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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beauty for Ashes, or some other over-used phrase

The morning began with a sense of being unprepared on every imaginable level. All I really wanted to do was wander over to the church, by myself, and sit in the presence of people in prayer. One look around at the flock who required me within twelve inches of the fridge and toilet set that dream to rights.

I sat down to the computer, eager to attach words to the sprectrum of thought and emotion that waged in my heart and brain. I longed for the release it would provide, half hoping it would trip my tear duct switch and provide some physical relief as well. I wanted to be leaning into my keyboard, propelled by the words that would flow from some partially conscious aspect of my humanness. I wanted to explore some latent thoughts that had to do with the co-existence of rot and miraculous, contradictory new life.

Anyone living with their eyes open knows what I mean. The irony of learning a thing or two, and just after that, you recognize that your body is inches from being dead. The exquisate beauty of the face of Africa that must be reconciled with all its horrendous deadly ugliness. The prairie garden, beautifully and stubbornly rising from the ground after an unforgiving winter- thriving on manure, crawling with worms. The castle I spent hours on the floor constructing for the pleasure of the children , swiftly levelled in two swipes by a towering toddler. My mother's uterus, 39 years after housing and sheltering eight fragile human lives; now a splodge of tissue in the hospital incinerater.

I'm weary of all the old analogies. I won't regurgitate something about death being a natural requirement of new life. I won't wax unpoetic about the circle of life.

I will say inarticulately that mothers of toddlers do miscarry. That human love is inadequate, riddled with pain, disappointment, and wonder. That one may or may not be rewarded for making unselfish choices, and conversely that negative consequences are not a guaranteed justice for the selfish one.

I will whisper that God is good, but an awful lot of bad things happen. I will continue to hope for the resurrection of the gut-birthed shout of His goodness and wisdom.


As I sat and waited for the cathartic words to come, a shadowy whisp of God's incomprehensible love and goodness came to me. Friend. A creature of exquisate beauty, spotlessly put together. Manicured and velvety, vogue and pleasing to the eye. Surely the antithesis to my grey and strained features, pulled taut by a too-small pony tail. Dark shadows partially concealed by spectacles that couldn't possibly cover enough facial features to dupe anyone into thinking that I was filled with happiness uncontainable.

Better than all that, a friend who understood. A friend who gave me the physical substitute for a heavenly father hug. No suffocatingly trite answers or suggestions. No judgements. No need for me to reavalute whether I'd been too honest, too revealing. No fear of misunderstanding, or of my pain disrespectfully being whispered throughout some "prayer chain" in pretense of others caring.

I still have no answers. But I will still insist on the goodness of God, and I will awkwardly bellow out my gratitude for the loving piece of humanity that He bestowed on me today.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

my heart needed to read this today. thanks joyce. i hear your heart.

Heather said...

I don't know how you manage to write such painstakingly beautiful things, but I will keep coming back for more.

I am reminded of the tiny beautiful dirty child who tugged at my skirt, held out her hand, and said "Birr? Birr?" (money) while her tired mother sat in the dirt nursing her other malnourished offspring. I weep at both the beauty and the agony.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Joyce.

How beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Joyce.

How beautiful.

lettuce said...

I don't have the words for this.

Just inadequate understanding. Virtual hugs.

Anonymous said...

(geesh...my invisible friend thinks she is me...)

Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know that you are in my head and prayers ...

Krina

Anonymous said...

"I will say inarticulately..."

Nothing inarticulate about this post. I appreciate the questions you ask and the injustices you speak of without giving trite and easy answers. You are a wise and courageous woman.

Joyce said...

gerrosh, I feel mildly guilty for being so dark. Maybe I'll think of myself like Jan Arden- funny in real skin, melancholy in the written word.

Sometimes its just so pimple-popping to just sit down and let a lot of words and unanswered questions out. And always- thanks so much for coming around. Hopefully its not just to fill some ministry requirement in your church....

Anonymous said...

JOYCE. i answered your tag. :)

shabbat shalom xo

Marshkies said...

Joyce, allow me to speak to Heather -- you've obviously been in Ethiopia -- I relate to that, yep.

Joyce said...

"(geesh...my invisible friend thinks she is me...) "

ok, who said this and what do you mean? Am I the invisible friend? or do you speak of the friend who I describe?
Please, ease my wonderment!!

Anonymous said...

You won't get answers unless you ask questions...
and you have to ask the right questions..
and then examine the answers to see if you asked the right question in the first place..
and did you try to fool yourself by looking in the wrong place for the right answer ..
that's what makes it so much fun to be alive!

Anonymous said...

we can't wrap our heads around it - period - so the questions become more important than the answers...

this was beautiful and vulnerable...