“OKAY, WOMAN, CAN YOU BE HERE NOW?”
~ dedicated to the life of Alan LaPointe
Whew – quite a month. 9/8/17-10/8/17 is one for my own personal books. Alert: This is a very intimate writing; and those who do write, create art, allow music to move through them or other, we know, this expression is many times our only way, our innate vehicle of exposing and moving our emotions. One may say sharing the discomfort, but I do not see it as a deliberate intention of sharing pain; but a joint venture in witnessing.
i consider when Jesus was riding into Jerusalem for the last supper, knowing his contractual fate, being witnessed.
i consider Jesus at the crucifixion, being judged, adored and witnessed.
i consider when Jesus was seen by Saul/Paul on the road to Damascucs – being witnessed from the tomb.
All these witnessing’s involved being RAISED up. Saul became Paul in his Holy Instant journey from one who hated and was willing to kill against Jesus to a believer, a devotee; having seen and witnessed such radiant Light of the Christ.
There are moments where the simple awareness that this story is each of our journeys makes PERFECT amazing sense to me. Comforting, perfect, elegant sense. We travel through our humanness, from our fears, our rigidness; to being broken open by the Light, fractured through Love; as we are in the witnessing of ones body dying, making the transition home.
I see how each one of us, in our raw humanness, from those living a monastic intentional or not life to those in so much emotional pain they choose toting guns in the streets and seeing that shooting & killing is the only answer they can feel in that moment; how each of us are ‘attempting’ to ‘deal’ with our perceptions of life.
The way I ‘deal” is through my faith. Some days I have to dig deeper than usual, but I gratefully admit, my faith always gets me there, that space of whatever it is I am seeking relief from.
It may not seem fair, on one hand, to knowingly verbally express, what some may see as whining, to the public view. As a minister & counselor, I certainly do encourage others to not hold it in, do not let it pile up inside, let’s support you to express. Okay, i am taking my turn, my turn to be witnessed.
First off, I am shutting myself off from the outside world, the best I am able today. ( A friend arrives this afternoon for the night…but I trust I have enough time, to find that space...) In all vulnerability, I am not good at this, this shutting down just for my own benefit. I will always answer a call. First message on my phone this day was of another acquaintance making their transition. I should not have looked. He was a very good man, beloved my family, church & friends, lived a full life, a blessing to everyone he met, and now with his beloved wife who we all have no doubt was waiting for him. But, for me, i should not have looked. For me, it was one more in a month of so many souls going home, my heart is fractured open, now into pieces. So, I shut my phone off, to try to encourage some sense of solitude and interior traveling. A way to set boundaries and see my way back to myself. Thankfully it is a rainy morning here in our neck of the woods. Perfect for sitting on our back porch, windows open and allowing the rain, the wet trees and the birds to serenade me. ….while i write. This space brings me immense comfort. I am certainly in need of some, so this is good.
Clergy interact with death & dying. It is part of the package. It is a part I have always felt deeply privileged to be invited to. Families allowing an outsider to guide them, support them, and celebrate with them. It is when our hearts are most vulnerable, when our rawness allows for more opening, when the veil is so thin, the radiance of Holy Spirit so bright – and love, so palpable. After 30 years of being welcomed to witnessing this journey with families, friends & beloveds; I remain in awe of the indwelling gratitude I carry.
The most excruciating facet of being with death & dying is each person remains with you. They become a part of me, a speck of my beingness. A piece of their story, the gratitude in their spouses eyes, the pain on their children’s faces, the joy their friends expressed at the feast – and the stories shared at a wake. And last night, when i left a friends home, and the final view i was privileged to witness; was his wife, his daughter, her fiancee, his son, his wife; all sitting around him, pouring love & prayer on him, as he lay in his hospice bed, in the twilight silence of their home, their life and his journey.
So, my month began on the anniversary of my father’s death twenty one years ago, 9/8, with three people I know being murdered. The feelings I had around this knowledge is absolutely nothing compared to what their family is dealing with. Nothing. But and yet, at one time in my life; I knew them, loved them and cared for them. They were a speck of my journey. They were a part of my tapestry. And I felt it. I had a tribe of folks who knew I knew them, who needed to express, to talk, to ask and futally attempt to see sense in the senseless.
The month evolved from there, with one of my husbands best friends in hospice. Then, old friends, acquaintances, dying. Many times two a day. Yes, multiple. Expected and not. A dear friends husband making his way home, and they welcomed me to be supportive of them with hugs, tears, presence and prayers. Then there were the clients in my practice who came for grief support. Many. It has been an every single day occurrence; for one month. (In these moments, I FULLY understand why priests in movies (yes, and life) had a housekeeper & kept a perfectly aged bottle in the desk.)
But, what IS IT exactly that is fracturing us? I believe in life eternal. What is it that is overflowing and breaking open the mold I was immediately before I heard yet another announcement? The love. It is the LOVE we witness. Only love can create such craters of emptiness within our hearts. And yes, only love can fill them.
Can you contemplate that the tears one sheds when by a hospice bed are not about the dying; but are our hearts overflowing with the LOVE we are aware of?
In addition there is the collective grief we are each feeling in our world, in this time of horrific and unfathomable natural events and outward fear expressed in each and made commercially newsworthy through the lack of integrity – in some.
I am not whining, I think I am just saying, it has been a doozie! Too many coincidences of dates, happenings, to list here. My own personal belief system being challenged, my own faith starring me in the face saying; okay, can you be HERE now? (I hear the ole black church ladies from my tapestry looking at me in their Sunday hats, wagging fingers at me; You can do this, Deborah, YOU can do this, stomp the devil down girl, dance and get on, you can do this! Come on, they say……. follow us.)
No, today i cannot my loves. Today i will wallow. Today I will light candles in my home, play my CD from my friend ‘Shelia from Ireland’…….in her enchanting brouge and song, pulling the tears up from my gut — so i CAN get on with it. And I will get on with it, I always do; as my husband logically reminds me.
I will think about my faith. I think about how it is my belief that only our bodies die and our souls thrive and live on. For me, this is a fact. Yet, in that moment that a loved one or a loved one of a loved one transitions home to God, being an empath & sensitive – i feel all their feelings. I am aware of their pain, anguish & grief. I can be in the room or have the photo and announcement cross my Facebook page; but the feelings and awareness of love are the same for me. At this same time, i am hearing their loved ones speak to me, or show themselves to me….and I know, they are here. That critical awareness that Love is all we have, all we are and all we ever will be. The loss of our bodies is immense – but the raw love is more immense. The love is ALWAYS greater. It is my faith and gut wrenching hope that I stand in the rightness of this path of life, seeing it as eternal & knowing we remain with each other vibration-ally and WILL see one another again, getting the full story this time – raised in our wakefulness to the heavens. I will spend the day stomping, as my ole’ friends call it, catching my self at moments of discord, looking to Jesus to harmonize my heart and set my mind back on track. And i will cry, buckets and buckets; for our friends children, for my friend who lost her best friend of 40 years – together since she was 16!!! They met in high school. What do you do with that kind of love? I will cry and rejoice for lives lived into 80’s and 90’s! I will cry and dance for love. What to do? You remain in awe of the journey, the joys, the differences, the coming together and the pulling apart that makes it whole, that make US whole.
I know it to be so, that in the witnessing, we heal. In witnessing and being witnessed we get put back together again, like a sacred Humpty Dumpty. Being witnessed in love is the most profound and life altering experience; it turns Saul’s to Paul’s and fear to strength.
I will share with you, I do feel better. Now. Writing, reading & rereading; this has helped. Now, onto the laundry, onto figuring out how does one go to this many funerals, onto cards, letters, notes of encouragement & hope. The stuckness of any lack has moved through me. Put back together again through sharing. My own sacred Humpty Dumpty moment. An aged old concept, sharing, witnessing.
The good stuff remains; always.
with my love, RevDeb