Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A tattooed name

Sunday's worship was extremely intense, rich, deep, sorrowful, anxious, caring and totally unexpected.

It began with our minister tossing her written message out and speaking from the heart, as testimony. That was a clue to pay attention: this WOULD be good. She spilled deeply, uncovering old wounds, I suspect, touching my heart and many others as confessions of tears rolling abounded afterward. She described a father who tattooed his arm with his child's name so that child would know, some day, they were never far from his heart or memory. Then, the minister suggested that real-life application was much like how God holds us.

Coupled with a Desmond Tutu passage in our bulletin about how God's unconditional love is there, not earned, I was driven to my metaphorical knees.

"... God does not love us because we are lovable. We are lovable precisely because God loves us ... We strive and we strain to earn what is already ours. And it wears us out ... for people who burn out, the work is also driven by a demon. The demon hidden behind the sense of purpose is a fear of not being good enough. It is the fear of not doing enough. That demon dread of not measuring up drains the joy from the work and saps the energy of the worker ..." [Desmond Tutu, Made for Goodness]

 If that were not enough, a very dear Friend (church member) experienced heart palpatations in the midst of worship. What transpired unfolded as if some nuanced and practiced role-play. Several with medical backgrounds gently made their way to him, checked him, stroked him, cared for his wife and called the life squad. The rest of us stayed worshipful and in prayer. Though a tense time, it was so beautiful and such an expression of how a community can translate a message -- on the spot.

God's arms were around this person in pain, yet also around the entire congregation. God's lips whispered to each our job. Miraculously, we seemed to listen.

Even after the medics evacuated our Friend, we remained in prayer, seemingly not wanting to interrupt this Divine flow.

I feel as if I have been a part of that flow all week as I struggle to come to terms with our summer family dynamic and one who, in particular, is so lost and in that isolation pushes the rest of us as far away as possible. It is often difficult to see the pushing for what it masks rather than what it appears.

Early yesterday morning after a very sleepless night, I took haven in my art studio, wrangling with myself and, finally, surrendering to God.

All I wanted
was to sit by 
the candle light,
yet none had a
wick long enough

I couldn't get it
lit for very long

When the flame
of the match
was burning,
I flirted with
just burning
the garage down
and my misery
with it 

The I figured
I was such
a screwup
that even that
I could not

So I
my body moving
my knees
to the floor
and my hands to the stool,
eyes closed, but

My heart spoke

And the response has
been flowing
ever since

I know for sure my name is tatooed on God's heart.

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