waiting it out…

It’s so obvious I never even saw it until a couple days ago.  A friend and I were talking about how hard things can be, even and especially during the holidays.  He was reeling from the sucker punch of a less-recent blow combined with a fresh jab, I was nursing a new sore spot in a long history of bruises, and things began connecting in my mind in a way they hadn’t before.

I’ve been familiar for years with the problems of undiagnosed illnesses and hidden injuries and the understanding that these things have to be found and examined and treated before healing can begin. But this season I’m learning another aspect of how old wounds continue to manifest. I’m learning, really learning, that healing is rarely if ever complete in this life, and never neat and linear. I’m discovering that even after infected areas are cleaned and bones are set and therapy is done, the aches and pains still flare up when I’m overtired, when the weather changes, when someone unknowingly jars me at the site of an old injury.

Of course this is how it is. How could it be otherwise? And of course it will pass. This flare-up will wind down and all days won’t be so hard and glimpses of joy will surprise me from unexpected places. This is just one of the days when I have to wait it out, drawing strength and comfort from the prayers of friends, and from words I came across in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation this morning:  “But the goal (in contemplation, in prayer, maybe in just getting through the day) is not success at all, only the practice itself.” (parenthetical statement mine)

When I Am Among the Trees

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

A Mother’s Prayer

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

This prayer was written three years ago, during a time when
my nearly-grown twin sons were in severe crisis, a dark time
of fear and sorrow and helplessness. I offer it today on behalf
of other parents in similar circumstances.

O Lord, help me to realize and remember that, much as I love and cherish and agonize over my children, You love and cherish them so much more than I can begin to comprehend.

You suffered agony for them beyond my imagining. You made them before I ever bore them in my body. You earnestly desire their eternal good – and You have both the understanding of what that is and the ability to bring it about.

Help me day by day, moment by moment, to entrust them into Your hands. I give them, again, into Your care, heavenly Father, asking that the angels have charge over them, to guide them in health and wholeness, in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son.  Amen.

~ Rebekah Choat

from the depths of unknowing

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

Keep writing in the dark:
a record of the night, or
words that pulled you from the depths of unknowing,
words that flew through your mind, strange birds
crying their urgency with human voices,

or opened
as flowers of a tree that blooms
only once in a lifetime:

words that may have the power
to make the sun rise again.

~ Denise Levertov

A Prayer

O Father, we have been wounded
by those who are also your children.
Sometimes in ignorance, sometimes in malice,
often in misguided zeal,
they have cut us with their words
and bruised us with their deeds.

We limp along, battered, bleeding, bewildered.
We meet other pilgrims on the way.
They, too, are battered, bleeding, bewildered.
As we look into their faces,
we realize to our dismay
that we have also wounded them.

Merciful Father, pour out your healing upon us,
and give us grace to share it
with those who have hurt us, whom we have hurt,
with all your bleeding, bewildered children.

May your peace pass among us, passing understanding,
and your goodness guide us together into your kingdom.

Amen

 ~ Rebekah Choat

A Circle in a Drought

dsc00662-600x800

image by Joel Brotzman

Somewhere in this country
of dry furrow and hard hill
the scabbed ground cracks
to a deep blade of shining,
a bright upwelling,
mud, rush, mess, hurry of voices,
the run, the flood, the telling.

I walk forward, careful.
The forked switch leads me.
Surely it will dip, leap
there at the end of the field
where dead stalks rub each other,
or there in the dry creekbed
where rocks tell the tale of torrent.

I must learn to live drily.
What to carry. What to leave.
What to drink instead of water.
What to wash the dust away with.
What to listen to. Wind
will tell me what to say.
Stone will lead me to beginning.

~ Ursula K. LeGuin