Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To pray with St. Francis...

It's hard to stand on the outside of your son's heart, to see it wrapped in a dirty gauze, allowing only glimpses into sore spots.  And when there is no language to convey the constriction, that silent gripping that chokes and scares his understanding, and he sits there solid and unmoving...well, it's enough to make a mama want to scream at the sky.

Because, sometimes, the desire to understand still isn't enough.

I pray with St. Francis, begging for the power to console...to understand...to love
deeper, longer, wider.

And, still
the silence.

What is this space?  This place of holy longing that slyly shifts into languishing?  Why are we stuck, feet thick and dumb?

I know the faithful thing is to stay the course, remain steadfast and long-suffering.  And I know that what is probably most needed is someone staunch and solid but how to be that, to do that, when all I really want to do is run until there. is. air.

I used to think that to be a good listener all I had to do was be patient enough and open enough and a space would grow and it would melt into this pool of knowing.  But the placid waters I imagined are stirring and I feel myself on the edges of a whirlpool, whose power is great and dark.

I see your eyes, brimming.  And suddenly we are both swimming and all we know to do is hold on.  Perhaps in this reaching out, this instinctual grabbing of each other, we will both be pulled under but I don't care because I want to smell your breath.  That way I know you are still here, even when you're not.
Love is so hard, sometimes.  It is at once fierce and vulnerable but it is also strung with a wild thread that hems me in.  I want the lens to focus in on my fancywork, my sampler for the world, so as to show off my deft skills and creativity.  But the hand of fear and unknowing adjusts the glass too far and I take mind pictures instead.  The ones that reveal the underbelly of this great tapestry.  Here there are knots and tangles and there are no neat stitches.  All the colored yarn jumbles together, clumping one on top of the other and who can make sense of it all?  Where, again, is the beauty?

They say we won't see it fully this side of heaven, this lifework we're weaving.  Glimpses, yes. But the fullness thereof, not yet.

Today, though, I want a foretaste.  I want your glory on my lips so that the sweetness will light upon my tongue and I can speak the language of the angels.  Just for today.  I have a song I want to sing to a little boy of mine.


  1. Holly did something happen to one of your boys? Or is there a deeper sort of meaning to what you wrote? Reading your words makes me want to write, but I can't seem to get started. Thank you for sharing your words with the rest of us. Love, Lori

    1. Lori,
      Nothing bad has happened to any one of my boys...I just have one who struggles with bouts of depression. When he is in those dark places, it is hard on this mama heart of mine. Writing it out helps me work through the questions, the heartache, the struggle.

  2. Holly, so beautiful and tender. My mother's heart cries out knowing deep love and longing for a child. Your words are magnificent. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your label was imperfect prose, but the way you write the longing of your heart is perfect prose to me.

    1. Elizabeth,
      I love that you keep visiting this space and encouraging me every time that you do. And yes, a mama's heart spreads deep and long...thank you for understanding that.

  3. St Francis, the song by Kristene Mueller. I have a feeling you'll love it. It brought me home safe to my four children, my husband when depression gripped me, so tight and long they too me, blind and mute, to the hospital.