to hang down my head and cry I know it is because there is suffering and I am put on this earth to relieve it. Angst comes because the leading to relieve suffering precedes the knowing what to do. To be grateful for the heaviness, like the heaviness of a very heavy mother waiting to bear a child, is a difficult balance of faith and active listening. This active listening is prayer, the prayer of expectation. Prayerful expectation is the best response I can think of to these great, gray notions clouding on the horizon.