Glimmer of Light

Yesterday was a red-letter day!  I started to see a little glimmer shine through my darkness.  It is surprising since it happened on the coldest day of the year so far and I HATE cold weather.  I’m trying to get hold of that little glimmer and make it grow.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do this even though I have surgery on my hand scheduled next week.

Last Sunday was the last day of the church year called “Reign of Christ Sunday.” I saw the glimmer when I was in church.  I remember the exact moment although nothing special happened.  I was sitting with the choir and looked up out the window on the side of the sanctuary and there was the glimmer.  I felt warm inside and knew my depression would lift soon.  Just like that: a little light in the darkness

imagesCA5ASJO9The lectionary passage was Luke 23:33-43 where Jesus is on the cross.   It is a bit strange that this passage falls here in the lectionary. In her sermon Kristy Farber, told the story about the architect of one church’s sanctuary. The pastor said, “We don’t want any crosses on the church… We don’t want anybody to think failure and weakness.  Why would we want a symbol of a man slumped dead on a cross after his few friends have gotten out of dodge?”

I do.  I actually like these kinds of stories.

Sometimes I need to remember that Jesus went through great pain and understands mine.  I need to remember that he survived and even thrived and I can do the same.    I need to remember that he understands what I feel even if it seems no one else does.  Somehow I will rise above whatever is getting me down just as he did.

1957MichelCiryTheRisenChristParisAs Kristy preached, I couldn’t help thinking about that painting of Jesus

(pictute left) after the resurrection where Jesus looked small and weak.  I love that painting.  That’s an image of the God I worship – a God who understands when I’m in darkness. This is a God who sees my vulnerability and lets me know its okay.  Too often in our world we have to appear strong, as if we have it all together.

I have written this before but I don’t believe for a minute that my accident was God’s will.  God didn’t allow it to happen so I could learn something.  Instead, God is taking what happened to me and helping me live a fuller, more complete life.  God is showing me how to use my weakness to comfort and help make others stronger.

Often I think about the question, “what if?”  What if my accident never happened?  What would I be doing and where would I be living today?  Thinking these questions, however, is a waste of time.  I can’t change what happened.  I can only move forward with this new reality.  Even after all these years, this reality gets me down.  I see folks doing what I want to do but cannot and then I feel sad.  However, there is a tiny glimmer of light.  My plan is to hang on to that glimmer, grieve what I have lost and move forward.

Sometimes I wish life was a simple process.  I would travel along, hit a bump and then there is smooth sailing.  However, for better or for worse, I’m a sensitive person.  This means I tend to feel all the bumps and they never go away and that’s okay.  I hope I never get to the point where I don’t feel them for life would not be nearly as rich if I stopped feeling those bumps.   That’s what I like about both of the pictures above especially the one after the Resurrection.  Jesus went through a whole lot of bumps and he never forgot them.  God never forgets me when I’m in the darkness.  Someday, there will be light.

Hope in God

In all these years since my brain injury there have been phases where I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other because I want my old life back.  When I’m in one of these phases everything looks bleak and I have difficulty pushing myself to do anything but read the New York Times, drink coffee, and feel sorry for myself.  I have been in this phase for a couple of months now and my creativity is gone completely.  This is why I haven’t written in this blog for a long time.

However, yesterday a couple of sentences from Mark’s sermon at Grace Covenant Presbyterian affected me.  He used Luke 20:27-40 the story of the Sadducees asking Jesus a question about the resurrection.  He spoke about how we have questions about the resurrection but they always seem to be about us.  “What’s going to happen to us, Will we know each other? Will we be like we are now?  Will I still have to wear glasses?”    He suggests the “resurrection is really not about us at all.  Resurrection is really about God.”

Yes it is.  When I look back on these past 16 years, I see how God has worked in my life.  Being able to serve as a volunteer chaplain at the retirement center in Atlanta was a real gift but I had to try other things before finding it.  My move here to Asheville has been good for me but it wasn’t easy to have to adjust to a whole new environment.  Plus, things aren’t easy now.

Mark also said, “You can’t explain the resurrection.  The resurrection explains us.”   My therapist pointed out to me that I’ve been in places like this before.  The key right now is to focus on things that feel good and quit worrying about what I am going to do with my life.  This is a challenge for me because I see so many folks who are doing so many neat things for God and I feel frustrated about finding some way to serve with my limitations.

Two other issues are bothering me as well. I must wear my eye patch more frequently now due to my double vision and I’m going to see my hand surgeon in Charlotte tomorrow.  I have Thumb Basal Joint Osteoarthritis and it seems to be getting worse which means I may need surgery. photo2-1Sz1000 Below is a picture of a rainbow around Warren Wilson College that my friend Julie Lehman took.  She saw it while driving to her job at the college so she pulled off the road and took a picture of it on her camera phone.

Rainbows always help me have hope which is why I included it here. Yes, I’m depressed and fed up with my eye and my hand. Yes, I’m mad I can’t drive at night and I’m sick of always having to get a ride.  Yes, I’m tired and sometimes want to quit figuring out how I can serve God in this world and simply stay home and read the New York Times.  However, looking at this rainbow reminds me to keep trying.

The resurrection is not about me even though I’m feeling pretty down just now.  I want to remember the resurrection is about God and the power hope has.

There was a quote printed in the bulletin Sunday by St. Francis de Sales. “Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting God who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  Either God will shield you from suffering, or God will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination, and say continually; ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in God and I am helped.  God is not only with me…but in me…and I in God.”