In a religious culture that taught me I was a worm, a wretch, a sinner undeserving of God's love, compassion, and forgiveness, I had no problem believing that, when God looked at me, all God saw was my filth, my brokenness, and my utter irreparability. I was shit, and despite my best efforts, that was never going to change.
Moment after moment, my YES became louder, stronger, and more resolved. I did not go to Synod with many expectations. I certainly did not anticipate the Spirit opening me up in the ways she did. Nor did I anticipate the overwhelming experience of being loved and welcomed that came my way. But this is who God is, and this is how She works.
However, another rope has been lowered in front of me via therapy and residency, slowly and over several months. It's a rope made up of my strength and courage and resilience, of my worthiness of love and affection, of my ability to meet my own needs or to have them met by others around me. It's made up of my okay-ness when a relationship ends or transitions into something else.
There is a time and a place for gratitude, for thanksgiving. There is also a time and a place for mourning and sorrow, for anger and pain. I'm glad that I get to help make space for the latter, for people to simply feel what they feel without judgment or condemnation. Next time you think of saying the words, "Be grateful," ask yourself, "Would I be grateful right now if I were in their shoes, if I felt their pain?"
YOU WILL LOSE SOMEONE YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT,AND YOUR HEART WILL BE BADLY BROKEN, AND THE BAD NEWS IS THAT YOU NEVER COMPLETELY GET OVER THE LOSS OF YOUR BELOVED. BUT THIS IS ALSO THE GOOD NEWS. THEY LIVE FOREVER IN YOUR BROKEN HEART THAT DOESN’T SEAL BACK UP. AND YOU COME THROUGH. IT’S LIKE HAVING A BROKEN LEG THAT NEVER HEALS PERFECTLY—THAT STILL HURTS WHEN THE WEATHER GETS COLD, BUT YOU LEARN TO DANCE WITH THE LIMP. — ANNE LAMOTT
...I know, I know. Jesus never really left. What is it the fundamentalist Evangelicals say? "If you feel far from God, God isn't the one who moved." Well maybe that's true. Maybe God doesn't walk away on God's anthropomorphized feet. But since I decided to leave the United Methodist Church and its ordination process in the fall of 2012, God has felt anything but near (save a few exceptions). Recently, however, it feels like God has shown back up... or at least Jesus has.
There are days where I miss Nanny desperately. There are moments where the reality that I will never meet my birth father in this life sets in and I feel something similar to Mack's Great Sadness settle on top of me. There are times where my own brokenness is so tangible that I barely want to leave the bed. Yet in each of these instances, I somehow find God holding onto me, refusing to let go.
I lost the Jesus who is overly concerned with how people identify themselves, with labels or monikers, with inside or outside. I lost the Jesus who thinks that holiness is black and white with clear cut answers and definite rights and wrongs. I lost the Jesus who demands to be white and handsome and flawless. I lost the Jesus who is obsessed with being involved in politics when politics are more concerned with my rights than they are with your needs. I lost the Jesus who has little grace for those who, for one reason or another, find His story less compelling than that of someone else, say Buddha or Mohammed.
Next time you notice yourself waiting, in whatever form it takes place, pay close attention to yourself, your feelings, your breath, and your body. Take note of your thoughts and what effect they have on you. Think about your support system: how are the people you love and who love you waiting alongside you? What strength do they offer, and what gifts do you give in return? Here's the thing: waiting is a universal experience.