Missing Some Words
Beginning this post is the most difficult one yet. I can’t find a word. I’ve been looking and trying for days and it hasn’t surfaced. What I’ve chosen to post is a prayer I wrote in my journal a few days after it happened. The ‘it’ is the word I can’t find. “Incident” doesn’t seem strong enough because of the trauma in which I find myself in the days that have followed. “Attack” seems to give strength and power away to a ….I can’t find that word either.
I saw a face and felt a body so I know it was a person, but how can another human person act so inhumanely? Perpetrator sounds like fiction - a Netflix word- but this is my real life. And I can’t bring myself to say I’m a ‘victim’ even though the detective did. “Assault,” also the detective’s word, seems too strong when I remember how I screamed and fought and the help that came from three directions; and “robbery” isn’t exactly right because I still have my phone and my wedding ring. And though he seems to have taken peace and freedom, those will return to me in time.
I will eventually write about this ‘it,’ but I must keep searching for the words. To those of you who have faithfully followed this blog, may I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my words. About two months ago, I found myself thinking about you, praying about the direction of the blog and wanting to write multiple posts on a single theme. I would not have picked this subject, but the last week of my life has been and will continue to be transformative and most probably will be examined in this space when I can find the words.
In the meantime, this was my prayer four days afterwards:
Good morning, Jesus-
The light, as you promised, never ceases to find me. You awake me into your presence, whether I sense it or not. You held me all night, as you did the whole world. I awoke in the same grace and mercy I always have. The same river holds me up this morning that always has, the River that holds us all.
Thank you for watch-care through the night; for sleep, not as much as I wanted, but more than I’ve had. Thank you “the scene in my mind” didn’t play in the moments when I lay awake in the dark, but rather the songs you sent me to meditate on. Thank you for my husband, for the glimpses into his soul this week and the beauty I have found there. I can see you in him your patience, your deep and wise silence, your embrace, your protection, your unhurried love. He keeps saying, “in time” and it is your voice and his together telling me you are healing me “in time.”
Thank you for my daughter, living with us temporarily, who scrambled eggs and drew a bubble bath with three lit candles before I knew I needed them. Your eyes see my needs through her beautiful blue eyes, the most notable thing about her the moment they put her in my arms twenty-three years ago. I see that she is grown and strong and ready for her life ahead. I see that she bears your light. Thank you.
Help me, O Lover of my Soul, to listen. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in your image. You are triune. Let not my mind demand of my body what it is not yet ready to do. May I honor the body you made, the non-thinking part of my brain and nervous system that worked hard and fought for me in that horrific moment. May I see the wonder of your design and marvel at your greatness. Thank you that my soul belongs to you and may my mind also not demand of my soul that it open to the world before its rest is done. To respect the triune nature of myself is to worship you - for you have made us in your image.
Thank you for what my friend calls “sideways grace”- the friends showing up with love in a cup, tomato soup, bread and wine, and butterscotch pound cake. Thank you for the human embrace, the strength I gain from every person who wraps their arms around me. Thank you for all the holy work you call your people to - for doctors and medicine, patrolmen and detectives, for massage therapists, and hair stylists and professional counselors. ( What does it say about me that I have three close friends and one aunt - all of whom are licensed therapists?) Thank you for a yoga teacher who rubs fragrant oil on my head and hair while I rest and seals it with a holy kiss.
Thank you for the neighbors who came to my rescue, for every scripture verse texted to me, the saint that was praying for me even as it was happening. Thank you for the flowers and the friends that brought them, for the songs that have played over and over cleansing my thoughts. For every offer for a self-defense class, gun safety course, pepper spray or guard dog.
It is all grace. All of it.
No one can take that from me. I am loved. I am your beloved. And even in my darkest moments, the light they are carrying outshines the darkness in this world. This light, coming to me from every direction, it is You. It is sideways grace.
We had just put up our Christmas decorations and dragged the dry tree out of the house. It was January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany, the day celebrating that God incarnate has come as Jesus Christ. The darkness of Advent is behind us and we are in the season of light. The irony is not lost on me. After all, my own holy calling is words.
I do not know why this happened or what they wanted. It could have been much worse. It was bad enough. May I bear it with grace. May it work in me more compassion, more mercy, more kindness, more desire for justice. May I not get stuck in fear or anger.
Thank you for the words of David in the Psalms, who gives me permission to express every human emotion and shows me that you are a Love vast enough to absorb it all.
Special thanks to Brian Kelly for the phrase, "sideways grace". It helps me to see.