OPEN

My pastor, Megan Ramer (seattlemennonite.org) offered this prayer yesterday, and in turn I offer it to you on this day dominated by horrific memories of the 9/11 attack on the United States. Pictures of powerful wildfires and suffocating lowland smoke are a constant reminder of the violent unrest sweeping through many cities; violence fueled by the hot wind of divisive rhetoric spewing from the mouths of those entrusted with the mandate to protect and care for their citizens.

Still. And yet. The image of this lilly, exquisite in it’s vulnerability and exposed to the sun and elements, calls me to remain open to hope. Vulner-able. Accepting the wound and exposing ourselves to the possibility of healing. May the healing you long for be yours today.

Sharing a prayer by Anna McKenzie, from Good Friday People by Sheila Cassidy, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991

And so we must begin to live again,
We of the damaged bodies
And assaulted minds.
Starting from scratch with the rubble of our lives
And picking up the dust
Of dreams once dreamt.
And we stand there, naked in our vulnerability,
Proud of starting over, fighting back
But full of humility
At the awareness of the task.
We, without a future,
Safe, defined, delivered
Now salute you God.
Knowing that nothing is safe,
Secure, inviolable here.
Except you.
And even that eludes our minds at times.
And we hate you
As we love you,
And our anger is as strong as our pain.
Our grief is deep as oceans,
And our need as great as mountains.
So, as we take our first few steps forward
Into the abyss of the future,
We would pray for
Courage to become what we have
Not been before
And accept it,
And bravery to look deep
Within our souls to find
New ways.
We did not want it easy God,
But we did not contemplate
That it would be quite this hard,
This long, this lonely.
So, if we are to be turned inside out,
And upside down,
With even our pockets shaken,
Just to check what’s rattling
And left behind,
We pray that you will keep faith with us,
And we with you.
Hold our hands as we weep,
Giving us strength to continue,
And showing us beacons
Along the way to becoming new.
We are not fighting you God,
Even if it feels like it,
But we need your help and company,
As we struggle on.
Fighting back
And starting over.

Photo Credit: Susan Wehrman

Laying It to Rest

dementor2One particular scene in the film,“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” always sends shivers through me.  Harry and his friends are on the Hogwarts Express when a dementor  attempts to suck out Harry’s soul.  That is what they do.  They prey upon all positive energy and leave their victims in a state of emptiness.

I think of this symbol today because I just spent sacred time with a friend, putting to rest a time in our youth when we were preyed upon simply because we were there.  And we were vulnerable.  I am keenly aware of the need to develop spiritual practices that protect us.  I know that many of my readers have experienced similar betrayal, for it is a human experience.  I pray that you also experience healing and forgiveness.

Blessings.

LAYING IT TO REST

Two aging soul-sisters
Hold vigil in a Victorian café-
A sanctuary for deep
Soul-work.

No brain fog mimics the
Claustrophobic fog outside.
We remember every word of
Our story.

In tandem we tell the story
For what we hope will be the last time:
How dementors in a consecrated community
Sucked out our souls and how-
Because we were young and wounded-
We let them.

Stronger now, our souls are safe.
In the telling, we recognize
Healing and forgiveness-
Self-forgiveness stumbles
Through the fog.

 It is past time
To pack up our pain and
Rise from our chairs.
Claustrophobic fog has no power
To crowd our spacious spirits.
Our eucharist has ended, and we
Step out.

© rita h. kowats