I always say, “I could do this life if we could take it one crisis at a time.” I have lots of pithy wisdom like that,it is hard won but oversimplified cliché until you really mean it, really know it to be true. Some of us brace ourselves, walk on tip toes, live afraid the sky is surely falling. Others know what Anne Lamott credits a friend for teaching her: the sky fell a long time ago, so now we just need to figure out how to take care of each other.
When life explodes, when situations, relationships, understandings erupt like a mine field, when ground you thought settled, planted and sewn blows up under your feet it is hard to stand. Balance is a distant memory and rest is a dream, a paradise you once knew. You live among the barren trees, the vineyards of your heart picked clean by the locusts, you cry, you hurt, you eat, you read the stars for answers beyond your grasp. You ask God to speak, to show you the way, you watch and you pray.
The landmines of life have driven me to the brink more than a few times. I am learning though when the ground shakes, I must hold on to those bracing themselves around me. Sunday morning, sitting in a church in our community filled with beautiful dark skinned brothers and sisters. The air conditioning not working so the fans from the funeral home down the street wave, move the air, testify to the goodness of God. I stand with them and clap and sing, “you won’t let me go, no you won’t let me go, you hold my world in your hands and you won’t let me go.” I sing it over and over, a hundred times or more, until tears fill my eyes and I believe it again.
I take a nap on the couch in the sunshine, me, my husband and our two cats and thank God for this band knit together with love, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, in good times and bad; we have seen them all and we are grateful.
The candlelight twinkles on the faces of people I love and I hear those words again, in good times and bad and I know the stories that fill the space where we all stand. We are all gathered here, swallowed up by love, the bride all lace and wildflowers. We know the struggles and losses that decorate the walls painted with faces of angels and little girls. We take in the testimonies to the goodness of God even in the valley we smile and laugh long from our bellies at the triumph of glasses raised filled with champagne and berry lemonade. We watch as father and daughter dance, glide across the floor aware of the beauty and grace of the moment making proclamation with every step, “look what God has done.” They sway and swirl and we are captivated by the song, “Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, there will come an answer, let it be.”
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