For the last couple months I have been in a kind of writing wilderness. There are many reasons why, starting with the fact that writing about Chick #2 graduating and the nest thinning out being too fresh to process. Or it could be the ridiculous schedule of my own creation that took me many places over the summer that were too close in proximity for me to breathe. Or it could be that this was followed by the sending off both girls to college interspersed with a festival of funerals. And my general uncertainty about who I was blogging for, what was blog-worthy or how to filter what would be shared. I have been grateful for those who have encouraged me to simply write for myself and decide how to do that and in what context. I have also been grateful for those who found my musings helpful, comforting or a-musing. And I am now trying to work toward setting aside time for writing each day, along with that time for praying and exercising and spending time with loved ones, both two and four-legged, and occasionally experimental cooking. I am not really a routine building person so it is hard to say how long this will last. Rather than try to decide if this will be writing about life in ministry, life in the neighborhood, life in general, sermons, reflections or whatever, in this "post-children, still new ministry and new neighborhood" phase, it will be whatever it is. All of that is frankly a lighthearted entry leadup to what led me to start writing again today. Which is one of those moments where my first life and second life have full-on collided in a way that makes me stand back and ponder.
In my pre-seminary life I was a band Mom and lawyer in addition to spending alot of time in church.
And in the band Mom role I got to knowing some very strong and talented ladies one of whom works as a first responder.
In my seminary life when I worked as a chaplain at the Large Trauma Center in Amish Country, sometimes our paths would cross in the ER as she brought in patients and I was meeting families. And our conversations would perhaps be brief as we both were in the midst of doing what we do, each of us believing the other person had the really hard role. And even when some people were not quite sure about the whole change to seminary thing, she was always a big support. And in her medical role there was no one else I would want to fix my problems. We once even both showed up at an accident scene, me on my way to work at the hospital and her with the ambulance knowing full well we might see each other again later that night.
Since then I have moved on, literally to another county in my first call and once Chick#2 graduated it seemed that our only contact might be virtual, and in a sense it is.
But my friend's Mom is terribly unwell and out of the blue I got a text asking if she could text me because she is in a place she has never been before. That place is not the hospital, but the place where your Mom is dying and you cannot fix it. With all of the knowledge and skill in the world, still powerless.
The journey from a visit to the hospital for an unusual day has careened wildly across the last few weeks to a diagnosis of cancer, to hospice paperwork and in the last couple days, from talking to silence. It is unreal. And in such a place no matter how many people are helping there is a vacuum.
And from two counties away was a request to pray.
But because she did not want to disturb Mom, all of this had been by txt.
And so, believing in the power of God to work in any medium, I texted prayer.
For a person whose whole life as a caregiver was not enough for this sadness.
O Lord we are at the limits of our power to help. We place ________ in your hands.
For what you have helped us to do, we give thanks. Give strength for what must be done by others and shelter us in your peace which surpasses our understanding.
We thank you for the gifts of love and companionship ___ gave which are greater than words can express. With the faithful of every time and place we place ourselves in your hands and put our trust in you
and ask you to meet us in our sorrow.
We have done what we can in hope, in sorrow and in love.
Embrace ______ and each person who loves her. Encompass us with your grace.
We cannot see how we can travel this road, but give us faith to know your hand is leading us
And your love supporting us.
Help us to watch and to wait.
Thank you for allowing us to come in anger and pain, and bitterness,
knowing you love us still and never turn away.
Light our path and may you send your hope and love
in the hands and feet and voices of all who enter here.
Thank you for ____, ___'s daughter, and for her fierce determination and love
She has been a blessing.
Be with her now.
We give this all to you Lord in the name of Jesus Christ our light and hope.
And even though we are still two counties away and so often we consider our electronic media to be impersonal, the Spirit willed two old buddies the moment that was needed. And while I would not have thought it possible, it really did feel like prayer, not just data- a strange new holy space.