Monday, April 26, 2010

"Some times I have a great notion. . .

. . . 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.


  1. Claire, I too am visited by heaviness far to frequently. Recently I have felt completely buried. Thank you for writing this and sharing it. It helps me to reach beyond this angst and live my life as fully as I can.


  2. Hi Lorraine!

    I will keep you in my thoughts. May you find a good shovel....


  3. Claire Darling,
    I know these feelings fact, at a reading from an Intuit (who was very right on in so many things), while on my trip, she said I shouldn't watch the news anymore, as it tore me up (it does)...We can't bury our heads in the sand, but we can try to touch the lives of those near to reach out and to do what little we can..sometimes, that is what makes the most difference.
    I loved that book, but the words are "sometimes, I live in the city, sometimes, I live in the town, sometimes, I have a great notion to jump into the river and drown" (from the song, "Goodnight, Irene", but that's okay...(you can say, oh, shut up, jessica)..
    I hope today is a better day.

  4. Jessica,
    Please, don't shut up, dear. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. You bring up some good points. I suspect folk songs are just that because they morph through the passing through many venues, communities and singers. I have never wanted to drown, love to swim far too much! But, cry, yes!
    And laugh and laugh, too. . .


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