Friday, March 25, 2016

I am poured out like water

There's so much crazy in the world, so much meanness and mayhem and violence, that at times I have to construct a bubble around myself, and not let the news inside me. For sanity's sake. So it was this week with the bombings in Brussels, a city to which my son will be traveling in three short weeks as he embarks on a month long jaunt around Europe with a former college roommate and fellow decathlete. They're meeting in Finland where my son's friend now lives, and after Denmark and Sweden, they'll travel around Europe on that rail line that let's you buy one ticket and go everywhere. They're stopping in Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and some other places too, and it sounds like the perfect adventure for young men not yet encumbered with more long term commitments. My son was ready to quit his job for this trip, but his boss gave him the time off, so he's lucky. He's still have an income when he returns.

Anyway, I was very intentional in the way I didn't allow myself to get sucked into all the details of the Brussels attack, although there was one detail that pierced me—a pair of siblings, brother and sister bound for New York City, on the phone with their mother while waiting in line to check in. They had called to let her know they'd arrived at the airport safely, and would see her when they landed. As they spoke, the mother heard a sudden roar, like a crashing wave, and then the phone went dead. The terror and torment she must have felt as she waited for news haunted me, but I didn't give in to it—until this morning. It has now been confirmed that her two children died in the Brussels airport explosions. I doubled over, imagining her grief.

I went to church this afternoon because my husband was understudying the role of Jesus in the Good Friday passion play. I haven't been to Good Friday services since those three-hour-long marathons my brother and I sat through in our youth while visiting our cousins every Easter in Montego Bay. But I thought I should go today and support my husband. He wasn't supposed to be in the play, but the person cast as Jesus had taken ill, and they asked my man to step in.

The script arrived with a handwritten notation, "Emergency stand-by Jesus," which amused me, because my husband is definitely a man you'd want to have on emergency stand by. As I listened to the dramatic reading of events leading up to the crucifixion that forever changed the history of our world, I was absorbed by the players standing in moody shadow on the altar. I was thinking somewhat irreverently how handsome I find the man I'd married, a rooted presence at center stage, in jeans and sneakers and red polo shirt and tweed jacket, taller and bigger than everyone else, a man you could dare to lean on.

And then suddenly I was thinking of that mother again, her children lost to her in a shattering blast, their lives turned to ash in a moment. My eyes fell to a page in the Book of Common Prayer that lay open on my lap. It was the reading up next, Psalm 22, and my eyes landed on these words:

I am poured out like water, 
And all my bones are out of joint
My heart is like wax, melting inside me.

It's a good description of how it feels when the protective bubble pops, and the world with all its blood and horror presses in. 

So I looked back up from the prayer book, and kept my eyes on the man.


  1. How incredibly perfect, your capturing of all of this.
    Yes. Keep your eyes on the man, lean on him.

  2. I am going to add that scripture to a book of quotes I have beside my bed.
    Angella, I am so very, very grateful for you. *You* understand. This heaviness that I carry because the world is going crazy. (Or is it already gone?) I wish to God that you didn't understand but knowing that you feel the same way I do makes me feel normal. I just don't get how so many can just let the horribleness of the world go and not feel the tormenting pain that we feel. I wish I could let it go but I can't. I simply can't. When you mentioned the mother of those siblings my heart and soul reacted immediately and I want to go to her. And I want to go to you and offer you any comfort that I can because I know how it burdens your heart.
    I don't know if I am making any sense. I just wanted you to know that I thank God for you. xo

    1. Birdie, thank you for this. I wasn't sure if I was making sense either, but I understand everything you say here perfectly, and Im grateful for your big heart. xo

  3. I've never read the Bible, so appreciate being reminded how beautifully apt and potent some of the language is. Last week it was Nina Simone who drew my attention to another phrase that seemed equally valuable in the moment: Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

    1. A, I have mixed feelings about the Bible, because some of the language is decidedly not beautiful, but raw and violent, but then there are passages like this. Thank you for the quote Nina Simone gave you; it's beautiful and wise. xo

  4. My husband was at the end of the runway when I heard of the blast... Two almost-could-have-been-colleagues died. It came too close. But we all can't stop travelling and living. It gets strange sometimes , though.