Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Staying Open

Here is a gift from one of Richard Rohr's CAC daily emails:

"Question of the day: How have you seen God use pain for good in your life?"

"Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing — that we must go down before we even know what up is. In terms of the ego, most religions teach in some way that all must 'die before they die.' Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as 'whenever I am not in control.'
"If religion cannot find a meaning for human suffering, humanity is in major trouble. All healthy religion shows us what to do with our pain. Great religion shows us what to do with our pain. Great religion shows us what to do with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust.
"If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.
"If there isn’t some way to find some deeper meaning to our suffering, to find that God is somewhere in it, and can even use it for good, we will normally close up and close down. The natural movement of the ego is to protect itself so as not to be hurt again."
Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 25

"Current mantra:Prayer and suffering are the two primary paths of transformation"

"Copyright © 2009 Center for Action and Contemplation
PO Box 12464, Albuquerque, NM 87195-2464 (505)242-9588"

So here is the core of all of that, for me, right now: to not "close up and close as not to be hurt again." Oh, how much this tempts me, daily, even moment by moment. My heart hurts; my body is tired. My mind hurts, my soul feels old. I have seen things I never wanted to see, heard things I wish I had not heard, and lost that which is beyond price. It is hard to move through some of these days with the weight of this pain in my being.

I do not want to be a closed woman. I want to be a translucency for God to shine through, a window, a place where Love enters the world. I don't think I could leave a better legacy than that, but it is hard on some days to simply do the chores that I set for myself. It is hard to, because of the pain of missing Katie and the life we shared.

A friend and I were talking recently, and she expressed her concern about sharing her problems with me. I told her, You aren't ruining my day; my days have already been ruined.

Not that I don't have good moments and good days; I do. But, in essence, my life is diminished, and it always will be.

This sounds like complaining, but it isn't. It is a FACT, and I have to think about it, in words, sometimes, so that I can understand what is going on inside of me. Yes, there are symptoms of depression, and yes, they are to be expected. And YES, God continues to care for me and my family, to provide what we need (not to be confused with what we often WANT); I am thankful for God's faithfulness and Love. I live because of His/Her faithfulness and Love; we derive our lives from Him, we came forth from His Love, we are sustained by it, and when we die, I believe we return to His Love.

But I suffer on a regular basis, wrestling with the temptation to just close down. Just pull over, put the brakes on, put it in "park," and sit. It's hard work, overcoming that pull.

I am thankful that there are people like Fr. Rohr who are writing about this, so that I know it's not "just me," and that I'm not alone. I know that God has done some of the greatest work in my life, so far, through this horrible experience. Isn't that an awful paradox? "The worst thing has become the best thing," is the quote that I've heard about the crucifixion, and I suppose that it applies to our personal crucifixions, too.

I believe that He is with me and for me, and I believe that He has the power to transform this and to use it for good, for me and for others. It just hurts as it is being done; the price is so very high.

May God's Love give meaning to my suffering, and to the suffering of all mankind; may He help my heart to remain open to His Love, transform this pain into blessing, and may He comfort our hearts as a mother comforts her children. Amen.


amanda said...

I am thinking of you. I often wonder how you are doing, when I see little things that make me think of your Katie. A homemade quilt or fun pj pants or just a beautiful teenage girl... Thank you for your kind comment on my last post. I am incredibly happy and it nice to know that my blogger friends are so happy for and supportive of me...

Busy Bee Suz said...

No words can heal you....sending you friendly thoughts..."imaginary" hugs....

A said...

Love you - more on email...Angela

Karla W. said...

Thank you for sharing. Sending hugs and prayers.

Elizabeth said...

your words are quite beautiful -- your honesty is what is moving and sustaining --

a friend of mine who also has a daughter with a severe disability once said to me that "our lives are ruined." i remember thinking that this was a terrible thought -- but then i realized its truth. and quickly also realized that i had a new life that was different. and it is wonderful, this new life, although there are days when I can barely sustain the loss of the old.

Kay said...

Wow... I so much identified with the first things you said... feeling old. I told somebody that one time and they just kinda looked at me funny. It's hard to explain that feeling...of feeling older than you're supposed to... having seen and done too much and having hurts that are unimaginable to normal folks. Oh Karen.. I'm so sorry for all the pain you feel. I wish I could take it away somehow!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today....
L in AK

Lakeland Jo said...

this is a wonderful post and it resonates with me such a lot. You are a very wise woman. Wise perhaps because of what you have gone through.
Very helpful