When I was ushered to physiotherapy, first by my mother, and then by a guilt-ridden conscience unable to withstand the persistent pain in my knee any longer (and a *tad* perturbed by it), I was given exercises to do to build “core strength”: to support my abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around my pelvis. But, as when I was two years-old, and my mother stopped battling to force me to do the set exercises, (Leave me alone! That hurts! I want to be normal! – the irony), aged thirty plus – I swim – and that is a good thing to do -but that is all I do. My core, physical strength is weak.
Over the past months, I have grown more and more tired. Weary with the sermons and songs proclaiming love for all, along with the tearing down of barriers and divisions. Things that never actually happen. I conclude that I am beyond forgiveness, the true and seemingly only exception of the declaration of love for all. I close my eyes to the wall of Elders in front of me, each holding bread and wine. It means nothing any more. I am not sure why I am here anymore. If I am beyond forgiveness, I am finished.
Because – even when I screamed as a child – and my parents made it plain that they disliked me – that my true colours were diabolical – and aged seven years, I believed myself possessed, I could not let go – I never let go – of the sense that God loved me anyway. Even if my parents walked away, and couldn’t stand being with me, Jesus was there, no matter what.
What if Jesus isn’t there for me anymore? Because over the past few months, I have all-but stopped trying to enter into my faith or spirituality, at anything beyond an intellectual level that allows me to run junior church. Last week, seeing the elements on the Table, the joy of friendship among others there, and realizing the possibility of being beyond forgiveness, I am broken. The searing pain does not stop, even as someone next to me inisists that I am not alone. I am bent double, agonized. I feel hated here, too. And not being able to stop crying must be making me more despised. I am out of control. I am lost. I want to hide. But I also want to belong. I am torn through and through.
And I still can’t let go. The deal was ‘no matter what’. Even this. I go to friends, who say that they love me. I join a contemplative service , one without the words that fill with meaninglessness the space and time I thirst for God to fill, to assure me that it is right to hold on. I rock myself gently. Say His name over and over and over again. And He is there, with me. I hold on. I cling to Him.
Beating the air in anguished supplication,
My soul was not alone, for tranquil-eyed
At hatred’s height, the living revelation
Grew in the gloom; taut terror slowly died
From flesh which shrank no more to share his Passion,
Whose tender strength I knew at last, which calms
Earth’s darkest hour, outshines brute fury’s fashion:
“In death’s midst I am Life: no mortal harms
Touch you who yield yourself into my keeping
Safe-folded in the everlasting arms”
Confession, by Margaret Willy, 1946
I will not be hurt anymore. I will not let go of the Truth that I am held in. I am loved by friends. I am loved by a Risen God, who makes all things new. Even me. I am weak. But my core strength is in Him.