Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: December 16, 2019

The last few days, I find myself simply falling apart. I can’t hold back the tears another moment. I can’t put a smile on my face and pretend I am doing just fine. I can’t hold in the grief that is filling every inch of my being. Perhaps you understand. Perhaps you too feel as if this year has been a nightmare, destroying your peace and security. Perhaps you feel as if your very life is crumbling, collapsing. Perhaps you can no longer hold in the tears, no longer pretend everything is just fine. And, perhaps like me, you aren’t ready to face the holidays. 

I have not purchased a single gift as of yet, nor even sent a Christmas card. Life has been simply too hard, too busy, and too complex emotionally this year. So, I decided that I will muster enough strength this week to send out just the bare minimum, but then the rest will have to wait. And, that’s ok. Instead, I will just take a few extra moments to pray and sit and grieve and allow God to hold me; to change me.

While studying in seminary, I had the honor of praying in the Howard Thurman Chapel at Howard University School of Divinity. Howard Thurman, an African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader, as well as someone whose legacy has impacted my worldview, once penned these moving words,

“There must be always remaining in every man’s life some place for the singing of angels — some place for that which in itself is breathlessly beautiful and by an inherent prerogative, throwing all the rest of life into a new and creative relatedness — something that gathers up in itself all the freshets of experience from drab and commonplace areas of living and glows in one bright light of penetrating beauty and meaning — then passes. The commonplace is shot through with new glory — old burdens become lighter, deep and ancient wounds lose much of their old, old hurting. A crown is placed over our heads that for the rest of our lives we are trying to grow tall enough to wear. Despite all the crassness of life, despite all the hardness of life, despite all of the harsh discords of life, life is saved by the singing of angels.”

This is my wish at this time of year for those of us who find it a trying time. As Howard Thurman said, ‘old burdens become lighter, deep and ancient wounds lose much of their old, old hurting’, and that is so often how God comes to us.

Join me as we gather for our annual ‘Blue Christmas Service’ this Friday at 6:30pm. God’s care and embrace are made manifest by often simple, selfless gifts and by His coming to us at the most opportune and perhaps unexpected moments. It is in these special moments that we are often made whole. Any earlier, these gifts would have been lost in the darkness of our grief; any later it could not have been undervalued or under appreciated. Because what will happen at Saint Miriam this Friday, will help heal us a bit more as we become a bit more whole again. No, I know that we will never be the same, but whatever is left, God will use for good. That I know and that I trust.

Why? Because God’s timing is always impeccable.

Will you allow God to hold your grief and lighten your burden? Will you join us and make time to sit for an hour and see how god will speak to you this Friday?
 

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