Return to Me

November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Malachi 3: 5-7

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

Wild winds of abuse and grief had herded me into West Virginia. My sweet babe emerged in the eye of the storm. A peaceful birth into my own hands, a new rush of power swirled in on the February winds. For the first time in years, my body opened willingly; and untold joy appeared.

Cutting wind came from the rear. The storm of grief was not silenced. A penetrating fear rose as I imagined a gaped-grin creator flicking Its tongue at my tears. Outside of my window voices howled. Vulgarities spilled down alleys of social and emotional isolation. Feelings blocked by years of neglect and abuse, the sufferers believed themselves impossible to hear. Rage and pain swirled outside my windows, delivered at top volume. I kept my hand near a paper bag for the panic that would inevitably strike. My body drew into a tight ball of fear.

Eventually, I prayed. No god, no hope, my slippery grace resistant to even the most modest forms of peace, I prayed. One night, from the chair, I heard the sounds of abuse rising from outside. I gripped the chair and squeezed shut my eyes.

Behind my lids, I didn’t see a vision from outside: I saw my boy. I saw his sleeping shape, a soft “s” aglow in quiet light. I needed a way to change this course, to break this line of thinking, to make a way out. I clutched my lap, hung my head, and prayed.

There was nothing there. Nothing I felt, nothing I knew, only something I wanted: hope and purpose. “Here I am!” I cried. “See me!” I cried. “Touch me!” I cried. I lifted my hands to the sky as my tears washed me. From the cradle of that chair I offered my willingness, my will and my life. I offered it to nothing. In my offering, I had one request: touch me. Let me feel you. If I have reason to hope, if I have reason to relax, give me a direction for my life.

A blast from the west drove the tree down on us. We reached for its power as we climbed up and out of the hole. From that first night, I rested my new faith upon it. From our neighbor’s sweltering second floor we watched a strange salmon sky. There was a message in it. It was time to go.

Three-thousand miles lay behind us. From the corn to the plains to the Sand Hills to the mountains, a new faith carried us on. In messages like those from Malachi, I find my peace.

God loves justice. God does not do what he hates. God has a special love for those of us who suffer. Our raging, righteous Jesus champions the cause of every ne’re do well, outcast and struggler as he sweeps us up on his brisk walk to peace. Whatever he asks, I strive to learn. I know I will fail; but the Holy Three will see me trying my tail off to get it right.

Tonight, as I typed here, I watched a flutter rise and fall in the light from my lamp. Eventually, I glanced up to see a ladybug light on the base of the lamp. Conditioned to love ladyBUGS, I scooped it (her) into my hand for release. Earlier, another bug that was first suspected a cockroach had been trapped with a paper and cup for release. I didn’t want to touch it.

The ladybugs feet tickled the inside of my clasped hands as I thought. What other prejudices of mine pollute my thinking? Who said I held beauty in my hands? Who said some brown thing was ugliness? In what other ways do I lack courtesy and fairness? I puffed my creepy-crawly into the wind. I have a lot of thinking to do.

In all of this, I had only one certainty: I love and desire peace, justice and equality. Since my request, I’ve gained much more. A love rose up from beneath me. God has shown me how He makes Himself real in all of you. My cry for my Father was answered by the bounty of hands that appeared, and continue to appear. “Let me feel You,” I asked. And I do.