Friday, September 30, 2011

All is well with my soul

I feel an exhaustion and ache and hurt that permeates my entire being. There is a dull throbbing pain which goes clear to my soul. Too much, just too much has happened and I want to turn back the clock, turn away and pretend that everything is good and normal and this is a bad dream. Sadly, I can't. I can't take back my words at work that flew out of my mouth in a fit of fury and arrogance. I can't take back the day last week that my grandchildren's other grandparent, and the father of my son's wife, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. I can't dry their tears, because I can't dry my own. So I cry and I ache and I hope. Because there is always hope, even when things are hopeless.

When things are good and right, hope is unnecessary. There is little to hope for, because things are as they should be. It is in the midst of the storm that I cling to hope, to the trust that tomorrow will be better and the day after that and the day after that. How do you find rational words to describe an irrational act? How do you tell children that he never wanted to hurt them, when all they feel right now is hurt? How do you help children cope and heal and feel safe, when the adults are all acting worse than children? So I hug and I love and I listen. I listen to children's questions, ones that do not have a good answer. I listen to a daughter's pain and grief. I listen to a husband and a father who fears and hurts for his family. I listen to people I have only a cursory relationship with, as they look to me for words of understanding and comfort. I listen to the words of a man, who hurt so much he couldn't live another day. I listen for the voice of God, who seems so very far away. Yet, he is close and near. He is weeping with all of us, holding every broken person. He was there when the gun went off. He was there when a father-in-law discovered a bloody, bloated body. He was there when the children's world was shattered. He heard the wails of the survivors at the funeral.
I talk and reassure and give the right responses, the ones I learned in my counseling classes. They seem so hollow and inadequate. I feel like a fraud. They all turn to me for strength and for answers and I am short on both. I move forward as I am mired at the same time. I wait on the Lord, on the healing, on the wisdom. Yet, even as I wait, I keep taking one step at a time, praying that none of them are missteps.

In the depths of my hurt and weakness the Lord sends me comfort and wisdom and love. J is my rock and my lifeline. He pulls me out of the dark and helps me find my footing on solid ground. He tells me the truth, the things I need to hear and believe. His care and concern are humbling. His love is strengthening. He is a voice of reason, when I think reason does not exist. Scripture and poetry speak to my heart and express the feelings I cannot put into words. A friend messages me, the truest words I can imagine, given the situation. She will never know how her words are a salve to my soul. "It is senseless to us, and the only thing that made sense to him, I think that was the only thing he could see. He would never want to cause such pain for all of you. I just believe he could see nothing else. I pray he may now truly rest in the peace. Thank you for your friendship and trust. You are such a strong women and I am blessed to know you." It makes me wonder how I am a blessing. I do not feel strong or good or wise.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

I think of God's people. I think of the Jews coming out of Egypt, moving forward on their faith in the Lord's promise. I think of the Jews in the death camps, clinging to their faith and God's promises. How can anyone have faith or hold onto traditions after something like that? Yet the traditions, the ritual, are comforting, familiar and hopeful. I feel a kinship and an understanding. I feel their hope, it sustains me. So, I take up holidays that are not mine, not part of my heritage. I will embrace this new year, a fresh start. I pray for mercy to be shown to me over the next year. I will hope for better times. I am a wild branch that has been grafted in. I am an adopted child, grateful for the grace and love.

Even in pain, I am so greatly blessed. I am blessed by J. I am blessed by good friends' words. I am blessed by my faith. I am blessed by those broken survivors in the wake of a tragedy. For he is compassionate and gracious and slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness and truth.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Psalm 91

 1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
 2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
 3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
 4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
 5Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
 6Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
 7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
 8Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
 9Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
 10There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
 11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
 12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
 13Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
 14Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
 15He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
 16With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

What a tumultuous year this has been. I have not mentioned it previously, but a year ago today, J's brother died, suddenly and unexpectedly. There is much I could say about that event and the effects of it, but I am only going to write about my personal perspective on it. I would never want to infringe on J's grief and privacy by expounding upon other details here.

My relationship with J is like nothing I have experienced before. It transcends the sexual, emotional and physical. It is spiritual for me. I struggle with this classification at times, a classification by my own defining. Though I deeply feel the spiritual connection between us, it seems a bit blasphemous to call it that. At least in terms of what I mean by it. J's significance to me, and his influence on me, is a personification of my Supreme Being. It is not that I think he is perfect, though he is perfect for me. I think I have a realistic view of him, I am aware of his flaws and his frustrations. I also can honestly say that he offers me safety, security, acceptance and the most perfect love that a human being can offer.

I offer the Psalm above, as a prayer for J and his brother. Yet, when I read the words, they remind me of J. He is a refuge for me. He has delivered me from the bondage of my past. He comforts me in many ways. I feel him in me and all around me, even when we are apart. Serving him and pleasing him delights me and fulfills me. He has taught me so much about myself and the world around me. He inspires me to be a better person and to improve myself for service to him. This comparison, between J and G_d. is one I have struggled with in the past, but one I have found comfort in. It isn't a confusion on my part or a way of deifying J. It helps me to honor him and to humble myself in service to him. It defines my love and respect for him. He will always be a part of me, we are connected on a higher plane than space and time. He has, somehow, always been a part of me and we were destined to share what we do. I am grateful for that, it is a comfort to me. I am honored to have this amazing man in my life. I am blessed to experience the depths of awareness that he gives to me. I acknowledge the rarity of a love like ours.