I only wrote one post this week. I planned on having more. I had a bunch of ideas I thought would make it past the “notes on my iphone” stage of development but they didn’t. It has been an absurd blur of a week, the catalyst of which was a teeny tiny bit of a concussion. My life has been a series of lessons in letting go–of expectations, of presuppositions, of any sense of certainty and control. I believe God has used the things in my life which have knocked me down to help me grow.
Recently, there have been a lot of those falling experiences, and I hope I have shown sufficient growth and grace and wisdom–but I know sometimes I haven’t. Sometimes I have been angry, self-pitying, poor-me-ing, and bitter. That is just life and being human. We second guess, we love and we hate, we make mistakes. And I think if my series of illnesses of innumerable unexplained origins have taught me anything is that I am far from a perfect person, and I will always be far from a perfect person. Big surprise, right. Well I think I need that reminder a lot. Because my expectations of self and others has been often skewed.
I think of people like Teresa of Avila who spent 3 years, in bed, writhing in pain and how much God graced her with insight and humility she might not have ever had otherwise. I think of how she struggled and fell even after her most painful experiences which gives me relief that I don’t have to be perfect now and will not be perfect ever, but I can become a better human in this and through this painful experience of life. I think of Julian of Norwich, who I have been drawn to lately for so many reasons, who also suffered great pains and who found intimacy with her “Mother Jesus” out of that pain.
I find God leading me through illness with the anchors of the mystics who suffered similarly. I hear him calling to me with love through voices from the past and voices of those I find in my present, like gifts to my soul, each unwrapped with care by God and grace. In this pain God has chosen to give me greater and greater chances for empathy in those moments people have unraveled to reveal the soulful center of themselves. Even though I have worked with 100′s of people as a therapist, where they share the greatest traumas of their souls, often for the first time in their lives, I am still honored when anyone tells me their deepest and most sacred things.
I thank God for Judy who shared with me the legacy of her life story, all 83 years, and the vision of God as we can see him right before we meet him in full, at the weathered and worn edges of last moments of life.
I thank God for air in my lungs, again, and consciousness (both literal and spiritual) which, like most things, can only be really appreciated after it has been taken away and then restored.
I thank God for the many patrons of my life who I can feel caring for me in the space between now and eternity–especially on the really painful days.
I thank God for my husband, my mother, my friends, and my dogs who all, in their own way, support me when I feel I can’t support myself.
I thank God for the many voices I have found in the virtual world who tell a story, live a parable, and write it out in new and surprising ways and, like gifts, unravel to reveal beauty I need when I haven’t the energy to sustain beauty on my own.
I thank God for my centering prayer group (the one I attend as a participant) and all the beautiful souls in it who have become like a spiritual family so easily, the years between us seeming negligible when we share in silence and the gifts silence brings to our soul.
I thank God for my writing group and their wisdom and capacity to turn words into life and life into words–and listen to my attempts at doing both, as well.
I thank God for every single human being who tells me their story, and reveals the ghosts of their soul, weekly in therapy. I pray always that God gives me the grace to get out of the way enough to help them the best He can, not just the best I can.
I thank God for everything I have and everything I don’t have–knowing that both teach me innumerable lessons.
And my concussed, dizzy, and aching head thanks my new inhaler for not making me pass out every time I breathe it in. I didn’t like the week of asthma “whip its” which, quite literally (from my vague teenage recollection of doing one of the dumbest drug options ever just the once–even at 16 I knew it was stupid) felt like doing actual “whip its”.
Who knew someone with asthma could be allergic to albuterol! It made me feel like the story of my friend’s cat…who was allergic to cats. You have to think it is some sort of hiccup of creation–except for, of course, the fact that through another anomaly of biology (which I am great at) I was able to value all the things I am thankful for in an intimate way.
So, thank you God for the greatest beauty hidden inside of the greatest burdens of life. Even if, like the cat, I am built to be allergic to myself.
Kathy Escobar provided a wonderful series on “rebuilding after deconstructing” which is a great guide, spiritual direction and formation all in one which gives people permission to stumble on the difficult road to faith which is evolving…
…And all the beautiful statements of love and unconditional compassion which came in the wake of the Catholic Church and their nuns issue as well as the gay rights/civil union issue. The beautiful capacity for so many people to speak their heart without damning everything and everyone else. Not that everyone is capable of this nuanced balance but I was so gladly surprised by the many that were.
My favorite posts to write were my series on “Unlikely Mothers” and the preceding post “Life in Utero: Finding God, Grace, Birth & Motherhood in Infertility”… http://www.crookedmystic.com/?p=677
A Final Thankful Prayer for Mercedes Rosaria Pineda de Martinez, who passed away last week forcreating FANA–the orphanage of my beginnings, the place of my naming, and where my known history began. Without her passion for helping the orphaned children of Colombia myself and my adopted sister (as well as 1000′s of others) might never have found a place to call home.