Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Left (Part 2)

Reading morning blogs is always an inspiring journey. "Perfect" strangers share bits and bytes of their lives, showering me with the blessings of their words and images, photos that touch my heart, ideas that awaken my thinking.

Glynn, over at Faith. Fiction. Friends. shared his thoughts on a passage from C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, this morning. As always, Glynn's writing is filled with heart and soul. It tugs at 'the better in me', awakening my thinking into reverie and wonder.

Do you remember in High School reading the likes of Yeats and Browning and other great poets and being asked to 'translate' what they meant by this word, or that. "What was the meaning behind the words, the images, the tone of the poem?"

Do you remember the derisive sighs and moans and groans of the class? The beaking about, 'Who cares what they meant? They're dead, man. They can't explain themselves anyway.'

Well, I'm going to tell on myself a little! I loved that exercise.

Which is why, after writing yesterday's You Left and then reading Glynn's, Liberation Theology, this morning, I wasn't all that surprised to 'feel' the context of yesterday's poem deepen within me.

Glynn writes about faith, having it, trusting it, knowing God is there.

Now, I need to be clear so that I don't distress or inadvertently disturb anyone's belief -- I am not a card carrying Christian with a capital 'c'. I believe in God, in a Divine being, a Divine order to the world. My interpretation of faith is very personal -- and very liberal.

In Glynn's post this morning, he writes, "He wants your heart. He wants you committed to Him – and leave the heavy lifting to Him."

I have felt God's capacity to carry the burden of the past. I have been humbled by His Love.

Yesterday, in my poem, I wrote of the sweater being on a closet floor.

It wasn't actually a sweater that was there. It was me.

In the really dark days and nights of that relationship, the darkened closet was my refuge. I would sit in the dark, holding on for dear life to Ellie who sat silently beside me. I would sit and cower and cry and I would pray. Man would I pray. And pray.

"Please. Please. Please. Make it stop. Make it stop."

And then, the sun would rise, or the moon would sink, and my hopes would disappear into the vast darkness of my fear it would never ever stop. That this, this pain and sorrow and horrow would be my life, forever and a day.

I lost all hope, all faith, all belief during those dark days. I lost all sense of direction. All knowing I had value, worth, that God loved me, just because I am. That God was even there, capable of loving such a wounded, broken soul as me. "Even death has no time for me," I believed. "Death was too busy greeting those worthy of his passing on."

And then, Conrad was arrested and I got the miracle of my life -- I was set free.

In freedom, I would walk with Ellie in the woods at the end of the street where my sister and her husband live, and with whom I was staying, and cry and wonder, "Will I ever repair the chaos of my life?" "Will I ever breathe freely again?"

The burden at times felt too heavy, too great for me to carry. And I would cry.

And then, one day, walking within the shadows of the tall whispering pines I glanced up and saw the light shimmering through the tips of the trees.

"Call on me," a voice said. "Trust in me."

Now, trust was not something I had in great capacity in those days, and trusting in God? Well, hello? Where were you when I really needed you?

But the voice kept whispering through the pines and eventually, the burden grew so great I couldn't think of anything else to do. And so, I breathed deeply and asked, 'the voice' to please carry the burden. To take the weight of my despair so that I could take one step towards the light. No matter how hesitant, no matter how small, I wanted to take one step in the direction of doing one thing for myself that day that would help me heal.

And the burden lifted. The weight shifted and my shoulders straightened.

He carried the burden through those dark and scary days of facing the past and releasing the grip of the terror of those days where I sat huddled in a closet, crying myself to sleep.

Looking back, I know why He didn't 'stop it'. Only I had the power to do that. And until I found my voice, He couldn't carry the burden of my pain, because I didn't believe I had the power to stop Conrad's yelling and scheming in my life. I didn't believe in me.

I couldn't stop Conrad from being who he was/is. I could stop his abuse in my life. I just never awakened to that truth until I awoke to the power of my voice.

In freedom, God could and does carry the burden. He set me free to walk this beautiful world knowing -- I am all I ever need to be, a woman of worth, a human of magnificence, a being of great wonder.

The following is a poem I wrote shortly after Conrad's arrest. He was arrested May 21, 2003. I wrote this poem in July of the same year.

Nameste. (And thank you Glynn for the gift of your words this morning. You set my heart soaring.)

He Set Me Free

Born free, but when pain invaded,
I retreated behind my smile
pinned in place by time and memory
dark with the fear
that hid me from the beauty of the life
He had created, just for me.

Here He found me.
Trapped behind the mirror of my confusion
surrounded by the lies I had created
to protect me from the pain
inside my battered heart.

Tormented by the agony of my sins
Blinded to the beauty of His love
I held my spirit captive.

Here I am, said the Lord.
But I could not hear Him through my fear
I was unworthy.
Here I am, He called again.
Let My love guide you to the light
beyond the darkness you have reflected
on your soul.
Here I am.

Frightened, I held my mirror high.
But my arms grew weary.
My heart was hungry.
And I could no longer defend my sins
against the truth of His love.

I could not speak.
I peeked from behind my defences
and saw His brilliance reflected in the world around me.

And the eyes of my heart were opened to His light.

He set me free.
Free to sing His praises, dance His joy.
Free to walk His path of beauty.
Free to be. Me.

Here I am.
He set me free.
My love for Him will keep me free.
Forever and a day.


Maureen said...

As is often said, it isn't hope but faith that carries us forward. Sometimes, to paraphrase Eliot, faith makes us wait for a long time. But what joy when the waiting's done.

Jennifer Richardson said...

Oh Louise.
I so get what your beautiful words
are understand the
burden-bearing voice you speak of
...that Love that tugs us from our
hiding and stretches us until we
come lose from the fear that has us stuck in shadow.
I LOVE the voice you give to this
painful journey.
You paint it so well with your words.
It encourages my heart wide open,
this post!
THANK you for this gorgeous share,

S. Etole said...

It's truly remarkable what you have shared.

Glynn said...

If I in any small way contributed to the creationof this post, then I am truly humbled.

Poetic Soul said...

I haven't been online in a while, logging in and finding your blog and this post is a sweet treat

Ruth said...

This is tremendous work, the revelations of a lifetime.

I believe now that God is within. We are the ones who change things, just as you say here. Yet there is something beyond us that we are connected to, that doesn't let us go. I have been there too, I so relate to your descriptive words.

Are you familiar with Byron Katie's 'The Work' as written in Loving What Is? I have just finished it, reading straight through. It has transformed my thinking even more than it had been (post Christianity), and I think you would really like it. In Katie's terms, it was Conrad's 'job' to do what he did, and it was his business to change it. It was your business to work on yours, which is what you did, so beautifully.

Anonymous said...

now i see it. you as the sweater.
examining the knit to see the you yarn.
i like saying "you yarn."
with all the changes going on, the sweater
was unraveled and then reknit into a very nice scarf.
of course some of the yarn was put into another project, and some new glittery yarn was added to make the scarf. and it rests on the couch or is draped across the bed...but, it refuses to be thrown on the closet floor.