A friend of mine talks about the season of grief she went through when her husband died as a long journey to the very end of herself. It was a lonely, tear-streaked place, where she was a sobbing, angry mess.
That was me Tuesday morning, though not over my own husband. We had gone to bed Monday night talking about the dear friend we had lost that evening. Hubs was off to work already when I awoke to the reality that cancer had won again. And I rehearsed again the list of people still at some stage of treatment that I don’t want to lose. And the list of people it had stolen too soon. I started to cry, my heart sad and heavy.
And pretty soon, I realized there was a lot of sadness in there, crying out for attention. Sadness over loss that I had been too busy or too prideful to sit with it at the time.Sadness over the pain my sisters and brothers of color and in the LGBTQ community have experienced and my own complicity in a culture that oppresses. Sadness over friendships that aren’t over, but have waned for a season (as they do). Even sweet FredDog made an appearance in the list of things to be sad about.
And then the big one kicked in… without warning, as it does. The pain that I keep locked away in a side box, right next to the boxes filled with worry and fear and anger over this particular broken relationship, broke loose.
I could not stop crying. For the hour or so that I normally spend gathering myself and my stuff to go to work, all I could do was lay on the bed, sobbing. I finally ran out of tissues and made myself climb in the shower, where at least I could just let the tears and the snot mix with the water.
When I climbed out, the phone pinged. A friend, asking what I was up to (thinking I was already at the office). It didn’t take long for the truth to go tumbling into a string of texts. My wise friend asked the right questions. And reminded me that no, I wasn’t alone. No, I’m not all those things that the horrible lying voice that lives down close to the end of me says. No, I didn’t have to stop crying or go to the office or be responsible if I needed to take care of myself.
And so I did. I took care of myself, for a change. I asked for an extension on a project. I did the few things that needed done right then. And then I stopped.
Wednesday was better. Thursday I was back to whatever passes for normal these days.
About 12:15 today, I walked out to the tables where our neighbors who come to our church for hot lunch each Friday sit and eat. I introduced myself as the pastor. I told them I wanted to provide communion today. And then I asked if anyone might want to stay for a bit. I barely got the question out before a dozen heads were nodding.
It was a lovely meal together. They prompted me through the words of institution and tore off great healthy chunks of the Bread of Life. They were re-membered into the Body as they shared from the same cup that our Sunday congregation uses. As was I.
A woman stopped on her way out afterward and grabbed me for thank you hug. It morphed into a long sweaty, sobbing embrace. I found myself saying the words I had so desperately needed to hear earlier this week – God sees you. God weeps with you. God loves you.
Broken on Tuesday, breaking bread on Friday. Isn’t that just like Jesus, making things come back around?
Oh beloved child of God, remember whose you are.