Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sheets and Blankets

Sometimes, when I know my children are stretched taut with their own very real troubles, I give them a pass on school. We call it a personal day. I don't care if they're in elementary school, when they need it, I grant it. Even little people need a personal day to rest a bit, collect themselves, and shore up to face the next day.

I'm taking a personal day today.

Yes, there's work to be done, marketing stuff, bio stuff and, God help me, an author photo--and you know how I feel about those! There's a proposal to finish, and housework that needs attending to, and I was prepared to do it all today, until I picked up the book I told you about not long ago, SistahFaith: Real Stories of Pain, Truth, and Triumph, and decided to stop hiding from my own life, and read it.

I have four stories in this powerful anthology (most of them appeared on this blog when a book deal was still a sparkle in my eye). Some of the contributors are my friends, one is my beloved sibling and big sister extraordinaire, Carly. As I read I nodded, cried, smiled, affirmed, and related, and Lord, have mercy, I remembered. By the time I'd read three of the four of mine, I had come undone. With my voice still broken from sobbing I called my brother, and though I'd said it before, I thanked him for saving my life, getting me out of Washington D.C. before Raphael (not his real name) killed me. We didn't talk long, but I needed to say it again.

Who are the people who spread their cloak around you and covered you when you were most vulnerable? Who were the souls on your personal underground railroad who made haste to steal you away to freedom in the night? Maybe some are long gone from your life, or even from this world. Pour their names out of your mouth like a libation. Give thanks for them, and after you've done that, take a moment to remember those who are still bound, even if that person is you. And pray once again.

On this chilly Monday during Lent, I am sitting in my version of sackcloth and ashes: I'm in the bed, in sheets and blankets.  I am remembering the girl who loved a boy, the naked pregnant lady in the yard, and the skinny little wisp of me who sliced a razor blade into the tender flesh of her wrists because for a moment, I didn't think I could bear another aching moment. And you know what is so surprising? What may even qualify as a miracle? I'm not hungry. I'm not running into the kitchen to keep that woman down. She's here in bed with me, staring at me with her mournful eyes, and I'm going to lie with her, hold her close, kiss her on the top of her head and whisper into her hair, "There, there. I've got you."

Most of Lent is about a cross that looms so much heavier than our own, and the innocent man who was God who hung on it. And rightfully so. 

Some of Lent is about the crosses that we shoulder right now: our obsessions; our mental illnesses; our eating disorders; our secret shame and sorrow. But make no mistake about it, some of the crosses Lent gives us pause to revisit are the ones we've staked in the ground of our pasts. These crosses say, "Something perished here, something precious and important, and we remember."

When memories so painful they spear you like giant icicles freezing your soft soul innards, it's okay to take a personal day, pull the sheets and blankets of mourning over you, rest a bit, collect yourself, and shore yourself up for tomorrow.

It's okay, every now and then.



MaryAnn M said...

That. made. me. cry. (wow you have a way with words and feelings!)

ragamuffin diva said...

Thank you, MaryAnn.

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

Beautiful and true. Thank you so much.

GailNHB said...

I love that paragraph in there asking who were the people in our lives that have covered us and cared for us, saved our lives? We do need to give thanks. I need to give them thanks. And I need to lift them up in prayer.

Thank you for that reminder, Mair.

MaryAnn M said...

for me it was the sad inner woman with the big sad eyes that she just wanted to hold and comfort instead of falling into numbing old patterns.


Raquel Byrnes said...

Powerful imagery that hit home today. Wow. Thanks for being so brave.

ragamuffin diva said...

Thanks so much, Amy, Gail, Raquel.

Ms. Camile said...

I used to feel bad about taking personal days... but lately, I've been forced to take a few of them due to the weight of life feeling as if it would suffocate me. All the pressures and expectations causing even breathing to be difficult, let alone facing the whole world. And my personal days rejuvenate me! They heal me and they give me shelter. So I'm glad someone else understands the need. Yaaaay for a personal day endorsement. :)

Patrina said...

WOW! What a prolific writier you are! God has most definietly gifted you in this way. As the title of my blog states - so are you, my dear! 'A Pencil in the Hand of God". Ohhh He is going to use your gift of pencil and words to bring healing - not only to you but to the mutitude of others that God is going to place in yor neighborhood - that you might be His voice to them. Yes!! Believe it girl! Keep on keeping on. He's got your right where He wants you. You are HIs and He is yours!!!

I loved this sooo much!!! Thank you for sharing.

Patrina <")>><
His watchman on the wall