Sunday, April 27, 2008

tonic for a clenched soul



He tells me his shoes are all scuffed from walking....Scuffed by the heaviness that make his knees ache under the burden and his arches throb from the extra weight.
All night long he lays on his side of the bed, his body taut in buzzing anxiety, clenched jaw, tense muscles...his unsettled heart fibrillating off beat....his racing thoughts invading any dream escape..."Indecision caused by too many to make," he says.

The bed....their bed......is now as comfortable as a concrete slab, unwelcoming in its reminder of what had been,and what lies ahead.
brokenness
loneliness
fear
sorrow
guilt
shame
He can't think beyond immediacy and it hurts...from head to toe it hurts. When he awakes from a dreamless night,his whole body aches from restless wanderings, steeped grovellings of ungranted forgiveness. It takes every ounce of energy not to roll over to face the wall as he makes himself sit up to a wave of unwelcome bile brought on by realization that its over.

But, life still goes on despite the grief of his clenched soul. Work, bills, meetings, appointments, family, errands, responsibilities....listening to the drab complaints echoing all around him. There's no escaping the hum of a scuffed life.
"I have to maintain the grip," he says, "because if I let go even for a second I will fall off the ledge and break into a million pieces that wouldnt be fixable. It would be the end of me." So he holds on, hoping the nightmare will end.

Through the motions he scuffs off to work, his hands closed tightly and stuffed in his pockets. He walks against the bitterwind which makes his breathing short snip gasps that lacks in fresh air oxygen and shorts out his thinking, leaving him clouded in confusion. A clenched soul, stuck in the discomforting transition of change, numbed by too much real, feeling like if he lets go of the grip, he will be sucked into a vortex.
For some reason, he looks up from his cloud and sees two men, homeless and huddled under a ratty wool blanket leaning against the corner of the grey brick wall away from the entrance to the park. Their winter wool caps are moth eaten worn, and their faces haggard from a tangled hard life. He sees one of the men pull a worn old paper bag out of his jacket and take out a wrapped sandwich. Carefully the man unwraps it, and gives half to his friend to share. And as these two ragamuffin men sit in a moment of kindred serenity, oblivious to their surroundings, sharing the only food they have, the clenched souled man stops dead on the sidewalk. In a rush of awareness, he surrenders to his feelings and weeps as he realizes he is witnessing the true essence of spirituality......humanity in all its basic ordinary glory.

Tired and spent but now wide awake, he wipes his nose on his coat sleeve, inhales the biggest breath of needed air he has in a very long time and walks on towards the little chapel he passes everyday on his way to work. Though empty and silent, the chapel still beckons. He pulls open the heavy wooden door to find a stream of sunlight dappling through the stain glass and walks over to the pew bathed in the sun's rays. He sits quietly........alone..........silent, tears flowing. He unclenches his hands, and gently lays his fingers together, his palms touching........and looks up at the ceiling. With his face beaming in sunlight he whispers the words, "thank you."



4 comments:

Under there... said...

What a wonderful post! I love this because it reminds us that when we unclench our fists and our hearts we open them to receive the grace of God and the beauty that eludes those who play it safe. Your sensitivity on this subject is always inspiring. Thank you.

Awareness said...

Tim....thank you. While writing it, I read aloud it to my daughter who looked at me with a quizzical look and asked where "this stuff" come from. I laughed....told her it's an accumulation of sorrow shared with me. It's good therapy....cathartic to put it into words....and into a picture.

One of my inspirations? I was thinking about Mary Poppins.... remember the scene when Mr. Banks who thinks his whole world is coming to an end because of some banking mistake? He has an epiphany by really seeing and listening to the simple ordinary bird lady...."feed the birds".......

I often look at people walking alone down the street with some kind of purpose....but with a pained look on their face. It always feels like such a disconnect...a struggle to get through tasks. We all have burdens to carry and sometimes we allow the to overwhelm us...to make them bigger than us, instead of trying to chip away at the burdens and learning to cope and function and find happiness again.

I believe all we need to do, especially when we are feeling so clenched is to look around at the humanity seeping out all around us.
It's just taking the time to see and feel it.....

ps. I posted this and then went and read your post and couldn't believe we both wrote about a chapel and tears. :)

Tori said...

This is an amazing piece of writing. You, are amazing. Thank you for making me connect with a part of myself each time I read your writing.

Rainbow dreams said...

Thank you for prompting me to come and read this post - I managed to miss it...

I do believe kindred serenity is powerful and can help unclench souls but also that our chapels may be found in many places that don't first appear to be chapels...

blessings to you dear friend, x