When I Can’t…

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Rich Mullins, musician and composer

I had to turn off my computer yesterday. When picture after picture of the devastation in Nepal ran through my newsfeed, I couldn’t handle the tears, the dust, the destruction and knowledge of pending starvation and displacement anymore. I wasn’t even sure how to pray, other than:

Lord have mercy…

Christ have mercy…

When news broke yesterday of a murder just outside of town, my heart broke. Between “Bring back the death penalty!’ and “Eye for an eye!” responses (said mostly in shock, I know) and the grief of both families of the victim and the accused, I could only breathe:

Lord have mercy…

Christ have mercy…

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When I made the mistake yesterday of trying to engage in dialogue about Christians being “persecuted” by North American governments, especially gay people, I was met with a strain of biblical hubris and traditionalism which left me believing (again) that I’m a blasphemer… anathema to God… unloved… wicked… wrong… akin to a pedophile (the comparison was made in general, but it’s a derogatory and filthy comparison often used against LGBTQ+ people, reducing them to nothing more than sexual deviants). Not only were my viewpoints wrong, but ME… as a person… I was inherently wicked & immoral. I will never belong. Message received.

I confess I let the comments made crush me more than they should have, but these days I’m finding it harder and harder to muster up the energy to face people who preach love but condemn; but when are called out for it, accuse us for being unloving in our calling out, thus rendering us hypocrites (air-tight arguments all around). And I remember again why I needed to run away — I could never be safe, secure or welcomed in specific circles. I could never be a full person, vulnerable and honest.

Lord have mercy…

Christ have mercy…

After everyone left church today, I stayed behind. I opened up one of the music books and found Rich Mullin’s “Hold Me Jesus”. The second verse practically zinged through my spirit:

“…And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart…”

After another 3am wake up call, the verse was so literal to me. So true. And so painful.

I ended up at the foot of the simple wooden cross, curled into a tight ball, sobbing. There was nothing else I could do. The world is broken… people are dying… people are hurting… people are DOING the hurting… and I.Just.Can’t.

I can’t.

I can’t!

“I can’t do this anymore, God. God? Are you there? I can’t do this! I can’t sleep; I can’t eat; I can’t be the person the righteous want me to be; I can’t make a difference in a hurting world; I can’t see YOU making a difference in a hurting world. God? God, are you there? God, let me sleep…”

I came home to a beautiful message from a friend. It didn’t stop the raging seas, or words from others, or pain experienced by the victims of tragedy. But it helped stop me… and I could breathe a little bit better. I felt a little bit loved. I felt a little bit human. And if this wonderful woman out there in the world is speaking life over me, then surely there are more just like her speaking life over grieving families, grieving nations, grieving people of faith.

Lord have mercy…

Christ have mercy…

And that alone gives me hope.

Kyrie eleison…

Christe eleison… 

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