Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lost and Found

I am back.
Returned.

I want to whoop and sigh and dance and weep. I have been through a Valley. With a capital V. It has honestly felt like a journey of Tolkian ilk; certainly not a vacation. Not a respite but a workout of body mind and spirit.

And it has taken years.
Years of screaming in the darkness,
I. Still. Need. You. God.
Dont leave me, here. Alone

A long time ago when the heaviness was just beginning I was walking down a isolated lane. Surrounded by green trembling leaves and arched cathedral trees. When gently but sorrowfully a Voice said,
It is going to get worse before it gets better.

What?
What does that mean? I am daily seeking your Face, Lord, daily asking for intervention and your mercy. I feel the darkness coming. I need assurance and love.
I need you to Fix. This.
I cant take much more. And all you can say is buckle up, buttercup?
I was petrified.
And boy did it get worse.

The attack began on what I could see and touch. I came a hair's breadth away from loosing all my material things; house, car, income. My lifestyle of staying home, volunteering at church, homeschooling my kids, chauffeuring them around was very likely going to crumble to pieces.
I was beyond terrified and I clung to God.

No. That's a lie. I really began to walk away from Him.

Not that anyone would have been able to see it. I still was very active in church. I still prayed with my children and diligently taught them God's Word. I still worshiped and went on retreats. But in my spirit I was mad and hurt.
God did get my family out of a pickle. But it was not a long term fix. I knew that in my core; that there was a malignancy that was hiding away just under the surface. I was able to keep my house and the income did rebound. For a while I was able to stay home with my kids.
Itt slowly began to unravel again.
And my anger and bitterness prospered more than anything else.
It was righteous anger in my mind. I had been wronged and hurt by those I loved and trusted the most. I was justified in my cancerous thoughts and flailing rage.
To those who knew me then, you might be surprised. Maybe you wont be. I thought I hid it very well. I hid it from my self quite successfully. I was the victim, hurt by family friends and God. And I could easily show you with Scripture how I was right and they were wrong.

Then it all really went crazy.
This time the attack wasn't on my finances, my house, my car, my lifestyle. It was an outright personal attack against me, my husband, my children. When I say attack I don't mean like an eagle seizing a trout. I mean like a terrorist flying a plane into my soul.
Suddenly I was alone. Just me and the Lord. My husband was slipping away. My family thinning and weak. And I knew what I had to do this time. I jumped into God like a swimmer leaping from a burning boat into the ocean. I served Him with my whole heart. Bitterness was gone. Anger was gone. I abandoned everything to follow where He would lead. I wanted only God's healing, I would obey whatever He said.
Then it got better.

No. Then it got worse.
My husband was completely gone and life as I knew it was never going to be the same again.
The ocean I had plunged into had become a crashing sea of boiling waves. I was very certainly going to go down and not make it up again. My whole adult life was dedicated to being a Christian, a Wife and a Mother. And now that reality had disappeared in a vapor, my core identity was being blown to pieces. So in this tumultuous sea of turmoil I did what any child of God would do. I began to learn how to turn over on my back and float. I saw what it was like to realize how to give up the struggle. I had spent the last year repairing my heart before the Lord and I was ready to turn it all over to Him. At the absolute critical moment.
Don't be fooled. That choice to float rather than struggle was a minute by minute struggle to keep going. A whole year of repair work. A year of reconstructive surgeries. Graft after graft. Stitch after stitch.

New life began to open up. But anyone who knows anything about recovery knows every single hiccup can put you right back in the ER. My husband, in humility before the Lord, took my hand and we began to see what God had in mind all along. We tried to pick up every piece that the tornado had scattered. But you cant pick up every one and somethings just cant be glued back together. A new thing had to begin.
But I wasn't me.
I had lost myself in the chaos. I had entered this millennium as a mother of a preschooler and a two rapidly growing boys. A SAHM who was more often than not in church. I was now an empty nester who needed to find a job. I had no idea who I was. I tried to find the edge pieces. You know, the beginning pieces to the 5,000 piece puzzle. The flat edges of Truth. The Corners of God, Faith, Trust, Peace.

Just when I had begun to punch the destination in the GPS that would lead me to my new career, my mother fell ill. Just three months after my dad had died my mom went for surgery and never left the hospital.
That is a journey I am still processing a year later.

But today.
Today, I went for a long walk. I saw brilliant May skies and liquid lavender wild flowers. I wanted to speak kindly. I was excited to hear from Jesus and to follow His next adventure. I thought with schoolgirl love of my husband at work. I opened my hand and cast my grown children to God's care. I felt purposeful. And maybe even happy. Certainly peaceful and suddenly, there I was.

I was back. The vulnerable girl of 8
the gawky 18
the unteachable 25
the tender 33
the chaotic angry 48
suddenly all merged into me again.
I am back. Whole. And I'm finally able to live again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Damascus


The sun crushes my vision. I duck my head and squint, Saul like, and grimace at the irony of my prayer, 
Speak Lord. 
My heart snatches back at the prayer. Perhaps too reckless, too bold. But as I keep moving down the city street, obediently, mechanically walking to the hospital I know I need- beyond the word itself- beyond any previous meaning of need that I have ever known- I need to hear from Him.

Inside the giant bully of a building a small frail 72 year old woman helplessly waits. Unable to speak for the trach in her neck, unable to lift depleted limbs, unable to calm a fluttering heart, at the mercy of man, medicine, and my signatures of consent- she waits.

So I need answers.
The Mind of God. All knowing- past yesterday and beyond tomorrow.
Answers to the implications of an unknown future. Answers that die in certainty and do not live in my doubts, my dreams, my daytime business. When only one name fits on the line to sign away misgivings it is a very lonely thing. Even consulting doesn't add another place for a signature on a surgical consent, blood consent, procedure consent... Life and death by my name like the Queen of Hearts.

And the weariness. I know I must exude weariness like a perfume cloud. I am so saturated with it- it must leak out of me, through my porous bones into my thinning skin. I cover it with oils that mean to revive and calm but I know; I reek of tired.

My mind snatches at words, trying to hold the clarity and purpose of
Vasopressor, Dialysis, Tube-feeds, Epinephrine, PEEPS, Atrial Fibrillation,
Med Line, Tidal Volumes, TPN, A Lines, OT, PT, Creatinine, Transfusion,
Palliative Care,
DNR.
I must know them all. And know what to say when the doctor's monologue ends with the inevitable...

“Do you have any questions?”

Questions?
My, oh, my do I have questions.
Questions that would make you back away from the sheer raw pain.
Why is first.
Why?
It is a rare complication. Why her? Why now? Why are you so kind, Doctor, and so compassionate, so smart, so able to save and heal others but not my mother?
Why.

and How.
How do we know this is what “Needs to be done” ? How can she ever get out of this hospital that has held her here these 4 months? How does she who has been silent for 17 weeks speak again? How do I see beyond this bed that has become her ship in stormy seas. How do I remember health? How do I keep on making pictures of recovery and normal everyday life to distract her vision away from the endless tubes and needles?
How.

When will hope return?
Who will she be when we reach the end. A sinner saved by grace- welcomed in peace and freedom from pain. Or will she be broken and forever walled in by machines. Life outside the window forever removed and out of reach. Alive enough to live, sick enough to die.


My feet ache from the walk, the long walk to go from me to my mother. And I selfishly gather the pain and rub my sadness into it. But larger than my inconveniences is her need.
So I walk I to the hospital,
elevator,
floor,
hallway,
and her room.

I walk into her need.
Larger than life- than my life- larger than everything
and pray God speaks.

Damascus words. Of love

and life.  

Tryst



It is light outside my closed eyes
It is light mid the midnight
She sings a siren song
louder still now against the snow
not absorbed by the flat white
but reflected
bounced
and pounced
like a self absorbed cat
heedless of my need for sleep
she calls
my sister moon
my lunar daughter
begs me awake
to admire her
lumosity
her sensuous embrace
her winter kiss

I have never in the day
loved and known such lure
as the blue sylvian
glide that draws
me in this deep night
as the curved silver
lunar girl
my sister moon
My fragile soul was born from her light
my thin heart
a paper copy
crumpled reflection

Some nights she seeks
me on my pillow
her eye cast on my dark head
her smooth hand brushes
my slumbering cheek
and curls inside my flesh

I cannot sleep
we must speak
the silence of the night
she brings me
with no fear
she shows me only now
only breathe
and my interlaced stacked up
mess of life and obligation
untwists in the shadows
of winter twigs on azure pillows of frost and ice
Untwist
Uncurl

My breath craves the
enchanted allure of wet damp air
the healing of breathing
moon drenched
midnight breaths
fill my lungs with trust
to
catch and hold aloft my dreams