Carrying My Cross

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  Text:

 

Far from home

in a night of black,

No stars align

to guide me back.

No stars that shine,

No sight for the

blind.

In bone-deep with

soul-deep

fear;

Desperate for a Father’s

hand to reassure,

to wipe away

these blood stained

tears.

And where is this Shepherd

to hold His lost lamb near?

If He so does have a face,

like an eclipse,

a shadow lays amongst it.

Praying for a Phantom’s

grace,

asking a Stranger to reveal

His face.

A life in the agony

of the garden,

from my transgressions I behold

no pardon.

On a quest for

reparation,

carrying my cross to

crucifixion.

- Maria Manfredonia

Program Notes:

   Carrying My Cross is a poem written by my wife, Maria, about her dealings with scrupulosity. As defined by the International OCD Foundation, scrupulosity is, "A form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involving religious or moral obsessions. Scrupulous individuals are overly concerned that something they thought or did might be a sin or other violation of religious or moral doctrine."

 

    In attempt to help Maria work through her hardship, I suggested we collaborate on a new piece of music. Sometimes in creating a new work of art, you unearth much about yourself. Because
scrupulosity isn't often talked about (nor found in much poetry elsewhere), we also felt it a perfect opportunity to bring this illness more to light.

    Her poem encompasses loneliness, desperation, need for reassurance, confusion, pain — all of which can fall under the umbrella of anxiety. We agreed the music ought to reflect the erratic, unpredictable nature of anxiety, as well. But, there's also a sense of acceptance and determination to push through the challenges.
 

    OCD is often mistaken in casual conversation, or presented solely as someone's uncomplicated desire for organization. However, it can truly be a massive weight on someone's shoulders. It can take many forms, too — whereas some may be able to combat their OCD through faith and spiritual life, faith and spiritual life is at the very core of scrupulosity. Ultimately, we hope that Carrying My Cross provides awareness that OCD and anxiety doesn't pick and choose. It has the capability to make spiritual, otherwise serene individuals absolutely terrified.

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