Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Waiting

Sometimes after a session with Father Charlie I feel like it's just the same crap different pile. It feels like I've been visiting these piles forever. I asked myself on the way home the other day which pile was I stirring this time. As if I had nothing better to do with my time. Sigh. I'm weary of it. Father Charlie told me today that even so it was movement, it was progress, and sometimes a person stirs just a little but it's still movement.

That means that even when I feel like I'm standing still I'm not.

I had a restless sleep last night. There are blurry lines in my head between me and my mom and me and my daughter. The patterns of abuse from my childhood home I repeated in my own home. Certain images of my actions haunt me. It was a slow ride up out of the abuse pit to break the cycle for the next generation. One may turn a corner abruptly but the baggage they carry with them cuts a wide swath and it takes a while for the momentum to stop. I was shocked when Father Charlie asked me about my feelings towards my mom to have the image of wanting to strike her flash through my head. To pummel her mercilessly for the pain she has caused me. I am so tired of there not being peace when I think about my mom. It comes occasionally in small doses - like when she was in the hospital with congestive heart failure....but whenever I go inside to that tender spot where the pain is the greatest there are waves of anger, pain and fear. Jesus, could you just heal me already?

One of the books I bought when I went to West Edmonton Mall was about one man's 30 day Ignatian retreat. Within its pages he shared his experience of an exercise called a Triple Colloquy that stuck with me. Here is the gist of it:

Triple Colloquy: from St. Ignatius:

I go to Mary that she may ask, on my behalf, for three favors from her Son:
~ deep realization of what sin is in my life,
~ an understanding of the disorders in my life and how to amend them,
~ and an insight into the culture that surrounds me and leads me to seek empty things as if they could bring happiness.
In the book I bought it describes it as an understanding of how the Prince of this World works, and to hate those works.

Next, in the company of Mary, I go to her Son, Jesus, and ask that he may obtain these same graces from the Father.

Finally, with Mary and Jesus, I approach the Father and make the same requests.

Last night by candle light I visualized going with my mother to Mary. The look of compassion on Mary's face...her knowing as a mother herself...she made haste to bring us to Jesus. I felt like a bit of a bystander because I was curious what it looked like to see my mother going to Jesus. Tears and more tears as I sensed her longing for mercy. When we went to God together, the final scene of Braveheart came into my head and I realized that extending mercy towards my mother meant freedom for me. I have always loved that final scene where William Wallace cries "freedom" with every last ounce of energy left in his body while the crowd wants him to cry mercy to be saved from the pain of a brutal death.

This morning as I did some research I had no idea that the theme of the Triple Colloquy was mercy. I could remember none of the specifics. Last night I forgot there were three points or anything. All I knew was that I was to go in prayer to Mary, then with her to Jesus and then together to God. I'm not sure why I brought my mother along with me.

After this time of prayer I went to bed and dreamt I was standing outside my bedroom door in a dark vise-like grip. Picture a silhouette outlined with a thin veneer of concrete and that is what it felt like. On my own power I could not move. The very Prince of this World held me tight. In the dream I struggled for a long time, I prayed different things. Nothing made any difference to the hold Satan had on me. Finally I prayed through the Apostle's Creed and started to say 'Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.' As soon as I said "Christ have mercy" whatever was binding me let go. I woke up gasping for breath from the strain of trying to break free.

Last night I had prayed for the courage to drop the baggage I have been carrying around with me for 43 years. Today I am more than hopeful that my prayer will be fruitful.

I also read through Being Home. This selection says it for me:


How hard it is to know
when the pot is too small for the plant.
Some plants need to be contained, held very close.
Others cannot be crowded.
I don't know when I myself am too pot-bound,
lacking courage to be replanted,
to take the shock of new soil,
to feel into the unknown and to take root in it.

This drying out, this self-crowding
sneaks up on me. It seems I must always feel
a little wilted or deadened before I know
I'm too pot bound.

This african violet must first be cut
and divided. The knife goes through the root.
The white flesh exposed and moist
looks as if it is bleeding.
It must have soil immediately
so the plant won't die.
Then water. Water taken in from below.
This water must seep up into the plant
by infusion. Then comes the waiting
as the shock registers.
Days and weeks of waiting.

It will be months before a new leaf appears.
Perhaps the plant won't make it.
So it is when the time comes for me to be cut
and divided so as to grow again.

Help me to see this not as a problem
but as a process. Help me surrender
to the growth that only comes with pain,
with division, with helplessness, with waiting.
Especially the days and weeks of waiting.

~ Gunilla Norris in Being Home

No comments: