My song is love unknown

These are interesting times.

If I get breathless so that I need oxygen, I have no friend with a car who could take me to hospital, so would need an ambulance. It is harder to believe I have a chance of getting one if I need it, after seeing the fresh meat shelves of Aldi almost empty. I am not that far over fifty, and my normal lifestyle is pretty much social isolation anyway, and I wonder whether the death rate percentages I read apply to a fully functioning hospital system when there is O2 and intensive care for everyone who needs it.

And others have more to worry about. If you are going for chemotherapy, you are immunocompromised, and you get it in a hospital where there are lots of sick people, including some with covid 19.

I was thinking of writing a post on if I disappear for a bit. I am extremely unlikely to disappear because I have died, though it is possible. Most people have mild symptoms from 19. I could of course have an accident. The longest time I have been off the air was a gap of ten days in March 2013, when I simply stopped having anything to write about. When I came back, four regular commenters commented, one saying Good to have you back Clare I was worried. Please, please don’t worry. With less social contact I have less to write about, and if I am even slightly more depressed I can’t see the point always: I could do yet another post summarising an article with my own take on it, but I feel more and more repetitive.

I get a lot of my self-regard from blogging. When people read me and comment positively that makes me feel good. And I keep checking the stats for a tiny dopamine hit, which is addictive. So I try to get more views for such hits, and that seems unhealthy to me: it seems more unhealthy when I feel more depressed.

My writing was going to appear in print- yes, print, not on line, how old fashioned. Now I wonder if it will be printed, if the printer will do the job or be shut down. (I am pessimistic when I am depressed.) My words being printed would not prove to the world, or even to me, that I had value; and it was one of those acknowledgments that I like. Something to look forward to that makes me feel good. In the uncertainty, when I am stripped of those, and other things to look forward to- I will meet her for lunch, I will meet him for coffee- I feel more pointless, even worthless. How can I do anything of value?

I do not know myself. Paul wrote I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Many people buy veg they will throw away uneaten, books that sit on their shelves unread. I thought of cycling about seven miles this morning, in the sunshine, and wondered what in me might not want to- some negative, depressive, heavy grey toad squatting on my life, preventing almost all activity, perhaps. Or worry: to cycle I have to make some small decisions. I need more motivation than the joy of the thing itself to get me out of bed: I need to talk myself into it and consider what might be the objections from that part of me which objects, which I refuse to see as merely a toad.

A hymn came to mind.

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh, and die?

I do not believe in God. The loving eternal creator, numbering each of my hairs and seeing me as a daughter, who created the World, makes no sense to me. Yet emotionally the words make sense, and I cling to them.

Well, I did go cycling. The sunshine is beautiful, and as I passed the church its Church Open sign was in the slot, so I went in and looked up that hymn. It is beautiful, written in 1664. It has little to trouble an atheist. There is a frank assertion of the doctrine- He came from His blest throne/ Salvation to bestow– but that is only two lines. There is also an elegant expression of the unfairness and randomness of life, and the lack of relation between suffering, luck and deservingness- A murderer they save/ the Prince of life they slay.

The Christianity I have rejected is not as poisonous as that of my blogging buddy Sirius Bizinus. I can be in that church and experience it as having the energy of Love. On that quiet country road, Love kept it open. I read the hymn aloud to the empty church, weeping. Christianity has some truth in it, for this atheist materialist: there is something in me which some call God, which has value and which I may unite with and express, something of inestimable value, which values me when I allow myself to hear it, that I might be lovely.

So I went to my Quaker meeting by Zoom, sitting by the south-facing window, with a Bible and QFP to my left. I also took my Scottish Book of Common Prayer, as I thought that hymn would be in it. It isn’t- the book has “Hymns Ancient and Modern Standard Edition” from 1916. I still held it in my hands as I sat in Meeting, one of my few objects associated with my parents. I could see it negatively- without the hymn I wanted- or positively, as a symbol of their imperfect love.

Sitting alone in my house, I can suffer deep miseries and find strange consolations.

6 thoughts on “My song is love unknown

  1. I too have issues with a Christianity that refuses to accept my difference until I remember that what is adopted by humankind is its own creation and not supported by any divine entity. We cling to belief systems that celebrate the majority but marginalize minorities as sinners or social outcasts which is why I have abandoned organized religion. There is no basis for such a stance.

    Belief in your sanctity becomes paramount here and ignoring beliefs of others which are unfounded becomes key. If nothing else, this pandemic has reinforced my thinking on human stupidity and vanity and made me feel better about my own place in the grand scheme of creation. You should do the same and take solace from what you see happening around you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We both know religion used as an excuse for hate, condemning us as men, as perverts, abortion as baby-murder, any excuse to call other people sinners. There is religion which values people. We are made in the image of God so are loving, creative, powerful and beautiful. If it’s only a myth it is a powerful one.


  2. That hymn is a lovely song and the tune is beautiful. I only have difficulty with two words ‘saviour’ and ‘Lord’. Then again would it not be true that one who shows love to the loveless that they might be lovely, would they be a saviour of some worth.

    I remember a day when I was at school at the age of 14 or 15. That day I had become increasingly unhappy for no apparent reason , certainly no reason I can remember now nearly 60 years later. Eventually I found myself sitting alone on a bench in the cloisters staring out onto the immaculately kept college field with the cricket square in the middle. An older boy walked past and returned a few minutes later. Again a few minutes after that and again. He stopped and asked “Are you alright?” “I’m fine.” I replied and he walked away. As he disappeared round the corner I howled my tears into the emptiness. I gave vent to my misery and almost immediately began to feel better. His compassion had released the gates of my emotion and I can feel that relief even now. In those days boys did not cry, certainly not in a public place. The other boy was a year or so older and well beyond my age group. Conversation between age groups was severely discouraged.

    As was usual at that time I don’t suppose for a moment that he knew my name but I knew his. He was then and I hope still is Andrew Spellar. Was he a saviour? I think so.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t have much to add. But really appreciated your post, Clare. I too have a tendancy towards depressive self destructive thoughts but am finding much friendship and acts of kindness occurring during this difficult time. Love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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