Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ruth Strackany

When I first read the lectionary passages for this day, I felt admittedly uninspired. I could relate to Israels wandering away from God. I understood Gods dismay for Israels unfaithfulness and welcomed his mercy upon those who return to him. I believe he deserves our commitment, celebration, and gratitude for all of the wonderful gifts he has given us. I believe all of those things. But somehow, as I was reading these passages, I could not connect with them. I did not feel moved in the easy way I had hoped I would.

Yet there were a few verses that stuck with me and kept coming back to mind, that moved me in light of recent events in my life.

Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. [] Let me dwell in your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of your wings. (Psalms 61: 1-2, 4)

My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. [] Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62, 1-2,8)

This is where my heart is today. I have felt loss. I know pain. And by know I mean I REALLY KNOW pain. And yet, I am stumped as a dear friend of mine is currently facing the greatest pain I can imagine the loss of her child. I keep thinking I cannot imagine her pain, but when I am honest with myself I can. It really is as dark and horrible and life-draining as I imagine it to be. And it is hers. It is all she can see right now. It is all encompassing. A darkness that has set over her life, with just one thought repeating in her mind. How could this happen?

What can I say in the face of this pain? I have asked myself this question countless times. What can I offer? Even prayers seem futile in some way. What are we praying for? Healing? Peace? Comfort?

Certainly those. But what about right now? What can I offer in THIS moment, where healing has not occurred, peace is not present, and comfort has not been received?

I can offer presence. I can offer communion to commune with her in her pain. To be fully present without trying to move her along in this journey she is now on, without trying to remove her from her pain; instead to offer myself fully IN her pain, to be at her side in the midst of it. Not flinching, not eager to leave. I can commune with her in the presence of her pain and pray that God will be our refuge. Our rock, that holds us together, when we fear we may fall apart. Our safe place, where we may be unable to undo harm, but where we can be vulnerable and face the woundedness that is within this moment, as it is at some point along the path for each of us.

I have come to find this is what Lent is to me this season. This year the journey is not so much solely mine, but it is a journey of community.

A journey or a season of presence.

Of communing with others, and in that presence realizing we are communing with God.

He is already there, he is our refuge.


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