Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our Bending-Low Jesus

"Our Bending-Low Jesus"
I used this phrase at a friend's blog today
and somehow it bloomed up in my mind
and came out my mouth 
during my evening walk tonight.

I so easily forget how powerful our story is,
how remarkable.
Maybe it's the reflection I've been doing 
on the Cosmic Christ
the past few months,
 courtesy of my Catholic brothers and sisters.

Maybe it's the contrast of that image - 
the one I can hardly grasp,
the one that speaks of grandeur,
and Beyond-my-ken,
and Ground-of-Being hugeness -
the contrast of all that
with the picture we have of Jesus
in the pages of the gospel.

Jesus, who bows down in the dirt
and writes grace with his fingertips.
Jesus, who spits on that dirt
and packs it into blind eyes.
Jesus, who gets hungry,
and impatient with the ravages of sin,
and wonders if his friends will ever get it.
Who bends low for us.

My mother is with us for a few days.
And as I walk in the evenings,
I beg forgiveness for the many ways
I miss the mark when I am with her.
Impatience simmers,
sharpness surfaces,
tension rises until the air is heavy with it,
stagnant and fetid.
I am exhausted in ways I can't even describe - 
weary with worry, I suppose. 
I give her the thrice-a-day medicines,
I make sure she eats and drinks,
I do her small amount of laundry.
Yet so often,
my spirit is twisted,
almost angry about what's happening to her.
And I do not want to be angry.
She likes to walk out to our side yard,
to the spot where 
I watch from a polite distance,
as the grass is bumpy and she is unsteady.
She bends low, holding her knees,
speaking with words I cannot hear,
touching the metal angel I have placed there,
to mark the spot.
That simple movement is one of the
most achingly sad things I have ever watched.
Mothers should not have to bury their children.
Yet so many do.
So many do.

Mine did. 

Really, Lord?
So much loss!
Her husband, 
her grandson-in-law,
her vision,
her son,
and now . . . 
her mind, too?
How long, O Lord?
How long?
How much, O Lord?
How much? 

There are no answers to these cries,
none that suffice.

Except for this one:

Our bending-low Jesus.

And so I spread all the ugliness out there on the driveway
as I walk in circles in the deepening dusk.
I rue the words just behind my teeth,
the ones that don't come out,
but want to.
I offer them up, 
I beg for grace and then,
I see him.
Bending down in the dirt, 
he writes my name,
with the words 

And I am bent low.

1. The Risen Christ, on the wall of the chapel 
at the Monastery of the Risen Christ,
San Luis Obispo, CA
2. The angel which marks my brother's burial site.
3. A station of the cross in the chapel at the Mission Renewal Center,
Santa Barbara CA

Offering this at Michelle's place, Jen's Sisterhood and Ann's gratitude link-up. 
I may not count like she does, but I am deeply grateful nonetheless.