Healing 1.1

http://www.imagesbyblair.com/Landscapes/DesertSouthwest-2/Utah/Arches-National-Park/i-v4Kqgrg/5/S/desert%20sunrise%202-S.jpg

She would be so mad if she knew I were telling you my version of our story.  More mad than she was when I sent her away.  Because when I sent her away, I saved her life. It didn’t feel that way at the time.  At the time it was terrifying, the hardest decision I have ever had to make, putting us into David’s sling-shot and letting ‘er rip and not knowing if we were going to slay the giant or if the rock would land with an impotent thump on the hot, dry sand of the Utah desert.  When you make decisions like this, life changing, altering the course of all you have known for five years decisions, there is the risk it could backfire. And then there’s the grief.

Disclaimer: The day I made the decision to send my daughter away I was in the middle of tapering off of depression medication that I had been on for over 10 years.  On the meds I was detached, had night sweats I attributed to Peri-menopause, little enthusiasm or passion for what I was doing, I had no energy behind setting goals and completing them and every time I missed a dose I was propelled into detox which made me think that getting off the medication was a good idea. When I told my sponsor that I was sending my daughter to a wilderness therapy program and then to long term treatment, she said, “Are you on medication?” “Yes,” I said, “for depression.” “You might want to increase the dosage,” she said. Not only is she 25 years sober but she’s a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in grief and loss.

I’m telling you all of this because I’m an alcoholic, sober almost 15 years, and I’m bodily and mentally different than my brothers and sisters in more than my alcoholism and drug addiction  because I have major depression.  I’m telling you this because everyday I say this prayer:

and perhaps in the telling of my story I can let go of my daughter and surrender more fully both her and I into God’s hands.  And maybe, as I surrender my difficulties to God, I can experience some small victory over them, so that I can bear witness to others the unending mercy, grace, compassion and love of God.

Disclaimer 2:  After 13 weeks off medication, spiraling down into major depression which consists of daily thoughts of guilt, worthlessness, self-hatred,  loss of appetite, and making life incredibly difficult for the ones I love and adore, I am taking medication again.

Healing 1.0

Feasting-On-the-Bread-of-Life

 

For five weeks this summer we are reading variations John 6:35 and Jesus as the bread of life. It’s perfect timing really because I need some bread. I have all that sustains me physically but spiritually things have been rough. For the last 12 weeks my 17 year-old-daughter has been gone. The first 10 weeks she was in a wilderness therapy program and now she’s in a long-term residential treatment center.

I can relate to the people coming after Jesus for more. Just give me more, more food, more tricks, more miracles, make me ok. Let me fill this hole of pain, despair, grief, and loss with something, but please don’t tell me some story about how you are the bread of life and whoever comes to me will never be hungry or thirsty, because the pain is too great and the despair to debilitating and loss to deep and I might not be able to crawl through it to get to you in time. So, if you could just let me win the lottery, or maybe I’ll just go shopping, or exercise some more, or spend more time on Facebook that would be awesome.

But I’ve come too far, I’ve been sober too long, I’ve been down the road of grief before and every time, I’ve survived. But not only have I survived, in the traveling to God, crawling back to Jesus, when standing on my own two legs was impossible, I did find healing in the heavenly bread and water. Because only love can heal these wounds and for me that love is the love of God as expressed in the love, mercy, healing and life-giving ministry of Jesus from Nazareth. Hope is not in Starbucks, or the gym, or H & M, although the part of me that wants a quick fix sure as hell wishes it was. Hope, healing, forgiveness, grace is in the moment I get quiet and settle into place where God is, and Jesus meets me with opens arms and hugs me tight.

Talitha Cum!

She walked out of the desert with a ring of grime around her ankles
where her crocs ended and her long, lean legs began.
She stepped with power between sage and rabbitbrush
as if she owned the land beneath her feet.

Beams of light shot from her finger tips and eyesIMG_3904
and haloed her body

Talitha cum!
Little girl, get up!

Like the woman with the perpetual flow of blood
I had hemorrhaged love that almost killed the little girl
She starved herself to skin and bones.
What I fed her could no longer nourish her skeleton frame.
She ate potent poison, drank lethal liquid
that slowly killed her from the inside out.

Death was unrecognizable in the slow, methodical, bit by bit
consumption of the little girl.
Denial dictated that if I loved her more,
everything would be fine.
In desperation I reached out to touch the hem of His garment.

Grace is in the waking up.
Grace is in disavowing denial.
Grace generates yes to life.

Talitha Cum!
Little girl, get up!

She was swept up by strangers
like an animal restrained scratching violently at the walls of it’s cage,
last gasps of no mommy, please mommy, one more chance, mommy,
she was carried out into the desert
to die and be reborn.

She walked out of the desert with a ring of grime around her ankles
where her crocs ended and her long, lean legs began.
She stepped with power between sage and rabbitbrush
as if she owned the land beneath her feet.

Beams of light shot from her finger tips and eyes
and haloed her body

Talitha cum!
Little girl, get up!

Ages

poetryyI’m 5

With a cardboard cutout witch’s hat,

A crepe paper cape and a wooden toy broom

Standing on the stoop, all baby belly

And poised to fly off into the Indian summer dusk

To ring the first doorbell and

Sing “Trick-or-Treat!”

 

15

New Year’s Eve, Orange Grove Blvd.

After midnight

Monolithic shadows, when the sun comes up,

Will be all colors, flowers, seeds and sunlight

On top of one will be the Queen

17, sparkling with accomplishment

and glowing with optimism

that’s so not me

because I’m drunk and I can’t remember how I got home

 

25

I turn around

The shards of glass still falling

And there’s blood on the floor

On the inside of my thighs

Dripping on my toes

I probably shouldn’t have drank so much

Or walked through that plate glass door

Or gotten married that morning.

 

35

I’m a Sumo wrestler

Rocking back and forth,

Swaying to the pain

And then

There’s blood and water

I am an animal squatting and pushing

She’s there – out of me and on top of me

Rooting for my breast

We both cry

Blood, water, breath, life

Before you know it,

She’s five.

So we do not lose heart.

kintsugi-heart
Kintsugi (Japanese: golden joinery) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

But we do lose heart and it’s so easy to do in this life. The pain, suffering, disappointment, anxiety, time constraints, busy-ness of life, all contribute to our losing heart. The Apostle Paul is responding to his previous comments in his second letter to the church community he started in Corinth, when he says, “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (2Cor4:7-9). To not be crushed, driven to despair, feel forsaken or struck down means we have been able to tranform the pain and suffering, disappointments, hurts, and wounds of life into something life giving, rather than soul crushing.  We pull the pieces of our broken clay jars together, heal our wounds with help from our relationship with God, our partnership with Jesus, and the people that we are blessed to be in community with, walk this life journey with. Those people who have, as shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown says, earned the right to hear our story. What we human beings have in common is our woundedness, our brokenness. What we don’t have in common is our willingness to let our cracks and brokenness show. Our true beauty and the spirit of the Divine, the extraordinary power of God,  shines through those cracks that have been glued back together with love we muster up for ourselves, our belovedness that is inherently ours, and the love we experience in relationship with others.  So we do not lose heart, we press on, gathering our broken pieces, gluing them together, and pressing on.