A floating sense of doom

by chuckofish

107-Christ the Comforter

“God knows we have our own demons to be cast out, our own uncleanness to be cleansed. Neurotic anxiety happens to be my own particular demon, a floating sense of doom that has ruined many of what could have been, should have been, the happiest days of my life, and more than a few times in my life I have been raised from such ruins, which is another way of saying that more than a few times in my life I have been raised from death – death of the spirit anyway, death of the heart – by the healing power that Jesus calls us both to heal with and to be healed by.”

― Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

I can surely relate to what Frederick Buechner is saying here, although I wouldn’t classify it as neurotic anxiety exactly. I just have always had a morbid imagination, always thinking about what might happen, especially concerning loved ones.

At the evensong service on Sunday the choir sang an anthem based on a poem by Robert Herrick (1591–1674):

In the hour of my distress,

When temptations me oppress,

And when I my sins confess,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!


When I lie within my bed,

Sick in heart and sick in head,

And with doubts discomforted,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!


When the house doth sigh and weep,

And the world is drown’d in sleep,

Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

I was reminded that people back in the seventeenth century lay in bed at night and obsessed over problems too. I must say that I do find comfort in that.

And as I always say to the boy after one of our overwrought discussions of current events, God is in control. It is good to remember that.

The evensong service ends with the wonderful prayer for mission:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for thy love’s sake. Amen.

You can’t go wrong with this prayer at bedtime. Keep it on your bedside table. Envision those angels watching over you and your loved ones. It helps to dissipate that floating sense of doom.