About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
Search This Blog
Books that shifted paradigms
Walking Barefoot on Facebook
Login
« To my seven year old, who does not feel safe at school | Main | Feed so you can feed »
Monday
Nov112013

The things that hold us together

 

It’s a sparkly November morning, a gift of a morning. 

We eat leftover pancakes cooked up in bacon grease and eggs seasoned with hamburger spices; my parents, who flew in from Virginia a few days ago, drink coffee and laugh while the kids roll marbles across the ground and fight over Legos.  We eat, we play, and we head to church. 

Wes, our red-haired worship leader, sings “Jesus reigns in this place...showers of mercy and grace...falling on every face...there is freedom.”  

I have my eyes closed, so I don’t know what everybody else is doing, but I imagine all the faces in the auditorium upturned like children, while mercy and grace fall down like raindrops, plopping on our dry Colorado skin, rolling down our cheeks like tears.  I imagine freedom soaking down deep into our flesh, rolling up and down inside our veins, filling all of us up with light. 

Light, which is made up of equal parts mercy and grace.  


Some friends of ours are going through a rough and frankly terrible time.  A time that feels familiar to us; we don’t have the same story, but we have a similar one.  We invite them over for dinner; we cry with them, because we know the shape of these tears.  I try to do for them what people did for us: good books, tea, listening without trying to fix things, sitting together and crying, recommending a hot bath, saying yes, yes, yes; this is terrible; I am so sorry.  Not rocket science.  

It’s called bearing witness. 


My friends bare themselves, and now we can bear with them.  Now we bear together.  

And life gets just a little easier.  

But to bear with each other, we have to bare with each other. Which is really scary, and exposing.

It’s terrifying, if you get right down to it. 

You’d much rather cry in your closet and then go reapply your makeup before facing the world.  It would be much safer not to talk about it, and if it comes up, just duck and cover, duck and cover.

But then, miracle of miracles, you find that instead of ducking and covering, you stood still and told someone. You let them see your tears. You let them in. And instead of laughing at you, or offering you a Kleenex and walking away to go get someone who is much more experienced at helplessness and pain and wracking sobs, they stayed. They actually felt really special to be part of the inner sanctum of the three other people on earth who have seen you without makeup.  

They bore up with you.  

It’s the closest thing to heaven this side of heaven.

 

When I walk into church, I look around for my friends’ usual sitting spot-they are there, up in the back corner of the auditorium.  We don’t make eye contact; the service is about to start.  I walk on, find a seat down in front; they are far behind me, over my right shoulder.  

I feel them through the whole service.

I close my eyes to sing, and a thin, twisted rope unravels from above my right ear and stretches taut across the whole auditorium until it reaches my friends.  My rope wraps around them and gives them a hug; I imagine this looking like the end of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, when the Beast is wrapped up in rope and light, spinning back into being human.

I sing words about Jesus being faithful, and I send those words zinging along my rope; I think the words into their hearts.

This is true, I think towards them. I know it doesn’t feel true, but it is true.  He did it for us.  We are living proof.  It will happen for you, too.  You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Then another good friend comes to mind, and as soon as she does, a thin rope shoots out from the back of my head, right where my spinal cord bumps into my brain, and wiggles around the room until it finds her and wraps her up too.  I don’t know if she’s even in church this morning; I have no idea if she is actually sitting behind me. Maybe my rope found a stranger instead. Sorry about that.  

But I don’t think so.  Because my friends’ spirit and my spirit, we know each other; our energy is already mixed up.  She has bared herself with me; I have bared with her.  We bear each other’s burdens.

Now I have two thin ropes stretching taut, from me and the place of my pain to the place of pain inside people I love.  Not to everybody; I don’t have enough ropes for that.  But to my people, the ones whose suffering and my suffering match up, not like identical cards, but cards with parts that connect.

The ropes start glittering, like magic rope, unbreakable rope, all these shimmering, glittery strands of rope, strong enough that we could walk on them, tightrope walk right on over to each other.

Wow, I think.  If everyone had just two ropes shooting to two people; if I flew over this space and looked down, we would all be wrapped in rope and connected to each other, holding each other up.  There would be enough rope that no one would be alone, that everyone could walk on over to someone else, and bear with them.  

Then I think about the first line of the worship song: “Jesus, reign in this place.” 

I think about Jesus reining. 

 Like he is holding all the reins to all of these ropes. He gives a slight tug here, a little flick of the wrist there, and the rope that connects me to my friend wiggles, and it occurs to me, completely out of the blue (chuckles Jesus), “I need to call my friend and see how she is doing.” 

These ropes stretch to anywhere. Like I said, they are magical.  I can think about my bestie in Chicago, and zoom- a rope stretches like a tightrope and my heart dances across it, unafraid, right to her.

Jesus, the rein holder, knows these ropes are what life lines look like.

The service ends. I turn around.  And there is my friend, the one I sent a rope to without knowing if she was even in the building.  She was sitting far behind me, but still, directly behind me. Exactly where I sent my rope.  

 

I walk out into the foyer and Malachi, my seven year old, comes running to me and says, Mom, I saw our friend, the policeman, in the hallway.  I talked to him.  I told him how my friends haven’t been nice to me either.  I told him I know how it feels. I told him I try to pray for them and be nice anyway.  

It’s been three weeks since our policeman friend bared himself to us by telling his story.  Sitting in our living room that night, Malachi bore witness. And now he is bearing the burden.

He says the holy, “me too.” 

He extends a magical rope.  


And even though our policeman friend is a big, tough guy, I see Malachi (maybe standing on a stool) putting his hand under the policeman’s chin, and saying, “I see you. You are seen.”  

Malachi helps the policeman lift his eyes to heaven. And mercy and grace; light; falls down like rain and runs across the policeman’s face, and Malachi’s face, and travels across all the ropes connecting all the people who bared themselves.  And we are baring, and we are bearing, and we are born. 

And the magical ropes glitter with a million drops of sparkling light.  


References (92)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: on front page
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: lead forensics
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: pur water filter
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: kamagra
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Pura Bella Review
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: coleanse
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Drake net worth
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Silkmilque Reviews
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: austin web design
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: David Drwencke
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Avoir Review
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Avoir Review
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: walk in baths
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: walk in baths
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: hollister perfume
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: why not look here
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: escort prague
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: sleeping bags
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: w򹤫
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Www.Rebelmouse.com
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: custom tees
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: weight training
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: finanse goc
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Full Write-up
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: GoPro Accessories
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: GoPro Alternative
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Go Pro Remote
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: gopro pole mount
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: GoPro Selfie Stick
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: 32gb micro SD card
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: GoPro Selfie Stick
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: GoPro Accessories
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: top web hosting
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: agen foredi jogja
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: ngopi asik
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: registry errors
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: buy Crane Truck
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: www.facebook.com
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Visit Website
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: Click Home
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    Response: wordpress themes
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn
  • Response
    The things that hold us together - Home - Trinity Wilbourn

Reader Comments (1)

Oh, sweet Malachi! He is so intentional and loving. Also, I like how you connected "bare" and "bear." Good words and so true!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBriana

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>