Monday, March 30, 2009

Portrait of a Community

Once upon a time there lived a young lady who felt entirely misunderstood. She did not know how to properly express her desires, so she wrote about them in a public fashion, hoping that somewhere someone would notice. Indeed while this was true, she also just needed to express, and having neither time nor energy to find someone to listen, she wrote, thinking those who had time would find her.

All the while, this poor young lass was afraid she was being overly dramatic, overly open, overly frightening. She had been burned in her recent past by being too much for people, too vulnerable, and she was attempting not to do that again. Unfortunately our young heroine did not know how to be genuine without scarring her more fragile friends, or boring those who had been around long enough to hear it all before. The girl was running out of ideas about how to live. She wanted to handle the situations gracefully, but was no longer certain if this was possible, or if she was accomplishing this. She did not want to believe that to be graceful she should keep it all to herself, for surely this way would only bring death. But she needed guidance, a precedent, something to follow. She knew how she needed to be cared for, but she didn’t know how to tell anyone, how to tell someone who could do something about it.

So the girl decided to plan a holiday to get away and rethink how she was interacting with her world, with herself, and with her God. She was happy, thrilled even, at the prospect, but also worried that something new would happen and prevent her from actually going. She was also afraid to be so far from people she knew, but she was determined to be strong and find what she needed to find in herself. She was determined to come home a better person. She was determined to find a way to live the drama gracefully, casually, and without need of help… To be continued.

This weekend was enlightening. I spent the majority of it with my father; caring for all of the things he could not take care of himself, in his transient state. It was good, mostly. This weekend’s “bad” did not stem from him or the other sources of my consistent drama, but rather from those who should be my solace.

Some things I know:
As much as I require it for daily life, hope is very painful.
I do not know how to turn away a crying friend, even when I have no capacity to feel their tears.
I am easily angered when I seek support and community actively, and am offered money and babysitting opportunities instead.
When I pursue community and am rejected (especially when I am already unsteady in myself) I resolve within myself to never join said community again. It never works out that way (I forgive so easily) but while the feeling of rejection persists, I recoil.
Never wait for community to find you. Chances are it won't happen. Find Community and grab hold of it and do not let go. For without community, I assure you, you are nothing.
I had a thought this weekend during the musical portion of the church service I attended with my father. But it requires context:

The day that I decided to break up with Andrew was the day I was “worshipping” next to him in Chapel at Simpson. I saw the black veins of doubt, depression, and hopelessness… of death, entwining into my soul and choking my very life. It frightened me so badly, that I knew that on top of everything else, I could not do this.

This weekend, standing next to my father, I saw something similar but so vastly different that it startled me. I saw myself, a pillar planted well into the ground. I variably picked up pieces of death in the shape of my father, my uncle, and pieces of my life, and strapped them to my body. Even while I felt them sliding off of my body, to be devoured by the ground, I kept them strapped to me, me to them.

The astounding difference is this: while I am connected to this death in a very human and very painful way, it is not choking off my life. Yes I am tired, yes I am angry, and yes by all means I want to be done, but I know this time that even if I continue my relationship with this death, I will not die from it. I did not have that same confidence with Andrew. I don’t know if that is because my relationship with Andrew was more to me, or a different kind of relationship, or if it is because I have changed in some way, have finally become enough to hold death to my chest, without allowing it to choke me.

Regardless, I am tired of going to church and only crying. Walking away not touched and filled and resourced by the people there, by the community I should have with them, but rather by truth I am consistently find in Christ is more depressing than one might expect. I do have to admit though, that I am not finding those truths on my own, and so even if the community is pissing me off, Christ remains. While this in itself is a beauty so horrifying I am shuttered by it, I am angry that He is not giving me the simple thing I want. Community, Companionship, Understanding. He is not giving me help. He is only giving me Himself. I hate that that is enough, and yet so very not at the same time. Enough to survive. Enough that I know He is God in a hugely mysterious way. Not enough to feel loved by anyone other than Him.

So with this quote from a Knight’s Tale, I sign off: “God love you William, for no one else will.”

1 comment:

catholicbeer said...

"One cannot be in community without being an individual..."
Thomas Moore

Dear once upon a time,
Leave yourself alone.

recover(ing)ed victimizer of self

p.s. the continuation of that quote is "and one cannot be an individual without being in community," but i don't like that part as well. :)

p.s. this is candace