Of course I told my spiritual director what happened, and she listened compassionately as I talked and cried. She asked me to name my feelings and notice how they felt in my body.
I told her that I felt betrayed, misunderstood, judged and rejected. I don’t remember what I felt in my body at the time but, as I sit with these feelings now, I notice a tenseness in my chest that extends across my shoulders and down my arms and queasiness in my stomach.
She invited me to hear again what God said to me about being with me. I imagined Jesus beside me, holding my hand. Eventually, those feelings eased, and they felt more like waves settling after a storm.
My director and I had recently attended a lecture by John Bell from Iona. “Remember how he encouraged us to imagine Jesus fully human with a full range of emotions? Jesus was betrayed, misunderstood, judged and rejected too. Perhaps he lay awake at night wondering how Judas could have betrayed him. Maybe he felt emotions as deeply as I do.”
That reminded me of my directees who are praying the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. “They are in the stage of their prayers when they accompany Jesus through his passion, crucifixion, and death. When I heard that in their prayers of imagination they never left his side–wiping his brow and speaking tenderly to him–I sensed Jesus’ deep gratitude. It meant a lot to him that these friends had not deserted him.”
“And how might Jesus be feeling toward you?” she asked. I closed my eyes and saw him holding my hand. “He’s grateful that I’m willing to feel what he feels and be with him in it.”
I realized then that I didn’t feel deeply hurt because of sin or pride. I felt this way because I’m human. I’m not saying that sin and pride didn’t play a part, but God didn’t seem to be interested in that part of the story. God was intent on communing with me in the place where we shared deep pain.
“It’s kind of holy,” I offered.
“It is holy, ” my spiritual director quietly affirmed.
As our session came to a close, I told her about the sailboat that was washed up on the shore on Bowen and Scott Erickson’s video clip. New life and goodness were going to come out of my shipwreck.
We talked about the Welcoming Prayer practice that I was (sort of) doing for Lent. It will help me keep meeting God in that holy place and receive God’s loving action within.
O Compassionate One, You reached
from on high, You took me.
You drew me out of many waters.
Nan C. Merril, Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness
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A few hours after last Friday’s post was published, I happened upon this video by Nadia Bolz-Weber who is a Lutheran pastor. In it, she talks about forgiveness. That is the ultimate love mischief. That’s where Jesus went with his pain, and it looks like I’m going with him.