Sunday, October 4, 2015

The encouragement of light against our beings

Several weeks ago, I found this quote by Haifz titled "It Felt Love:"

did the rose
ever open its heart

and give this world
all its

It felt the encouragement of light
against its being.

we all remain



I wrote it down and kept it laying around so I would stumble across it occasionally.  I tend to do this when I find words I think might be important for me to remember.

I have found myself without words for the past two weeks.  For a week, that was literal -- laryngitis set in hardcore and very nearly drove me crazy.  More than that, though, I have been unable to write.  I have 3 paragraphs written, from different times, all trying to say the same thing, none of which went anywhere.  I wanted to write.  I knew I needed to write.  But in spite of me showing up -- and staying at -- the page, no words came.

I know why.  The answer to this is glaringly obvious.  I just haven't known what to do about it.  Remember that situation I wrote about?  The one that is making me feel small, and scared, and stepped on?  It still isn't resolved.  And there are other layers layering on, as layers are wont to do.  There are steps, and I am taking them, slowly, but it is hard to take steps when one feels small and scared and stepped on. 

This isn't my body's first time at the small, scared, and stepped on rodeo.  This isn't my first time needing to find the courage to stand up to situations and people and institutions making me feel small and scared and stepped on.  And, oh, my body hates this place.  It panics, and it gets sick, and it has a hard time breathing, and it decides that, maybe, if we respond with enough ridiculous intensity, the feeling will go away.  It doesn't work.  I don't recommend it.  The only thing that does is serve to make you feel really, really tired. 

My brain is smart and rational.  My body -- well --she's just trying to protect me, as misguided as her steps may be.  But my brain tries to do the right thing.  I try to face it head on.  I try to put words to it.  I try to reach out and talk to people, even if just to say "Hi.  I don't know what to say, but I need to touch another human right now." And because of or in spite of that, people -- my people -- my church people -- have been there.  They have reminded me over, and over, and over again in direct and indirect ways "you are not alone."  "You are loved."  "You are worthy, and badass, and okay, in spite of feeling a decided lack of okayness."

Anyway, I went to church this morning, and I was tired, and grumpy, and didn't much feel like talking to people.  It feels like there are tethers tying down my typically buoyant heart, and I need some quiet to figure out if I want to try to loosen those knots.  I spotted a friend sitting in the back, and I joined her.  She's someone I know I can just be quiet around.

But then the service started, and by the time we sang the first hymn (Spirit of Life, a cappella, which will hit you in the heart with raw truthiness on a good day), I realized I was probably in trouble.

See, I don't cry in front of people.  I don't cry by myself.  I can count on two hands the number of people I have ever trusted enough to cry around.  And, aside from a worship service at General Assembly and the movie of "The Fault In Our Stars," (because, holy crap, who didn't cry at that movie?), I don't cry at events.  I just don't.

Except for today when I did.  And not just a little bit.  Like, a lot.  Like, the fucking tears just kept falling because the minister just kept saying words, and the more words she said, the more she touched that voiceless, aching place in my soul.  Those words poked right at the grieving, aching part of me as if to say, "hey, this?  You know this part right here?  This hurting achy place?  We see that, and know that, and hold that, too."

And then, just as I stopped crying, the whole stupid sermon spoke right into THE place -- that cavernous place that feels like alone, and unworthy, and unlovable that has been threatening to overtake me.  The words echoed into that hole, saying "even in this place right here, you are loved.  You are not alone.  Even in this place where you feel most lost, you are seen and loved, if only because we know those lost, and dark, and achy places, too."

Then we were supposed to sing again, and I couldn't, and my friend put her arm around me until I slowly composed myself enough to, at least, start wondering exactly how much makeup had run down my face.  

The thing about love like this is that it surprises you, and it scares the shit out of you, and it hurts.  It hurts like that moment when you move the foot you've been sitting on and it feels numb, and tingly, and stiff, even as it welcomes all the blood flooding into it.  It hurts, and its uncomfortable, and you want it to stop, even as you know this sensation is exactly what you need.

I imagine that's what the rose feels when she opens to the light, isn't it? She feels love.  She must.  Otherwise, she never would have opened.  She would have remained too frightened.

As I was leaving, a new friend -- someone I love to sing next to in choir but do not know very well -- gave me a hug and the most simple and profound act of kindness and generosity one person can give to another.  It surprised me in that same way -- in the life flooding into the achy part way.  "I love you," she said.

And that.


That is how we do this thing, isn't it?

We work like hell to find the places we will be loved, and then, on the bad days when we are hurting, and broken, and feel alone and unlovable with all of our broken, sharp, and cracking parts, we show up and let the scab be ripped off.  We let ourselves cry in church, we open ourselves to vulnerability, and we let others breathe love into those cavernous hurting places.  We name the darkness that threatens to overtake us, we let others tell us we are worthy and loved and -- even if just for a moment -- we let ourselves feel it.

We feel the encouragement of light against our beings.

We have to.

Otherwise, we would surely all remain too frightened.

(For what it's worth, if you're reading this: I love you). 

1 comment:

  1. I saw this late. I love you. It's worth a lot. (both ways!)