Monday, May 25, 2015

You alone

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

I'm sitting here this morning quite heavy again, Lord. Every part of my body feels as if it weighs so much. I'm trying to lift my spirit to You, but everything takes so much effort. Lately, I've been running just on what I know, what I have experienced of You in the past, because reaching You now, while so heavy, seems ... not possible.

I open a journal I had with me on Good Friday of this year. I read the words of a poem I started to write:

Where is Your human heart, O Lord?
Does it still beat? Does it still break?
Do Your eyes shed tears? Does Your brow still sweat?
Does Your stomach still knot and ache?
I think so, and for us, what a call --
We're to reflect this Your victory:
Though our moment's pain does make us pause,
It is that empty tomb we're to urge everyone to see!
For reality outfits this metaphor
And stuffs with meaning every human skin
Bidding us, with Your grace, to raise ourselves,
Open heaven's door and come right in.

I drag this heaviness up to You, Lord, and heave it at Your feet. If it is Your will that I keep it a bit longer, I will do so (and I think it is!). So I hoist it up upon my back and proceed with what I know -- there's something I must discover in this weight, some treasure I must find for myself or for another.

So, what must I do? I must reflect upon this weight and watch for You. Eventually, I will find the message I'm to learn. I won't give up, Lord. I may complain to You (and about You!), but I know better. I echo Peter's words at Your question, "Do you wish to leave also?" --

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life."

You alone. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

You know just what to do

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

A friend often cautions me:  "Don't project how you would feel in that situation onto them."  And she is so right. How I would feel -- coming from an abusive background, one with Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome in it -- is far different than what someone of concern to me might be feeling. The degree of loneliness, abandonment, fear, anger is, most likely, far less than my projections. I take what is familiar to me and apply it to others, and that is not always an accurate picture.

We all do this. We take our experiences and see our surroundings through them. To have a mom not show up to pick up a child could be no big deal to the child -- or it could be devastating. To the child who has never been "left," Mom coming an hour late is no big deal; but to the one who knows Mom never came back "before," a caregiver being an hour late causes great alarm.

For me, my alarm bells go off quite easily. That "fight or flight" reflex that was on so much when I was growing up, doesn't just get turned off in adulthood because the trauma is over. We have to learn how to go within and turn it off. This is an instance of the abuse having a physiological effect that reaches far beyond the actual events of abuse themselves. And it sucks, Lord.

Whereas most of my adult life has been spent around those whose pasts were unlike mine, now, however, I will be around those who are suffering from unhealthy situations. Still, my friend's advice is appropriate -- I don't know how they feel. If they are coming for help, for intervention at this stage, it is a good sign -- no one caught on to what I was going through; intervention was never sought.

Strengthen me, Lord. Let me not be so scared for this person, so overwhelmed with concern for that one. Remind me You are taking care, and my job is to listen, to see, to be a light for these people You bring my way. Now I get to be for them what no one was for me -- someone who sees what they are going through and will stick around to help and to care. And just as You surrounded me with Your presence, so, too, are You working within their lives.

It doesn't depend upon me. I'm not the Savior here. You are, and You know just what to do.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Be Lord for them!

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

This Sunday we have planned and practiced -- the youth will follow a dancer in the entrance procession: they are to be "flowers" that bloom when picked by her as she goes up the aisle. It is a lovely thought, Lord, but how will it play out?

I know some of these kids think this embarrassing, silly. They feel self-conscious. Adults do too in such circumstances. We all too willingly give in to the fear of judgment. We pay far too much attention to that. We lose sight of what we're doing for You.

Why is it that Your presence is just so hard to grasp? We tend to look down upon them, but our ancestors had a far better grasp on Your presence than do we! They knew You were there, right there, in their midst! They knew You saw, You heard, You acted. How else could they use such metaphors as seeing a burning bush, being thrown into the belly of a whale, tongues of fire coming down to rest on each disciple's head? They experienced You.

O Lord, let us be so conscious of Your presence! You have not changed. You have not moved back from us. You are as near to us as You were to them. It is we who have moved back, covered our faces, our eyes, our ears. We second-guess the sound of Your voice. We question the mastery of our universe and call its creation chance.

Little by little, Lord, draw us back toward You! Speak to these children as they step toward You this Sunday. Pull them, Lord! May they not sit back down before they experience You in some way, and may this experience be the spark that begins to burn within them, the burn that propels them toward You, the call they cannot turn away from but must investigate, explore, and become engulfed by: You, Lord, be Lord for them!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We're even more blessed?

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Just how close do we get to come to You, Lord, while still living in our mortal bodies? Do some speak with You freely, having learned how to hear You just as clearly as we do one another? Do some never doubt Your Spirit's urgings? Do some just know when the voice is Yours?

You said people were blessed to see You as You walked around in human form. Well, that's an understatement! But, You also said, we who believe without seeing You, we're even more blessed. Just what do You mean by that? This implies that blessing is a currency, sort of, yes? And just what can we "buy" with this currency?!

I am reminded of Your parable, the one about the sums of money given to your servants. Two invested and got bigger returns, and the third buried what he was given. So, too, with this blessing? We cannot just keep it. Kept blessing is no blessing. Just like hoarded food, it will rot on its own. We must use it. We must take it out for a spin and see what it can do!

Show us how to use this blessing we have, Lord! It is no small gift. It is not to be taken lightly! It is not to be set on a pedestal and stared at. It's supposed to get dirty. Show us, Lord. Each of us is to pick it up and fan it into flame! You who prayed before You suffered -- "I've come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now!" (Luke 12:49) -- now get to see us work with Your flame. May we rise to do so, Lord! May none of us miss this blessing!