This morning I sat down at my prayer desk, lit two candles in front of icons of Our Blessed Mother, opened my Sacred Space devotional, and read slowly and reflectively while breathing deeply.
We are all part of that cosmos that transcends space and time … I pray with compassion … I give thanks … The Kingdom of God is not coming in things that can be observed.
I breathe deeply in this place where I have experienced intimacy with God. I remember his love. I ask for nothing this morning. I just sit and breathe, but eventually I reach for the tool which will allow me to process what I am experiencing; I will write and in writing I will carve out a place upon which I can stand with dignity.
I begin with two words, two words I learned to say years ago when I read Wayne Muller’s book, Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood. In the first chapter he writes, “For just a moment, I imagine letting go of the ‘Why’ and just allow yourself to say, ‘I hurt.’ Nothing more, just repeat that phrase a few times slowly, ‘I hurt.'”
I was sexually molested at 12; my initiation into physical intimacy was rape by two men I did not know who entered the sanctity of my bedroom from a neighbor’s party and woke me because they wanted to “party” with me. I have battled with depression all my life, and have never been able to have a healthy relationship which involved physical intimacy, which means I have been painfully lonely for my entire adult life.
And this week, I watched our nation elect for president a man who boasted about assaulting women, which essentially gives every man carte blanche to assault women. I hurt.
I grew up in a predominantly white, primarily agricultural state during the Civil Rights movement. The only black person I had ever seen was on television, but I didn’t need personal experience to know what was written on my heart: ALL men and women are created equal. I have been grateful for eight short years that in my lifetime I had seen our nation take the giant step from segregation to full participation.
And this week, I watched our nation elect for president a man who is blatantly racist, a man whose intolerance is notorious, a man who reveals the heart of darkness which lies within the people of this nation, people who claim to be Christian and to worship the God who is love. I hurt.
And I am not alone. My employer is making trauma counseling available, recognizing that many of us feel as though we have been injured by a catastrophic event. I feel as though I am watching one of my beloved daughters being gunned down or one of my precious grandchildren being run over by a train — helpless. I am helpless to stop the tragedy unfolding before my eyes.
And I feel homeless. I do not know this place, these people. The country I was taught to love no longer exists; Tuesday’s election has shown me this.
Sitting at prayer desk and writing has helped me to find a modicum of peace in the midst of this suffering. I find it in the Psalms, in words which remind me that this, too, will pass.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.” (Psalm 37:7-10, NIV)