12 September 2008

Traveling Mercies

A friend emailed me last week while reading Anne Lamott's book, 'Traveling Mercies: Some thoughts on Faith' and sent me this quote:

"... (Grace) is unearned love -- the love that goes before, that greets us on the way. It's the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you. Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrased and eventually as grateful as you are to be there."

And that seems to sum it up best. Anne Lamott seems most times to find the words to express the emotion when it fails others.

Grace is the love that goes before, that greets us on the way. And in this way, Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place...

I remember shortly after she died being afraid to be alone. I didn't want to be left alone in any room by myself nor did I want to be in the presence of others. It was a difficult place to be wishing for isolation and fearing loneliness when of course, both of those things co-existed whether or not someone was in the room with me or not.

I was afraid to be alone because the silence was overwhelming, the emptiness, the hunger, the aching was too great, too large, too cumbersome.

Sometimes, someone would come and sit with me and ask questions when I didn't want questions to be asked and other times, there was the rare person who just came and sat and that was grace. That was the grace I was looking for, the simple presence of another person without questions, without an agenda, without fear.

Most people who came to visit me were afraid--afraid to say the wrong thing, afraid to not say anything at all, afraid to get too close to me as if I could rub off on them, as if I was bad luck, voodoo, a black cat walking under a ladder. And I don't blame them. Occasionally someone asked me if they could get something for me, and I would look at them blankly. Grace, you can get me Grace. Can you do that? Because unless you can, there is nothing else I want.

The times when I felt most comfortable was when I could lie in bed with the shades drawn and the blankets drawn up around me. But once in a while, I could hear my heart beating in that space, literally, I could feel it beating against my chest. And literally, I could trace a crack through my heart, a tear, a hole, an irreparable crevice that when I breathed in, I could feel the air racing through that hole and the shortness of breath.

And somewhere along the way, there was a kind of mercy that descended, a kind of grace that eventually allowed me to stand up again, to crawl out of my cave--a light, an electricity, a breeze that pushed me along back into the sunshine, out into the world, where Grace could find me and I could find her.

A place where Sawyer could fall from the sky to land in my lap. A place where my arms could open wide enough to catch him.


Jessica Spracklen said...

Wow, this was truly beautiful. I cried while reading it...

God Bless,

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

Oh Sarah...wow.