Monday, May 5, 2008

There was a time that I might have surrendered but not now

Bob Dylan stabbed my optimism this morning with his voice.

Broken, broken,
everything is broken

His words are a comfort sometimes...connecting realism with the beautiful mess of chaos and the grit that gives it traction. How did it all get so tangled, so disconnected?

I was at a new/old friend's home the other night. New friend because I met her a little over a year ago, old because I identify with her in a way that it would take years to develop. She is also my pastor. It was a lazy evening of food, music, cards and fending off affection from her Don Juan cat who would sneak nuzzles from me and leap onto the couch to be close to this new female in his domain. My friend and I talked about how all of the familiar had fallen away from us when we started our new lives in Detroit... friends, methods of transportation, approaches to our faith. With no certainties, we had found the gift of one another's comfort and friendship, and we so grateful for it.

We had been listening to her ipod and when a newly dressed song from my past began to play, I was transported.

I had big idea
I had a crazy eye
I broke the sacred seal
I told a lazy lie
I've had my conscience bent
I've had my patience tried
I've been up in the desert
And down by the riverside

I remembered the lazy lies and crazy eye from nearly 20 years ago, feeling emptied in the desert and growing up by the Riverside.

Will the eagle fly
If the sky's untrue?
Do the faithful sigh
Because they are so few?
Remember when I cried?
Remember when you knew?
Remember that look in your eyes?
I know I do

I recollected my feelings of being crushed by others' actions in what was supposed to be a safe, holy place. Lives truly shaken and futures forgotten in moments of oblique knowledge. Heavy, heavy experiences for someone not even through the first year of college.

I think this time in my life trained my psyche to expect the worst from people, that I was a victim no matter what I tried create of the chaos. The recovery from being this person has been a long road. A long road of learning and relearning hope.

And count the stars to measure time
The earth is hard, the treasure fine
To the sea I'll crawl on my knees

The grit of memories the years leave behind can stay with you and you have to remember not to re-live the hurt when those memories surface. Every time they surface. You begin to feel the curative waters and tuck into the healing that surrounds you.

Feel it coming in
Feel it going out
Water covers sand
Blood covers doubt
So I begin again
Again, the healing bow
There was a time that I might have surrendered
But not now

And then you begin the response to difficulty and pain by immediately waiting on your knees and letting the waters wash over you. Your eyes use mercy to see and your hands reach out with grace.

My friend preached yesterday. She talked about the lame beggar that everyday was lifted by his friends to a place at the Beautiful Gate to seek alms. Peter saw him there, took him to Solomon's Portico and he was healed. Excitedly, he announced his healing, not in the streets, but to those who were there in the temple. It seems that they needed to be reminded of the miracle of healing. My friend also reminded her congregation of healing and other miracles we should expect, letting us know that they might not be picture perfect landscapes of experiences, but to keep our hands open for what will land there. In her personal life, she had been surprised by a miracle just days before.

Her life and my life may be mightily different from what we anticipated would happen to it. There is still a sense of things not being quite what we'd like them to be. Yet we maintain our faith in miracles. We found friendship in each other.

Consult the cards to measure mine
The earth is hard, but the treasure fine
At the sea, I'll wait on my knees

*Dig by Adam Again