Sara Groves has a line in her song Going Home that says, “I’m confined by my senses.” That’s how I’m feeling these days. Tears don’t seem adequate, I don’t see the bigger picture, I can’t. I’m struggling to hear from God about a variety of things. My body is failing me in a few ways. I can’t imagine God as big enough to hold all the current heartache in my life let alone in Houston and Louisiana, not to mention the world. As my senses confine me I have to do that children of Israel thing and “remember.” Ugh! I’m tired of remembering the faithfulness of God and trying to hang on to it for another season. Actually, I think I’m just tired.
I suppose I’m looking for more than comfort in the moment. I’m also looking for words of comfort that aren’t trite to say to those around me who are suffering much more than I am. As my mom takes action to move my Father into a home my heart breaks for her. After 62 years of marriage, of living under the same roof, the care giving has taken a toll on her and it’s no longer safe for my dad to remain in their home. What can I say to salve that? And my friend from high school that just informed everyone that her cancer is back and it is aggressive and the chemo regimen given was intolerable and so she has chosen quality of life and is on hospice. I sent a card. Seemed pointless. So did the check my husband Mike and I sent to the Salvation Army for Hurricane Harvey relief. Drop in the bucket things. What do my words, my little actions, my flowing tears for my friend and my mom and dad even mean in the larger scheme of things?
I guess it’s like what I told one of my spiritual direction clients this week. It’s not really about anything we do, though those things matter in ways we won’t ever likely know. It’s about being with God and learning the meaning of presence through that practice. Actual physical presence, presence through a card, through a monetary gift. Lots of ways we can be present. And sometimes in that presence, tears flowing is the most comforting thing we can say.
I guess the knot in my stomach, the salty tears on my cheeks also speaks to the deep longing for home that will never fully be realized here and now. Sara Groves, in the same song I mentioned earlier, has a line that says, “Going home I’ll meet you at the table.” I picture this long table, like those church basement potluck dinner tables, that never ends. I picture sitting down next to people I’ve been missing for years. My grandparents that left for that table so long ago I need photos to bring back deeper recollections. I picture sitting next to a healed version of my dad who can currently only speak a couple of words depending on the day. He used to preach every Sunday back in his prime. And I see my high school friend at that table, too, laughing and telling old boarding school stories.
I continue to find comfort in Romans 8:26(NIV) “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words.” Hallelujah for the great translator when all I can do is shed tears.F