Thursday, March 7, 2013

where the story leads

I know I've been absent lately. So absent. If it makes you feel any better, I've been ignoring me and especially ignoring God too. So you're in good company.

A while back a friend of mine did the bravest thing I've ever witnessed. She sat down with her closest friends and pulled out pictures and stories and documents to share her life story with us. It was astounding. Although I'm a counselor, I don't know if I've ever seen someone share her life with such naked honesty and vulnerability. She was responding to something God was calling her to do, and I was among a very few who was called to bear witness. It undid me.

Her story touched a nerve somewhere deep in me, in places I don't like to visit. There was something familiar there. Something terrible and frightening. Something that made me feel angry and knife-edged scared. I knew she was going to share with us and I made a commitment to myself to be present while the words and images flowed over me. I stayed with her story even when it caught in my throat and made me feel like I was drowning. I listened even when something in me screamed to run away.

I'm still listening. I can't get the sounds out of my head.

And I feel grateful.

I'm not angry or resentful that I'm carrying her story around with me now. I love her for trusting me with it. It's something I take very seriously, this bearing witness business. But it's not a passive thing. It takes strength and courage and a willingness to go where the story leads you. I haven't done that very well. I've been afraid to go where this story is leading me.

I traveled far away to the cabin where I get my best work and thinking done. I'm here alone listening to the sounds that are pounding away in my head. I don't expect to get very far. I'm not naive about these things anymore. My story has been unraveling for many years, and it never unfurls easily. It's like a flag that was rolled up wet and thrown out in the snow. If you try to to open the folds before it's thawed, it will only damage the fabric. So I've come to a bitterly cold place on a frozen lake to thaw out a bit. God knows a thing or two about irony.

The breath of the Spirit is so warm. I can feel the droplets of grief pooling around my heart.


  1. You inspire me. Prayers and hugs from GA...

  2. So strange Jessica. I was just reading your last two posts. I've been so busy lately that I'm way behind on blogs. And dear, you inspire me too. You break my heart and give me hope all in the same breath.

  3. Replies
    1. you too tara. hope you're well. i've been thinking about you a lot lately...


    background music angels, sometimes not.
    exterior skin invites, invents itself, guised as mirrors,
    leaves nowhere alone to hide feelings,
    poignantly hears heaven’s heart pounding

    it whisper-beats
    home-home, home-home, home-home, come home is where the love is.

    oh, all words of worlds cloaked,
    interior gyro soul mates split at birth, unrhymed,
    un-hymned mantra manuals waiting
    untimed, untamed

    oh, two unwounded together,
    beliefs resewn in midnight grip.
    none called this "their rain song",
    none knew his sudden flame-rain

    Loose lips. Titanics of trust.

    no best poem slid from quivering beastly lips,
    translated sighs of rusting knots unslipped.
    Heartfelt thanks swims a sacred kiss,
    tender touch, unspoken bliss prayer sipped.

    delicate plumb-lines,
    struggling tongues aching words unspun...
    words? unspeakably
    glistening ever young

    released sorrow as gifts
    gift of gifts that seek to riff,
    "heard" by forgetting and setting free ishkohe
    loose clothing in hot air sift

    poems from my core
    makes me feel like a

  5. I was honored to read your post. You're doing the real work. Blessings on you, my dark night friend.