Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Direction I So Want To Go

It's the morning of my surgery  and we are driving in fog so thick only the sighting of an occasional road sign helps us get our bearings.  In my head I keep searching, "Where are we? Where are we?"  Finally we inch past a familiar roadside turnout and I know. Dearest One asks where we are and I tell him what we should see next - a place with so many lights you can't miss it. We look ahead into deep darkness and he questions my answer. Moments later an eerie ghostlike glow of tall guiding lights comes into view. Our shoulders relax back down around our ears. There is relief in knowing where we are and where we are headed.

Much of the journey of the past few months has felt like driving through fog, trying to recognize road signs and find my way again.

I lay in bed yesterday morning and opened myself up in silent prayer to the One who knows. Tears streamed out the corners of my eyes and down into my ears because the vulnerability felt too much and too real. I enfolded into myself less than five minutes later because I could not handle it another moment. I will be back another day, I said to God - I will last longer than five minutes.

While in hospital this week, tubes going in and out, trying to come to terms with an orange sized hole in my breast, I asked myself what was bothering me the most. Into my head came a picture of a woman, not unlike Rapunzel, throwing open a window in a castle turret and yelling "This is what happened to me." I watched as she came to the window over and over again, as horrified the fiftieth time as she had been at the first proclamation. I watched as she aged, screaming the same story until she died.

And in that moment I came face to face with a choice.

I've kept taped to my wall this snippet from Syd's blog for several years now:
"You can complain about the same problem three times. Then you'd better be in the solution. If you have to talk to more than three people about the same problem, you don't want help, you want attention."
And because I've swung like a pendulum between wanting attention all my years and shoving down my feelings I have struggled with posting so much about this particular part of my journey, confused as to whether I am attention seeking or honouring my feelings.

I do know that I don't want to be an old woman screaming this story thirty years from now.

I do know that I want to honour the journey.

In the midst of it all, too, is the shattering of all that I thought I knew about God and how God works. The whole ego inflating certainty that came crashing down with one fell swoop. A beautiful bitter sweet moment that is both gift and grace. One that simultaneously soothes and sears one's soul.

I have craved certainty my whole life long. It has taken me down some awful paths, my searching has. Ambiguity is nice in theory but damn, I want to know where my feet are headed.

I`ve felt like I've been grieving for the old me - the one I would never get back. And I've been trying to find my way through the fog, hoping for some road sign that would get me back on track - facing the direction I so long to go.

I almost miss the sign when it appears.

"It is less precise, this living with ambiguity and nuance and paradox and poetry, but it is more alive and real, too." ~ RJ 

I read these words with my head and then read them again. They slip past the fiercely guarded filter that keeps my head and heart separated. My hands fly to my face as I start to sob. As I grasp that there will be no going back.

And inside a little voice said,

"Welcome to more real."

And I realize that's the road sign my heart's been looking for all along.


Peter said...

Welcome to real life, Hope. Nice goin`!

Rebekah Grace said...

I have not faced the same as you, but this resonates deeply as I have so often said, "I don't want to be 75 years old still carrying around all of "this"!" (Whatever "this" might be on any given season.)

I have found literally a handful of people who have "found real" on their journey and when their life slams into mine I smell grace. It's a beautiful thing to be so lost in the dizzying effects of losing all we assumed, only to find some damn good company in the same boat with us.

Thank you for sharing. We need your words.

In His grace,

Jim said...

I have not literally "walked in your shoes", Hope, but do know that my own journey has been one continual learning that much of what the Church tried to fill my head with just didn't prove itself in the next step. What did prove "real" and has remained "real" is that momentary connection of which you speak in this post. In Him, you can "curl up" and find rest. In Him, you can know peace, not always in the road, itself, but in His hand holding yours as you go....

Mary Christine said...

Real is good. I am sorry that this has been a difficult journey.

Catherine said...

I know this post is a little way back, but I am trying to catch up with your journey.

Nuance, Paradox, Poetry. So beautiful. So scary.

I also love the thrice cursed mantra of your friend Syd. I'm gonna think long and hard about that one.

Thank you for sharing how you cope with pain without running.
What a comfort. You will be one of my guides.

Hugs to you.