Anguish

      Image     I stood there in the dark silence of the chapel with the stain glass face of Christ looking in at the pews.  His hole pierced hands showing an anguish I felt.  No one was here, not in this space or time, yet I sounds of a movie floated above me from the back wall.  I did not approach God straight on, I walked down the side aisle, as far away from His face, my head down with my hair falling around my face – hiding my shame.

            “Why?  Why me God?  What did I do that is so different then everyone else?  What did I do that was so wrong?”  It was not a whisper but a cry that came welling up from my soul.  “How can you do this to me?  This is not suppose to happen to me!  I do not want this baby.  Take this cup from me!”

            There was no answer.  The stillness crept into my porous soul, which I was trying to cement shut.  I raged at God.  I shook my fist into the air, crying out to the God who would not speak.  The stained glass Jesus said nothing, but His hole pierced hands spoke to my anguish.  The only sounds were those of my soul feeling betrayed.  My shame oozed into the very recesses of my heart and the guilt overcame me.  I found myself prostrate in front of the alter with stain glass Jesus standing over me.  His expression never changed.  His anguish bleed into my mind, reminding me of His humanness. 

            “Pass this cup from me Lord, if it is Your will.  I cannot do this alone.  I am so sorry for my sin,”  rippled repeatedly off of my tongue.  Time was warped.  I was there for minutes, hours, a life time.  I pulled myself off the rough carpeted floor.  I was wishing, hoping, someone would walk in and offer that act of humanness that God could not give.  No one came.

            Slowly as I stood there, I felt I was not alone.  I turned around and looked into the darkness carefully, yet I couldn’t find anyone.  The very air changed.  A calmness washed over me.  I was surrounded by angels.  I could not see them but the sense of them was so palpable I could breathe it into my soul.  “Hush.  Shhh daughter.”

                                                        Image

           I could not hear God because I could not release my guilt.  I was unworthy of His love.  God’s angels placed me in the protective sphere of His guardians.  I was not alone.  He had not abandoned me.

I Remember

I remember Grandma DeKezel,

            her colostomy bag full and oozing.

I remember smiling and chattering

            and easing her discomfort

            of being dependent upon my hands.

I remember her talk of sex

            and the loathing she had when Grandpa

            would touch her – until she was 30.

I remember the smile sliding across her face

            the twinkle in her eyes

            as she yearned for Grandpa then.

            Sex was not a sin.

I remember her finger pointing at the cabinet

            “Take the white China with the yellow flowers.

             Count it all and be sure it’s there.”

And I remember nodding no,

            “Keep it until next time I am here.”

I remember the silent, arguing stares

           over disappearing treasures

           before she was laid to rest.

I remember the harsh words zinging overhead

            because her children didn’t finish unfinished words

            in the space of her ensuing death.

I remember the chasm created

            in the wake of her death.

I remember thinking

            “They lost the chance to know their mother

             in the grace of ensuing death.”

            “They lost the chance for her to speak unspoken words

              that could not be said.”

 

My memory will never forget

            knowing my grandma

Hands

Her hands were bony and strong.  Not the hands of youth with its demand to have power and control.  No, her hands were strong from living life and a “hold onto me” strength.  Those hands held onto me through the entire benediction.  At the end there was that extra squeeze.  I give it too.  It’s the squeeze that says, “You belong.  You are part of this community, and God will be with you this week.”

Holding hands allows you the opportunity to say more than words can.  I had a very dear friend of mine stop me to thank me for praying for her.  She had approached me several weeks ago for prayer over some medical tests she was having done.  But in the midst of her thanking me to pray for her, she appologized for not asking me how I was doing.  I took her hands in mine and told her I understood.  I held her hands because I wanted her to know how much she meant to me.  I took her hands to reassure her that she did not need to apologize to me.  I took her hands in mine to let her know I loved her and it was my privilage to pray for her.

Holding hands with my 9 year old son allows me to tell him how much I love him.  He is at an age where he does not want his mother to kiss him or hug him in front of his friends.  Yet he will let me hold his hand while we walk together … even in front of his friends.  I treasue this time.  I treasue this hand holding because it is my way of telling him he belongs; he is part of me.

It is in our hands that we offer prayer and petition to God.  It is in our hands when we are able to heal or to hurt others.  Our hands express so much of what we cannot.  Christ used His hands to heal, to touch, to heal people.  I want to reach out to others in the same way.  Sometimes I am in situations where I cannot hold someone’s hand.  But I can touch them.  I can put my hand on their arm or shoulder.  I find myself doing this with my students.  It is in my touch that I convey to them that they belong.  They are worth more than what they think.  My students are worthy of a simple touch.

Hands speak so much.  They convey strength and love and hope and trust.  Just the act of holding onto someone else’s hand can inspire someone to be more and do more.  What are your hands going to say about you this week?