Come to Me

img_4779

Come to Me

 

Come to me when you’re stressed out,

When you’re overwhelmed,

When the burnout has set in,

When the anxiety grips you,

When the exhaustion never seems to end,

When tired is the only word you know to express the emptiness you feel.

 

Come to me when the responsibilities keep growing,

When the demands are more than the resources,

When you feel like you need six of you and, at best, you’re only at half-power.

 

Come to me when the thoughts won’t stop racing,

When the words won’t stop coming,

Even when all you want is to be quiet,

Come to me and I will listen to it all.

 

Come to me when you are angry and full of rage,

When you want to rant and scream,

When you are full of hurt and trying to keep a lid on it so as not to hurt anyone else.

Come to me and let me be angry with you and for you.

Let me soothe the hurt inside.

 

Come to me when the words run out and all that is left are the tears.

Come to me, for I understand the language of tears.

Come to me and I will give you space to breathe.

I will give you time to cry.

 

Come to me when you are surrounded by people and yet you feel so very much alone.

Come to me and I will sit beside you.

Come to me and I will embrace you.

 

Come to me and I will give you rest,

I will give you peace,

I will give you silence,

I will give you stillness,

I will give you space,

Come to me and I will give you healing and strength.

 

Take my yoke upon your shoulders,

Let me share your burdens.

They weren’t mean to be yours alone.

Let me help you carry all that is heavy in life.

 

I am gentle, kind, and patient.

I am love and compassion.

I will teach you and support as we walk.

 

We will bear these burdens together,

You and I,

Every step of the way.

You are not alone in this.

You never have been.

You never will be.

I am here.

 

Come to me.

Let me give you rest.

Terms and Conditions

terms-and-conditions_tcm8-9351_w710

I’ve spent the last few weeks avoiding coming to terms with my trust issues. The simple exercise of writing a list of those I trust turned into ten days of me either avoiding my journal entirely or staring at a blank page and then walking away.

With the start of Lent, I have found myself thrown back into the same emotional grist mill where I spent all of Advent. I kind of expect the teary moments this time around and that’s okay. I can handle those. That sounds like such a simple thing. To be able to cry and be okay with the tears. But the reality is it has taken a long time for me to get to this point. To stop believing the lies that crying over things that hurt is a sign of instability or weakness.

What has been so much harder to come to terms with has been my anger. This time of year always sits like lead. The end of January to the end of March is always haunted by memories of my father’s last weeks. The one place, the church,  I often turned to for solace has become so tainted that it is no longer a sanctuary and the church I have moved to is still too unfamiliar to be completely comfortable. I’m angry that I have been driven out of my refuge. I deeply resent being betrayed and abandoned by people I trusted, most especially my pastor and confessor. Every time those tears come because I’m feeling adrift, the anger comes raging up behind the tears.

So here I am. Second Sunday of Lent. A blank page in my journal staring back at me. Trust. Who do I trust? There is a list. It has more people on it than it used to. But is a very gradational list. I trust only up to a point. And that point depends on the situation and the person and our relationship.

Am I on my own list? No. Or maybe a better answer would be: Not yet.

Is God on my list?  Cautiously, yes.

How is that God, who loves me unconditionally, is so hard for me to trust? Because too often what I’ve known as love has always been conditional.

Conditional love can be defined, broken down, and understood. Cause and effect. Action and reaction. Expectation and reality. That makes it strategic. That sets up the conditions that are the rules of the game. They’re a pattern, a puzzle to be figured out; terms to be agreed to. I can learn how to play that game. What risks to take. What strategy to use. And when the stakes are too high, to walk away.

Unconditional love is a total unknown. There is no game and therefore no strategy. There are no terms and conditions to agree to. Unconditional love just is. Which means there is no control. And that is terrifying. Things beyond my control have a nasty way of coming back to hurt me.

I know enough of God to know God doesn’t work like that. More than ever before, it seems like Lent for me means working through who God is not. The tears, the anger, the resentment, the betrayal and abandonment, the broken trust: none of those came from God. But if I can hand them over, God will take them.

If… for two little letters that’s a really big word.

 

 

Advent Tears

candles

Maybe I’m under too much stress from work and school. Maybe it’s the car that doesn’t seem to understand that it needs to last one more year without bankrupting me. Maybe it’s the fourteen nights straight of dreams where horrible black smoke monsters are coming to kill me. Maybe it’s the fact that the weather is too warm and my ice queen soul desperately need it to snow. Yeah, I guess maybe all that could be starting to wear me down. Whatever the cause, I’m finding myself ridiculously prone to tears this Advent season.

Anything and everything has set me off. Sometimes it hasn’t taken anything at all. If I’m still for more than five minutes, I’m crying. So, of course, I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. And, of course, that isn’t working so well.

Riding in the car? My favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra song set me off.

Twitter? Pictures of Rev. Daniel’s creche touched off the water works. Particularly when he pointed out that he loves this set because it’s the only one he’s ever found where Mary is actually holding Jesus like a mother instead of just staring at him in the manger like she’s not quite sure what to do with him.

Today it was as simple as taking my son to see the last installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.  It wasn’t the movie that got to me. I’d read all three novels so I knew what was coming. No, it was the commercial before the previews before the movie that did me in. There’s a Windows commercial where their NYC employees flash mobbed outside an Apple store singing Let Peace Begin With Me.

Oh no. Not going there. This is stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Cheesy. Sappy. Sentimental. Shit where are the tissues?! Seriously, have I gotten that pathetically sappy that I’m crying over commercials now? Really? This is a new low.

Or is it?  Do I really want to shut down that softer side of myself? I know my weakest points. I have serious issues with trust. I rarely feel safe. But over the last few years, I let my defenses down. I allowed myself to trust more and there are at least some places and times when I feel mostly safe. In short, I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable again. That vulnerability doesn’t come without a price. Reconnecting with the innocent, childlike wonder-filled part of myself makes the world a big, beautiful place that I love. But it also means that the vitriol, fear, hatred and violence hit much deeper now. Putting my infamous protective inner walls back up no longer seems like an option I can live with.

So now what? As I struggle with this teary feeling where nothing feels solid, I hang to a few lines from The Shack – which I am re-reading for the nineteenth time.

“Jesus, I feel lost.”

“I know… But it’s not true. I am with you and I’m not lost. I’m sorry it feels that way, but hear me clearly. You are not lost.”