Thursday, February 25, 2010
Last night I awoke abruptly and found myself on my back with my shoulders scrunched in, my arms folded close together over my chest, with the covers pulled up close to my face. I had the edges of my sheets gripped tightly with my fists, which were nestled into the narrow declivity formed by the underside of my chin and neck. As I lay there, enfolded in the bleak and static embrace of the hopeless small hours, black thoughts and feelings gripped me and held me firm, forcing me to lie still and listen to the quiet desolation as it gathered its voice and blew through my soul.
As I lay there motionless, I could feel despair pouring into my body, filling me up beyond what I could bear. I thought that if I remained still for much longer, that if I didn't make some attempt to move... to roll over on my side, flip over onto my stomach, glance over at my clock, anything to start time again... that the despair would overflow and I would start to choke on it. I tried to summon an urgent need to break the dense pall which held me fast, but a feeling of apathy had settled into me which erased my motivation to escape. The feeling grew until I was ensconced within an impenetrable cocoon of fear, the last shreds of hope abandoning me as my futile attempts to justify my life echoed dully around me. My only cogent thought was the realization that I had spent all the years of my adult life traversing a path composed of rotten ice, and that the inevitability of total existence failure had finally caught up with me in the dark. I felt a great fool for ever thinking that I could avoid reality by ignoring it.
I lay there for a long while, overflowing with this feeling of ultimate doom that seemed to last for so long. However, as all earthly things are transient and insubstantial, so were these feelings which had finally abated to a point where I was no longer struck stupid by panic. I began to take a mental inventory of existence... I was in my room, in bed, and my clock read 3:43 am. There, reality still endured. I was far from feeling dandy however, as the last few minutes had left my stomach a ball of tangled anxiety. As I was settling down in an attempt to find sleep again, my breath caught in my throat as a memory was thrust forward abruptly into my awareness. It was a passage from my prayer book, which goes like this:
"Suddenly the Judge shall come, and the deeds of each shall be revealed; but with fear we cry out in the middle of the night: Holy, holy, holy art thou, O God. Through the Theotokos have mercy on us."
I repeated the Jesus prayer like a mantra until I finally fell asleep again.