Monday, February 13, 2012

Waiting: How Long? How Hard?

 One of my favorite pictures from the last 'fun' trip we took with my mom - wildflower hunting in the spring of 2010. This is a little known reserve called
the Carrizo Plain, located in central CA, midway between Santa Maria & Bakersfield.

First, gut-level response?
Step into a hot, hot shower.
Let the water sting and pummel,
wash and re-wash every piece of me,
pounding and prickling, and rinsing it all away.
The sadness,
the creeping sadness, pervasive and thick;
that strange coating I feel as I walk from my car into the house.
A thick layer of 
The exhale that sticks to me with every breath my mother breathes these days.
The one that makes me cry,
"How long, O Lord?
How long?"
The one I know I must get used to;
that I need to learn to feel and endure the weight of,
perhaps even to welcome.

Because this is what is these days.
This is what is.
I do not like what is, that much is clear.
I resist it,
I resent it,
I rant to heaven about it,
I want it to go away.
I admit to ugly feelings of envy when I hear
of mothers who go home to Jesus forthwith,
with little disintegration,
little pain,
no sense of hopelessness,
of being forever lost.

I don't like these feelings in my spirit.
But I must face into them,
I must acknowledge this shadow side,
this hard wrestle with what is.
And I think,
in fact I know,
that God honors my honesty,
even as God asks for my acquiescence,
my gradual acceptance of this 'is-ness,'
this hard, steadily familiar reality.

She vacillates between delight at the sight of me
and despair that she cannot remember I was coming.
One minute, smiling and expectant,
the next, weeping and lost.
Appetite declining,
back aching from a fall,
hiding out in her new apartment far too many evening meals.

With me beside her, she ventures out,
 proud to introduce me to her friends.
Her natural extroversion carries her,
the steadiest, surest her.
It brings her momentarily back to the surface 
and she engages friends well,
using social skills honed over years of practice.
Back in her room,
her shoulders visibly slump,
a loud sigh escapes,
releasing pent up sorrow and fear.

And I wonder,
how long will she be in this never land,
this in-between space of who she was
and who she is becoming?
How long will we enjoy even a piece
of who she was
in the middle of who she is?

And I know the word is still 'waiting.'
And I still don't like it very much.
But I'm here, Lord.
Still leaning,
still looking for glimmers of that shine I'm seeking.
But a shower was what I needed tonight.
What I may still need for a long, long time.

I am finding that I need to write about all this inner tumbling, this distress and nascent anger. I am prayerfully hoping that what I am feeling is akin to the 'indignation' (sometimes translated 'compassion') that Jesus is described as exhibiting several times in the gospel record. Each of those times featured a confrontation with illness/darkness/death and the word seems to indicate the depth of Jesus' sadness at the results of the sin and brokenness in this world of ours. And the ravages caused by these self-eating brain disorders are surely among the hardest of those results. Kyrie eleison.

I don't think what I've written here is exactly right for joining with most of my Monday bunch. The last two days have surely not been a playdate, nor are they particularly centered on place. Nor are they filled with the wonder of 'God-Bumps,' nor are they reflections on Sunday worship. And they wouldn't fit very well with Ann's gratitude list, either. So I will link with Jen at the sisterhood and Heather at "Just Write" and leave it at that for now.
Back again on Friday morning, deciding to add this into Bonnie Gray's invitation to be "Vulnerable" this week. This one is about as vulnerable as I've gotten in a while, so maybe it will fit there. I'm thinking this is a topic most people don't want to read about - it cuts too close, maybe? But believe me, it happens to all of as at some point...and we're never quite ready for it.