Sometimes being here
feels like I’m in the wrong place
as if I could look at a map and backtrack
to where I’m supposed to be.
But there’s no map for the contemplative journey,
let alone my contemplative journey.
“Here,” the wise ones say,
“is the only place to be.
It’s the only place we can be.”
Well, that sucks
because here isn’t there
where tears bear witness to divine encounters,
where God’s voice springs forth from the page,
where my Christmas cactus isn’t limp and dying,
and compulsions don’t mesmerize.
If I have to be here,
I want to fix it up, at least,
and need help with that
so I ask three times to take the thorn away
but You don’t.
Here is good in many ways
That “and yet” feels so big
and so lonely until
someone else says they’re here, too
and tears fill my eyes.
As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.
–Isaiah 66:13 NRSV
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So often I hear from readers that they’ve felt comforted to know that I’ve experienced what they’re going through. It’s a relief to know you are not the only one who struggles with distracted prayer, self-doubt or discontent. These relieved readers thank me for my willingness to be vulnerable and share my struggles. Do you hear an invitation to be vulnerable and share your struggles with someone? Perhaps you will hear from them a relieved, “Me, too.” Perhaps you will be Mother God to them offering them company in a lonely place.