Lent... really being present
"The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
- Psalm 34:18
Embracing our losses.
There is something about loss that seems to invite woundedness and brokenness to the surface, until that's all we seem to focus on.
Throughout scripture there is the reality that loss happens. There is not a single person that has ever existed that has not encountered some type of brokenness. And yet, it is the brokenness that opens one up to God's presence.
To what point must any of us reach before we acknowledge that we cannot do this alone?
Years ago while doing my Clinical Pastoral Care at M D Anderson, my supervisor asked me why I smiled when talking about something very sad that had happened in my life?. I had never thought about it. It was at that point that I realized that over the years, a smile had become a defense. He was onto something within me. My ability to be vulnerable was masked by something that was seen as acceptable, but was not real.
I think of the experience that is shared in scripture when Jesus arrives at his friend Lazarus' tomb, with Lazarus' sisters present, friends watching, and he "weeps."
The vulnerability of Christ is powerful here. There are no words to express what he was feeling or thinking. He weeps.
We all seem to wear masks.
The intentions of our heart should be something that people can see and know about us. If we are broken, or have joy, or are simply unsure, then we should be willing and able to talk openly about these things. But we don't.
Why is that? Why do any of us not present the truth about who we are?
We have become 8 second sound bytes and then we are ready to move on, but for some, the wound is much deeper and requires much more attention.
Our faith community should be a place where we can be honest. Our family should be a place where we can be completely vulnerable and know that we will remain loved when sharing our pain.
God is aware of all our troubles. Even when we can't seem to find words, our silence, and often our tears, cry out and God is there.
Being present for one another is among the most beautiful gifts we have to share with one another.
Our ability to be honest in our vulnerability is truly a blessing as well.
I hope that we all may be able to be ourselves through all the times of our lives with one another, and that because of that vulnerability, we are made whole through Christ our Lord who heals all.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.