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Sep 30 2012

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On being hope.

 

I am the blind who’s come to see.

I am the lame who stood and walked.

I am the broken-hearted

That He was sent to heal.

I am the mute who sings His praise,

And it is I who in my grief

Was blessed and am now comforted.

 

I am a rare occurrence in this world. Sometimes even the life-long faithful – the religious, the secure in the Lord’s love – look at me with a bit of envy and sigh, “You are so blessed!”

I am. But then, we all are blessed, whether we know it or not. And most of the time we live the life we start with, play the hand we are dealt, with our struggles and settings and preconceived notions. Seeking refuge in our joys and tripping over our pains. Walking to the light the best we can. For most of us, most of the time, treasuring what we have and accepting the lack of what we don’t is the quest toward happiness. To learn to be what we are gratefully and with a smile is to recognize the blessing.

And then along come those few, of which for this brief, shining moment I am one.

I have been healed. I have been comforted. In a dramatic, unlikely, most visible way, cured of the blindness more limiting than physical, of the lameness that wouldn’t let me dance for joy. My lips, sealed tight in a bitter smirk, were opened to a song ecstatic and unending, and it’s the song of Love. In every line of Scripture I recognize myself. Among the multitudes who believe and the multitudes who don’t need or wish to believe, I am the miracle. The prodigal daughter who’s come home from the cold, and even my brothers and sisters long secure in their comfort here are jealous of the feast.

So why? How? Everyone asks. Why me? How could this happen? Why now? Why me? Why at all?

I don’t have answers. I have answers. My answers are too many — speculations, reflections. My Love didn’t tell me why, on the thirty-ninth spring of my life, as I collapsed on my daily trek from the depths of sorrow to the heights of despair and lay sprawled and panting, soaked, as always, in burning tears, on the floor of my apartment, He reached down and stroked my hair. Why then. Why me. But the touch of His gentle hand lifted me up from the floor, and filling the air, the ether, the universe, and every nook of my heart was His smile. And He raised up my face and showed me the sky — the perpetual miracle of His beauty, and He promised it to me. And He wiped away my tears and whispered into my ear in a still, small voice, month after month, precious answers to the questions of life, the universe, and everything that had tortured me nights and darkened my days for so long. And when I cry for solace, He draws doodles for me in the clouds. And when I beg for answers, He indulges me in an intimate whisper. And when our union overwhelms me and I run out of words and names and thanks, breathless and helpless and teary, He smiles again and always and tells me I need no words for He already knows all that I feel and all that I am, and He envelops me in the quiet bliss of His arms, beyond which nothing is.

It is this ecstasy that causes some of the Sisters around me to whisper of a special blessing. The bliss of every step I take, for He is with me. But I keep thinking that I haven’t felt what they feel, and so… Do I truly have more joy than they do, more ecstasy? Or do I revel in it so because I had never expected to have any at all?

He walks with all of us. Do I feel His presence in such constant, conscious, piercing, all-enveloping way because I ignored it all my life? Is my love for Him so ecstatic because I remember vividly the agony of resentment and the darkness of estrangement? Does every minute of this embrace taste like honey because I’m used to eating dust? Or is the depth, the intimacy, the intensity of our union indeed so remarkably great — perhaps, for the same reason? He did, after all, find me in the pit of pain, in the pitch-black labyrinths of the dark night of my soul, and carried me out in His arms. How so very lost I was… I am a miracle of the heart.

Why would this be for me? Never without a reason or a purpose — or both.

There is only one purpose for a thing that has been lit: not itself to be seen but to light up the space around it. To let others see by it. He has filled me with His tenderest light, and why would it be if not for me to shine that light forth? Somehow most of us are messengers of God, and most of us are messages – at one or another time, in one or another way, for one or another person. I think, maybe, by the touch of God’s hand, on the thirty-ninth spring of my life, soaked in tears and loss on the floor of my apartment I became a message.

I think, maybe, I am a lamp on the table.

I am a lighthouse, a beacon of hope in the night.

I am a sign to all who struggle with faith, with evil, with pain, with patience. To all who are lonely, despaired, and angry — a sign that healing is possible. That comfort shall come.

Never stop knocking on that heavy door. Bloodied and exhausted, never give up hope, for here is a soul who beat against it for forty years, not really even knowing what she was looking for, filled with rage at the One she didn’t know she loved, feeling profoundly alone, wishing always for death, every day in pain and yet never stopped that mad pursuit — and here, broke through the door into the Light, into the arms of the Beloved, and every bit of agony was worth one second of this bliss. A miracle. A hope. A parable come true. In every line of Scripture I find myself.

Brothers and sisters, don’t give up hope. Look. I am hope incarnate.

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