Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Beautiful and Terrible

I think that it's all right for me to say the following, without revealing any substantive details.
I have been, off and on over the past several months, sorting photos and correspondence and videos.  Preparatory, perhaps, to the Huge Purge that will have to take place (over several years, I would imagine) before we can downsize and move from our spacious family home to something more manageable.  It's a task from which the pleasure I might have anticipated a few years ago has seeped into pools of sadness and heartache.
Tonight, procrastinating the completion of the major work project remaining to me this week, I printed out the correspondence that has passed between my son Josh's girlfriend and me over the past four years. 
A woman in her twenties, a woman in her fifties.  Each trying to help herself and the other.  Dealing with practical matters that caused us to stagger backward.  Standing against the wind, crouching as the tsunami poured over our heads.  Sorting, seeking, longing, wondering, piecing, piercing words and thoughts and music and dance together into a puzzle which will not form. 
I read quite a bit of it, of that correspondence.  If I were to order it into a novel, readers would insist upon calling it a work of fiction without credibility. 
I am stunned.  STUNNED.  By the fragility of the human spirit.  My son.  By the strength of the human spirit.  The two women, one of whom is me.
The work from which I am steering my attention is Sunday's sermon, about Elizabeth and Mary, told from the point of view of Elizabeth's son, John. An older woman, a younger woman.  Two sons, in the end, who will not survive. 
I'm not sure that I can write this sermon.  I know one of the back stories.  I live one of the back stories. 
I have decided to stake my claim to the word wisdom.
No one could have written or read those emails and failed to shatter into a thousand shards of wisdom.


  1. And yes, I know. One of them lives again, otherwise. As do, therefore, we all.

    You would not believe how hard it is to get to that.

  2. Robin, this sounds like a very important sermon to write and preach...transformational, wise. A thousand shards indeed...I will hold you in prayer every day as you prepare to do this.

  3. Yes, I would believe it.
    I support you in whatever you decide, whether you write that sermon or you decide to write another for now. Whatever you are led to do, I pray it will be as gentle as possible to your own spirit. These are hard days. A thousand shards, indeed. Sending love to you.

  4. Love and tears (for what they are worth) and a cyber hug and many prayers.

  5. I can only offer my small prayers that you find courage for this sermon and somewhere that there may be a blessing too

  6. The sermon is turning out to be about relationship and hospitality. If you happen to read it after reading this post, you will probably recognize this as the back story.

  7. Your church is so fortunate. Thinking of you as you prepare this sermon.

    1. I am preaching a mundane and boring sermon about hospitality. We all have our limitations, and I am finding that the story of the visitation (yes, I'm going out of order) and Advent in general this year are making me crazy with grief. Not anything I would inflict on a congregation.