Or “Why ‘Searching for the North Star'”
I am not a weak woman nor am I a woman who values ease above all else.
But this last season has undone my faith.
After an invisible and feral childhood -accessed easily by predators and despair
After losing my brother to cancer while on the pay-as-you-go college plan
Living as a foreigner anywhere we lived – an oddball – and finding a faith that somehow “stuck” and sustained me
Rising and falling
and falling again
I began a new life in service to this God I loved. An unwilling purge of my then-life-sustaining-pride-and-chutzpah led into an invitation to a life of love and care.
And there were I do’s which were biffed by violence and outbursts during the ceremony.
And very soon, I was blindsided by one violence and another. And another.
It was so unforeseen and unexpected. I was unable to process it for many months.
I had been bamboozled.
I had believed a great lie
that swamped such despair and desperation that I fled for shelter.
Entitlements that no person should be claimed to honor were expected of me.
I had believed a great lie.
But my love for my kids and my gasping-for-air faith eventually led me to get up off the floor, find a tiny apartment, and begin to crawl towards life. A stranger in a hot and dusty land. Isolated.
Then came tentative midnight forays to the grocery store.
Later, mid-morning Wednesday yoga woo’d me out-toward.
And then my family – relatives of name and nature – urged me forward and out of the abyss.
A new precedent in Texas law was set and I returned “home” to start again with a few bits of furniture and a brokenness so pervasive that
I wondered if the bleeding would never end.
Somehow, healing came.
I think that it was the running and proximity of family and familiar places: the Konza, the artist’s home and cats; the Queens who called me forward, the aMayeses and Stevens-es, and M3. My kids.
The other precious ones that had been told a long and great lie.
Even after a lifetime of pulled up bootstraps, I could not fathom the depths of that despair.
Until I began to wonder where the hell god was in all of this living-where my buddy, Crock, goes to offer a sacred love to the trafficked and pimped. Where is this god when the children hide under beds in fear or older neighbors live in a loneliness that is palpable? When the stray bullet hits or the car crashes?
I found myself saying, “I just don’t understand” more than “Thank you.”
Mystery was no longer beautiful, but part of my complaint.
Who can stand against the unseen?
I promised my kids that I would never check out on them…permanently, because the darkness had swallowed me completely and it showed.
Anger and Outrage consumed.
And yet, my friend and pastor, counseled and asked me to walk beside another mom. Even knowing how angry and flattened-of-faith I am.
Anyhoo, I still don’t know.
The bibles with the broken spines and waves of color and notes within, knees all scabby from the kneeling, and the endless hours of prayers murmured, sung, cried out, painted, and written in a life of faith that spanned 20 years.
And it’s all broken.
My pastor and friend said that he sees “the god you loved and knew has exploded.”
No judgement. No entreating. No scripture bound around my feeble neck.
Just an invitation to consider Jesus. Is he one that I could follow?
And so I go.
To church…and sit in the very back corner of the very back row.
To the child’s pose of wordless prayer.
To the place where the peanut butter m&ms are dispensed in abundance.
To the Lego movie with my best buds.
Towards my kids
I listen in the middle of the night as the train whistle calls and the church bells peal.
And look out my Hobbit Home window…searching for the truth of the North Star.
That’s all there is.
There is no more.