We just had an OD Community Meeting. Generally I come home from these and want to cry myself to sleep because although we are the coolest church I know and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, they generally happen (coincidence?) at times when I'm already washed out emotionally. And so I have to leave my community to go home, watching them all talk but I have to go home because I am spent.
Home to the answering machine blinking--not that I have a message, but a new number. Someone called, probably a telemarketer, and didn't leave a message.
I feel a little bit less like crying because Sandy asked me for my phone number because she and a friend were looking to hang out with me last night.
I love the community we are becoming, but that's the rub. We are still becoming a community. I often feel like an outsider. Which is, in fact, the story of my life.
Shawn Colvin has a song called "The Story" in which she sings,
"I will always be telling this story...
Sometimes I feel so reckless and wild
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
I gave nobody life, I am nobody's wife
And I seem to be nobody's daughter
So red is the color that I like the best
It's your Indian skin and the badge
on my chest..."
This is a song that I clung to the summer I spent three weeks in Vienna, Austria. I was an outsider, not a Hope College student on this Hope College Vienna Summer School program. I was actually in between schools, leaving Pittsburgh and Carlow College and going to Chestertown where Washington College is located. In a letter, a friend wrote later that year that he thought that summer I always seemed on the fringes, on the outside.
In our discussion group we talked about para-something, the Greek word for the dance of the Trinity. We talked about how in dancing, there is no verbal communication, just the feet, the body moving, together, the next step and the next.
You can't be on the outside in a dance. Which is probably why I don't dance very much--I am afraid of being that close to someone I don't know well. I want to dance with someone I know, someone I trust. Someone that may step on my feet every once in a while but it won't matter because he'll know me well enough to know that his apology will be accepted. And he'll know that I'll step on his feet occasionally too.
We talked about acceptance, and the break down of denominational walls and unity. It was great. We could have talked all night, but we had to put the chairs back and clean up the wine glasses (yes, we had wine and cheese at our church meeting.)
So now I'm home (sweet home) and I think I'll go to bed. A co-worker's grandmother died today and I just want to cry.
We live in such a broken world and we are all broken pieces. I don't feel like I can write the joy into this, but God can. Because though weeping tarries for the night, joy comes in the morning.
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strenghten thine heart; wait, I say on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
Grace upon grace: All of his fullness have we recieved, and grace for grace. (John 1:16)
My sister's name was Joy. She would be 30 sometime around now. But she was a premie when premies didn't live, and so I have only seen her grave marker--five year olds weren't allowed into the NicU thirty years ago. I don't know why I've been thinking about her--the soap at my aunt's was Joy dishwashing soap. One of my birthday cards had "Joy by Joy" on it. The verse above, joy comes in the morning.
Last night I tried to encourage Kelly through her broken heart, which is a really hard thing to do well. What I tried (and did pretty badly) to tell her was that her broken heart is what makes her more in tune with the human condition. We are all broken and this brokenness that has rocked her world will make her a more understanding person. A little Nietchze, maybe, that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Stronger in love, if we can get past the tears.
So, as I prepare to crawl under the covers, I offer you this: Cry. It clears out the dust in your soul, and it connects you to people everywhere who are also crying. My mother was fond of saying, "laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone." I have not found this to be true. I often am the only one laughing at a particularly dry joke, and when I cry, I know there are many more people crying, even if they are not here in my garret.
My bed calls me by first name..."Sarah Louise, Sarah Louise..." and I must answer its call.
But I'll turn up the radio first, to hear John Denver sing about country roads. Sleep tight.
3 weeks ago