Its been an impossibly draining and exhausting few weeks. I long for the weeks where I write in the fruit of the Spirit.
I could give up everything tomorrow and return to R as a humble wife who accepts her situation unquestioningly ~ and I know my life would be happier and easier once again. Walk away from all the silence and be back in the world, family, human, ‘alive’, real. But I don’t ~ I hold out despite it all. I wonder so often why.
Tonight after Mass one of my children who was serving at the altar asked me ‘Mummy why do you hold your hands like that during Mass?’ It brought me suddenly to attention, I know I hold my hands that way ~ as if only I can see it inside of myself, without being self-conscious that those on the outside can see it too. Silly Me. I think deeply and thoughtfully about it before I answer, and only then I tell them.
I don’t remember why or when I first began to cup my hands in prayer, just that now I do, as if I always did, because it feels like the most natural thing to do. I cup my hands together against my tummy ~ where my womb carried the God bestowed treasure of my babies. One hand sits within the other, and when they are unfurled they make a cross, palm in palm facing upwards, and there they soften into a warm curved bowl shape. I recall the childhood hymn which I remember from being a tiny infant school child. ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’.
When I go to Mass I am carrying the weight of my whole world in my hands and I bring it to Him ~ All of it. I offer it up, only it isn’t just my world ~ held in my fragile, strong hands is my heart, with all its sorrow and Love, with all its pain and hope and sometimes joy, and I hold it all there in stillness, for Him to take or leave, and do with it what He will. I give Him my heart~ it is His ~ and in the fullness of my cupped empty hands He reaches me in deepest most Holy Communion. And now wherever I am, whenever I cup my hands He steadies me ~ and Communes with me, in a more concentrated focused way (on my part). I now consciously cup my hands when I need a more formal conscious Communion. This is how I pray. I do it like putting on armour when I am nervous or need assistance. I do it to focus and to be secured. I do it to draw up physical spiritual energy ~ if this is possible. Its my call to Him when I need Him. But when I am at Mass I do it automatically as if it is my neutral stance ~ without thinking.
The children think I look like Oliver asking for more gruel . . . . it’s as if through my hands there is an energy of prayer in concentrate ~ as if the very heart of my being is naked and exposed and revealed inside and outside of myself, and offered up and He takes the weight of it from me. And now on deeper reflection I think we use our hands cupped to scoop living water up to our lips to drink when we are parched . . . so maybe I Am like Oliver asking for more.
If truth be told I don’t think about where my hands are in Mass . . . they just are.
Its been an utterly draining few weeks, the children have gone up a gear for some reason, and there is unrest in the camp. I have noted this happen from age to age, at times there is harmony, at times there is unrest and conflict or jarring. The ages are suddenly this week grating on each other and on themselves. Children are busy plotting their birthdays and when they are not plotting their birthdays they are plotting revenge on each other ~ I am busy unplotting them, the birthdays and the unrest ~ the birthdays all fall between now and Christmas.
I have no money. I have a Big overdraft. R has debt and keeps on paying for things with debt, because he has to. He is a traditional man and never shares the finance details with me, even on asking. I’ve given up asking. I used to be an independent woman with a small 2 up 2 down cottage and no debt. Here there is no shared finance, no shared conjugal marriage, and no shared faith to fill the poverty. It sucks. But still on one hand he says he loves me, if even on the other hand he hates what I’ve become, and sometimes he says he loves me and wants me to ‘return’ and sometimes he is very angry and shouts and bangs everything.
Meanwhile the years are flying by.
A little while back I discovered The White Rose. I have been so deeply touched by some of the things that I have read about this courageous young woman. Since I first read and learned of Sophie Scholl I have come back to her profound words as a comfort many many times. I feel inspired to look up more of her. I have been so moved and comforted by Sophie’s few words that I have read. Her firm Christian belief in God and in every human being’s essential dignity formed her basis for resisting Nazi ideology, and I hold on to that.
‘How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause.’
I think of the countless deaths that I have had to endure. One figures that if they are countless I never fully died. Oh but I do die, day by day. On days I feel like suddenly living again, claiming back my life, being alive, feeling the earth touch me, making me real again. I can’t afford my rail travel at the moment, it might be a good excuse to go off the rails :O/ On days I feel like running Ffwd ahead. On days I feel like strolling in the autumn sunshine, slowly backwards, maybe without ever wanting to belong or converse ever again. Sometimes I want to shake people up to converse properly to talk, listen, hear, question, enter the dialogue, go deeper, talk things through deeper still, look from all sides, check every perspective, see, share, engage, and only then take your stance.
Sophie Scholl says ‘Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.’
I wish people did.
Her final words before they beheaded her were ‘Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?’
I consider her words Gold Dust.
I look around ~ and I see & hear the words of St Francis come back to me this week through Papa Francis “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” I think it through again in the light of The new Charism “While you are proclaiming Love with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” I look around at the judgements quietly cast, the untruths believed, the unkindness shown by some brothers and sister in Christ, I feel their withdrawn reserve. I see God in All His radiant majesty ~ Shining ~ radiating Love ~ where others fail to proclaim and express that Love, by turning away ungenerously in consecrated unlove. And I feel sad for God, like they fell short of His commands.
And then all at once last week there was a wonder to behold. After being dismissed and asked to come back the following year, the first year of my Ignatian course suddenly was paid for by a private benefactor. I have no idea who. Dearest Lord shower upon my benevolent friend my most humble gratitude, and Love absolute. My prayers are for your kindness ~ which shall never be forgotten. And one day re-paid. And then I think what God wants ~ God will find a way to get ~ regardless.
Today The Way of Love Charism is dedicated to you dearest kindest benefactor. Bless your heart. If I knew who you were I would send you a beautiful pink copy, sealed and ribboned with Love,
Thank You †