Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Catching up

As Lent began I had a renewed desire and intention to return to the writing of my blog. I've missed writing regularly and being connected to those who read. Alas, this is the 1st I've written since the Lenten season began. I've simply had little desire write, and honestly, many other things I truly enjoy. In the last couple of weeks, I've become increasingly aware of an inner restlessness. Most days I don't feel especially centered or grounded; though I may be very productive and feel as if my day went well. I've noticed a reluctance to be still or quiet for any substantial period of time. I flit and flutter from one thing to another whether it be physical or only in my head. At a deep level, or perhaps just intellectually, I know what this is. It's familiar; I've been here before. It's grief. Plain and simple, good old-fashioned grief. Last week marked 3 months since my dear friend's passing. It was around the 2 month mark that the veil of surrealism began to lift. His absence was beginning to feel wickedly real. I speak of him often, and even do things to intentionally honor or remember him. Done, perhaps, without the full attention of my heart. In the last week or so, I've felt this resistance to reality harder to keep at bay. Tears creep through for no particular reason, or at the occurrence of something completely benign, such as our college alma mater reaching the Sweet 16 round of Men, and Women's College Basketball Tournament. I went through a similar grief process after my father died. There was a period of time that was restless, and a time of feeling very paralyzed. So, I know what to expect. I know what to expect. Knowing and embracing are worlds apart.

I also have to acknowledge that this loss coincides with other grief in my life. I think I will withhold the fine details here, but just to say that I feel the grief of a lifelong dream that has not yet become reality. And conventional wisdom would say that I am in the twilight of seeing my dream come true. This, too, is a reality ( in most moments) I choose not to fully feel. But the very marrow of my existence knows my loss, my longings and my sadness; even if my mind refuses to acknowldge.

The Lenton season is, in part, a reminder of desert times. This metaphor is not lost in my life right now. I suppose there isn't much to do in the desert but just be. Wandering? Yes. Searching? Yes. Nothing that seemingly sustains? Yes. Yet, this place serves a necessary purpose. I don't know much about ecology, but I suspect the deserts throughout the earth serve a purpose for all life. Somehow the earth would be adversely affected were it not for these barren lands. And so, I trust God that this is surely true in my life.

I was reading this morning from one of my favorite prayer books, The Celtic Wheel of the Year. It tapped yet another little crack in this defense I've been carrying.

Deep down and darkly down, there you are
there in the core where the world turns,
here in my marrow where no one sees.
May I feel your touch in my flesh,
especially when I seem to have no skin.
May I feel your strength in my muscle,
especially when I have no fight.
May I feel you down to my bones,
when I can come no other way.
Go beyond my bones when all has run dry.
May you remain there at the seat of my deepest desire,
present when I have forgotten my passion,
Be my comfort and my stay as I move through the world this day.

O,Vunerable One who hears our cry,
be with each person this day who is wandering their own lonely desert.
Encircle with your love
those who know there are no short-cuts,
who cannot go round but must go through.
Thank you that we do not get to the garden,
until we have travelled through this featureless barren terrain.
For this is not a detour for the unlucky,
but the touching bottom of being alive,
where we must reckon with what is.

When all seems hollow bless me.
When all seems broken bless me.
When you seem like a mirage bless me.
When I know you are not there bless me.
When I do not care if you are, bless me.
Take me unkempt face in your hands,
smudged and grimy from the road
and stroke your blessing into my features,
for you will never turn away a broken spirit.