Last Saturday I was in a situation that made me extremely uncomfortable.
The type of setting where usually I would feel relaxed and blissed-out and instead I wanted to get out of there. Asap. I was garbling at God (the type of prayers where you just spew oh-help-pleases and oh-no-now-whats) when I heard him clearly whisper: I am going to catch you. Let me be gentle with you.
My next thoughts were (embarrassingly) not oh-joy and full of trust. They were more like: oh crap, what's that mean?! And: what's going to happen next?!
But I was.
The first was a phone call that didn't let me cry alone. The second was an email that answered questions and replied.
I have a very dear family member who has gone through some unspeakable pain. That pain has affected a number of us around them (but nowhere near as much as they have suffered) and it has taken us a number of years to unravel the details of what to do. (The only reason I am being vague is out of respect for another person's story that isn't mine to tell.)
It has been a lot to think about. Shock, some relief and a whole lot of reassessing of life and what I know.
I've run and processed my way through a number of miles this week and some tears. I've sat over soup and vanilla rooibos and talked from the heart with wise women. I had mint tea in the sunshine and held a hand. And every day since Saturday my moments have been defined by being caught.
I have also panicked, worried, felt acute anxiety. I've had the unexpected happen and then seen people come through more than I ever could have known. I have been afraid, angry and really scared. But I have - and this is key - felt the whoosh of a story-line around me being re-written, and not by my hand.
Not by me.
This week my pre-birthday gift has been finally giving up one story-line and embracing another. Letting go of the novel I thought my life was and would be... and realizing it's more freeing for the actual story happening to be told, than to not understand the one you thought you were inhabiting all along.
Or maybe even just the one I really wanted it to be.
I read a question recently: When did you first understand the meaning of love?
My answer to that is I first understood the meaning of love when I began watching what I thought was my narrative crumble. And then when choices were made to do the hard work of staying on the same page anyways.
And this week I would add to that: the meaning of love is being caught. Letting someone catch you when all that means is you have to let go.
God has been gentle with me. And for this I am truly amazed.
~ Maker of All Things, Even Healings ~
by Mary Oliver
under the pines
moves through the darkness
with a mouthful of teeth
and a reputation for death
which it deserves.
In the spicy
villages of the mice
he is famous,
in the grass
is like an earthquake,
on the path
is a message so absolute
that the mouse, hearing it,
as small as he can
as he sits silent
or, trembling, goes on
hunting among the grasses
for the ripe seeds.
Maker of All Things,
including the fear that makes
all of us, sometime or other,
flee for the sake
of our small and precious lives,
let me abide in your shadow -
let me hold on
to the edge of your robe
as you determine
what you must let be lost
and what will be saved.