If you buy one book this year (besides my St. Teresa of Avila book), let it be Sistahfaith: True Stories of Hope and Healing by my lovely dear, dear friend, Marilynn Griffith. I contributed three stories to this riveting book, and I really want to spread the word about how amazing this anthology is. You will be hard pressed to find the honesty and grace that are in these pages. Mary and I are going to chat about how Sistahfaith came about soon. For now, enjoy this entry I wrote for her blog tour.
by Claudia Mair Burney
I woke up this morning after dreaming about my mama. Not the one who birthed me, but the one who raised me from the time I was fifteen-months-old. She’s the one I conjure every Thanksgiving when the celery and onions simmer on the stove. Her memory brings with it my little girl self, chopping onions at the kitchen table, and wiping tears away.
I was the one mama chose for that important task, and every year I see this scene in my mind while the vegetables cook. I still chop the celery and onions, even though I have capable children I can assign the work to. But I like doing it; in a way, it’s still for her.
Sometimes out of nowhere, I’ll hear a snatch of Mama singing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” She didn’t know the lyrics, and I smile to remember how she flubbed it every time. She and Michael both are gone now. Lord, have mercy.
And there she was in my dreams today, along with a never-quite-healed sense of loss. I only saw her flicker on the strange and vivid screen of my sub-conscious mind, but it was enough to stir an ache for her upon waking I couldn’t get away from. And here I thought I’d put that particular hurt away.
She died at a time right after many things had perished in my life. I stored her death in it’s own pretty jar, and placed it on the dusty shelf that held the rest of my persistent sorrows: babies born too soon, loveless shame-filled liaisons, harrowing abuse. My grief shelf was full. I thought my sorrows sat there quietly, disturbing no one, certainly not me! Until a dream shook mama’s jar from its high, hidden place, and it tumbled down and shattered on the floor.
I’m learning not to be so quick to pick up the pieces. Hasty clean-ups always leave me with bloody hands. So I lie in bed this morning, feeling the weight of my sadness, the surprising rage, and the awful helplessness. I’m learning that feeling is so much better than hiding grief out of sight, and hoping if I don’t see it it’ll just go away.
In many ways, I’m in the greatest journey toward healing I have ever experienced. It’s a pilgrimage that leads me straight into the arms of God. But all along the way I have to feel. I don’t get to stuff the emotions back down with food anymore. That kind of behavior will forfeit the crown I’m after. I can’t sleep my feelings away, sex them away, or drink or drug them away, or even write them away. If I’m to see God, I must be fully alive, and living women feel.
But I am not left alone with these overwhelming emotions. God is not only at the end of my journey; he’s in every step I take. He will not leave me to blunder along directionless. By his grace I have allies bearing maps, band-aids, and cups of living water. They hug me, and offer robust cheers to keep me moving when I think I’m too weary to run on. With this cloud of witnesses surrounding me, I believe I’ll see this journey to the end. For that I’m thankful, and as I go I’m humming that praise song the old Pentecostal folks sing: “I’m runnin’ for my life. I’m running for my life.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrew 12:1
ABOUT CLAUDIA MAIR BURNEY: Claudia Mair Burney is a novelist and new non-fiction book author living in Lexington, KY with her tattoo artist husband, four of their seven children, and a dwarf rabbit. She is kicking pre-diabetes butt in the run for her life, while encouraging others to live their best, most fully alive life, on earth as they will in heaven.
SistahFaith™ is a revolution of restoration, bringing hope and healing to the brokenhearted and those who love them. Our goal is to communicate Christ personally, practically and powerfully, bringing women full circle in faith, arts and life. Each of our books, conferences, events and multimedia projects address the problems facing today’s women in a raw and relevant way.
Join the network of sistahs at http://sistahfaith.ning.com/.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:22, NIV)
Twenty-five women, including Bunny Debarge, Sharon Ewell Foster, Stanice Anderson, Claudia Mair Burney and Marilynn Griffith, tell their stories of coming full circle from tragedy to triumph. Each contributor keeps it holy, keeping it real in these raw, relevant tales of redemption and restoration. Think of it as Prozac for the Christian Woman’s Soul!
A twelve week study is included for churches and book clubs. Instructions provided on gathering your own SistahFaith circle.
Check the tour schedule at http://bit.ly/SistahFaith
SISTAHFAITH CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
• MARILYNN GRIFFITH (Editor)
• STANICE ANDERSON
• TANYA R. BATES
• CLAUDIA MAIR BURNEY
• WANDA J. BURNSIDE
• ROBIN CALDWELL
• SHELETTE CARLISLE
• LADY CATHERINE
• ETTERLENE “BUNNY” DEBARGE”
• DEE EAST
• SHARON EWELL FOSTER
• DORIEN HAGE
• GAIL M. HAYES
• DR. NAIMA JOHNSTON
• DELORES M. JONES, MSW, LMSW
• STEPHANIE L. JONES
• CARMITA MCCALL
• LAVONN NEIL
• CARLEAN SMITH
• DAVIDAE “DEE” STEWART
• SONYA VISOR
• LITTLE SALLY WALKER
• ROSALYN “ROS” WEBB
• ROBIN R. WISE
• KISHA WOODS