Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twelve Weeks: Endurance

It's sinking in with a heavier weight than ever before.

The Lovely Daughter is in the air somewhere, coming home for Thanksgiving only because her oldest brother is not.

Last year, he did come home, with The Elegant Girlfriend. And for the several years before that, we joined him in Chicago.

Thanksgiving has come to mean the snow falling in front of Marshall Fields' windows, the view from the top of the Sears Tower, the narrow streets of Hyde Park, and the University of Chicago's gargoyles. It has meant hope, as our family's young adult children reunited, reconfiguring relationships and bringing new partners into the fold on the cusp of the much greater hope of Advent.

Now it means endurance.

*******

Late this afternoon I went to the Carmelite monastery, because a Montessori mom of long ago was having the Mass said for Chicago Son. Just as the prayers began and his name was read, another Montessori mom -- and the Lovely Daughter's first and second grade teacher --tramped in from the slush. She had never been to the Carmelites' before, but today for no reason at all she chose to arrive just in time to wrap me in her arms. I had thought that I would be all right, but I wasn't. Thank God for her decision tonight.

Afterward, a few people offered what they thought were words of comfort.

Endurance.

********

I look around town and around the blogosphere and I see that, ready or not, the holidays are upon us. Thirty-eight days until January 2. Seems like a long time until this season comes to an end. I thought that maybe I would try to write my way through Advent, but now I think not. The metaphors that come to mind to describe my outlook are too raw for public consumption.

Lent cannot come soon enough for me.

Endurance.

********

And finally, for those of us for whom Advent this year will be a constant reminder of the hope that we long to find in its fullest meaning, I offer this, picked up on The Mercy Blog:

Give me your failure; he says I will make life out of it. Give me your broken, disfigured, rejected, betrayed body, like the body you see hanging on the cross, and I will make life out of it. It is the divine pattern of transformation, and it never seems to change.

We'll still be handicapped and terribly aware of our wound, but as St. Augustine says, "In my deepest wound I see your glory and it dazzles me." Our wound is our way through. Or as Julian (of Norwich) also put it, at the risk of shocking us, "God sees the wounds, and sees them not as scars but as honours… For he holds sin as a sorrow and pain to his lovers. He does not blame us for them." (Chapter 39, Showing 13, Revelations of Divine Love) We might eventually thank God for our wounds, but usually not until the second half of life.

Richard Rohr, from
Everything Belongs

22 comments:

Michelle said...

My trouble with Lent was that it led to Easter - I still see Easter joy through a veil of pain. Twenty two years this year, and there are still moments that one can do nothing else but endure.

my thoughts, prayers are for you GG

Gannet Girl said...

Well, yes, it has occurred to me that the end of Lent will bring a new set of challenges.

{{{Michelle}}}

RevDrKate said...

Once again....out of your pain you give me something to hold in my own struggle to find things to hold onto until things might make sense again. Prayers and love to you, GG.

Purple said...

Endurance indeed. Thinking of you and your family in this day and the days to come. May even the peace of endurance accompany you.

Michelle said...

Ignatius' wise advice was to stick to the present day's worries, so perhaps Lent should take care of itself for now in both of our lives!

{{{{{{GG}}}}}}

Magdalene6127 said...

This is a breathtakingly beautiful quote from Rohr.

No words are sufficient. But we are here. (((GG)))

Cynthia said...

Disce pati -- the lessons continue.

MikeF said...

Thank you for the link - like Magdalene says, it's a wonderful passage of Rohr's. But the way is long, and the tears sting. Praying for you...

Gannet Girl said...

It is a breathtaking quote, though I wondered about the last line, but then decided to leave it in and see where it takes me. I don't know anyone who feels grateful for the losses of early life. Perhaps for the scars of resilience and independence and compassion and appreciation for the present moment and its gifts which evolve as the necessary byproducts, but not for the wounds themselves.

MikeF said...

Looking back, GG, I honestly think I am grateful for some of those early losses. Oh, not for the pain and the sometimes humiliation I felt then, and not for the fact of those that happened through bereavement - but for the wounds that still remain, that have made me softer, quieter, far more gentle and if not wiser then a little less idiotic!

Blessings

Mike

Shalom said...

Many prayers for you, and for your family.

Stratoz said...

I was reminded this week of what I see as a benefit of having no memory of childhood, by the time most personalities are fully formed, I was still a blank slate. That loss of memory is a wound that makes me sad, however, I have come to like the person who emerged from that slate, in a strange way, I am grateful for the memory loss. Gilead has helped.

Peace be with you.

Jennifer said...

Prayers galore.

Anonymous said...

Gannet Girl,

I have to confess that I've been lurking here for a bit; lurking only because the words I have essentially fall so very short. Today, I attempt to write simply to let you know that, for what it's worth, one more person holds you and your entire family in prayer.

Mich

Jennifer said...

One breath at a time today....and may there be some Chicago Son memories filled with laughter for all the spaces that will be filled with tears.

Paul said...

Courage, Robin.

Deb said...

I was thinking of you today and the changes in your holiday table...

(o)

Deb

Sophia said...

The quote is powerful indeed. Thank you.

I've been praying for you much and will continue to do so in these first painful holidays....If you have energy to remember a family in similar straits please keep in mind and heart Miranda, dead at cancer at 12 about a month ago, and her parents and siblings (her dad works for mine).

Gannet Girl said...

Oh, Sophia, I am so sorry. Of course I will keep them in my thoughts. How terribly life changes.

Purple said...

My spiritual director says that everytime we think of someone...it is a prayer. Know you have been prayed for many times in the last several days.

Althea N. Agape said...

With that in mind, you are prayed for frequently. With thoughts and tears.

Jan said...

Thank you.