Doing things my own way, in my own interest, had been going on for a while.
A long while.
Tension builds up – tightness in my stomach and chest, forcing it’s way northward into my throat and jaw.
I couldn’t just think these thoughts away. I needed a renewal. A rededication of sorts.
So, I began driving. I knew where I was going. And I was dreading it.
With every mile, I could feel my nerves beginning to fray a bit more.
My heart was pounding. Throbbing in my ears.
I pulled into the parking lot.
I looked around – waiting for a prophetic sign that I could avoid this surgery. This extreme discomfort.
Stepping out of the car, I walked slowly…very slowly…toward the doors.
Reaching out, I grasped the metal bar of the door handle and pulled.
Instantly, my heart lurches into a sprint.
Still walking slowly, hesitantly, shakily. I tried not to notice that every eye in the place seemed to focus on me.
Walking the isle. How cliché…..yet here I am. Walking.
Isle or plank, I can’t tell the difference.
A kind smile greets me. Tears begin welling. Kindness seems so exposing just now.
I make my way to the front of the church, in front God and everyone. I begin a quiet conversation. My head is bowed.
A stole is placed on my shoulders – held in place by the hand of a father gently giving wisdom to a child.
Tears. And sadly…more than tears. Again.
I’ve heard talk of the Grace of Tears – something like being given the gift of being able to truly see into the depth of oneself and, like Dorian Gray seeing with horror his portrait at the end of his life, we see and are anguished. I start to wonder if I’ve encountered the Grace of Runny Noses and Tears. Sigh.
I pray. I admit to things I have not been admitting elsewhere. Things I can hide externally, but that feel so present with me now.
I keep going. Blubbering fool, I admit to everything. Then I am gently asked a question – is there anything specific? I look up and am aware of how holy everyone else looks in comparison.
Yes. There ARE specifics. And I strangely feel safe to say them, if inarticulately so. I blame the runny nose.
Rambling words, like liquid, come pouring forth. I’m not sure if I’m making sense, but the gist has been affirmed. And then…I wait for it. Shame, judgment, condemnation. My fears are hungry for validation.
Encouragement. Love. Water on a desert trail. Specific to…
I receive. And smile and cry and listen closely.
And then it’s time to kneel, which I gratefully do.
And the stole then covers my head. Wildly beating heart seems suspended momentarily as time stops.
What words exist in all human language cannot describe…the Presence…at this moment…the Covering.
Tears wash as prayers wash as tears wash some more.
I stand and begin to reacclimate to the here and now. In front of all these witnesses, I have reaffirmed my vows. Reaffirmed my love. My Love.
My eyes focus. Three-dimensionally speaking, there are but two persons in this place. But it is filled to the brim with Holy Things, dimensions of which my mind cannot fathom. Faces of His Beloveds are all around me. And I see them. And I see Him.
And there’s still work to be done, but I’ve shed layers and my load is lighter.
And I notice…
Peace. Silence. Joy.
I begin anew.