Blessed are the Sorrowing

Some five years ago, I came across a meditation on the Beatitudes.  Though I lost the pages, I did manage to write out part of it in a journal.  This is my prayer tonight—for me and for others in sorrow.  You see, last week I anointed people in my church community at worship.  They came with hurting hearts, troubled souls, physical ailments, internal struggle.  I let go of myself and made room for the Spirit to breathe life into those I prayed with.

Before worship I took a quiet moment to pray for strength and for peace to fill my body and soul.  I was empty that day, in need of healing myself.  I found, that the ministry of praying over others in their need filled me, and it was a blessing.  I found myself in many of the brokenness expressed, and I also found God.  This meditation describes the compassion in my heart…

Blessed are the Sorrowing: They Shall Be Consoled

And what does it mean to mourn? I asked the multitude.
An old man stepped forward

To mourn, he said, is to be given a second heart.
It is to care so deeply
that you show your ache in person

To mourn is to be uanshamed of tears.
It is to be healed
and broken
and built-up
all in the same moment.

Blessed are you if you can minister to others
with a heart that feels
with a heart that hurts
with a heart that loves
and blessed are you if you can minister to others
with a heart that serves
and a heart that sees the need before it’s spoken.

To mourn is to forget yourself for a moment
and get lost in someone else’s pain
and then,
to find yourself
in the very act of getting lost.

To mourn is to be an expert
in the miracle of being careful with another’s pain.

It is to be full of the willingness
of forever reaching out to
and picking up
and holding carefully
those who hurt.

To mourn is to sing with the dying
and to be healed
by the song
and the death.

— Marciana Wiederkehr, OSB


Running as Spiritual Purgation

Thoughts constantly streaming through my already over-crowded mind have threatened to overcome me.  Yesterday I honored brokenness and beauty, feeling both inside me, acknowledging their presence.  After I wrote the previous entry, I stretched my legs and embarked on a 13-mile run to purge the rising emotions welling up within.  Stamping out the irrational fears and obsessions onto the pavement, I cleared a path for some genuine emotion.  The more room I give these fears, the less room for what is most important in my life; and the less room there is in my heart to be a genuine and compassionate person.  With the motion of running I literally stamped fear, loneliness, anger, confusion, jealousy, and alienation into the pavement; I made room for grief, self-love, and healing.

The 13-mile run was not the smartest thing to do.  Already evening, I had not eaten a proper lunch and a week had already passed since the last time I had run.  Nevertheless, my endurance and strong will carried me through.  Recovery, however, took longer than usual, as my body was weakening and in need of immediate sustenance.   That physical and mental emptying broke open a floodgate that needed to be opened…and today I begin to sort through and write about the rush of water swiftly passing around me.

I hope to engage with them all in the coming days and weeks, some I hope to write about.

Out of Brokenness, Beauty

In my Spirituality Synthesis class, I have been working on a project presentation meant to integrate my spiritual journey of life as well as the journey to my master’s degree.  Sifting through old journals and stirring up memories, I have come to face pieces of me scattered and strewn beneath the surface of day-to-day life.  While I am well aware of my own history (and I often retell the story to various groups and individuals), I am continually surprised when I reflect back at my life.  Hidden among the thorniness and brokenness of my childhood are incredible experiences guided by inner strength and spiritual wisdom.

As a spiritual director, I also have the great privilege of listening to people tell their own stories of faith, doubt, and brokenness–always an experience of holiness and grace, and sometimes sadness, joy, hope, peace, pain, and so on.  Today in class a woman shared her synthesis, a beautiful expression of healing out of brokenness.  It resonated with me, driving me to dig further into my own journey.

Brokenness and loneliness are recurring themes in my life, and yet there is so much good, so much beauty.  Loneliness sets in when I realize a deep desire of mine is to know and be known, to love and be loved.  I have experienced relational love in community, and my heart hungers for more.  I hunger to share what grows within me, and I have reached a point in my life where I am opening up, revealing more and more of what used to be confined to the pages of my journals.  Yet past wounds run deep, and even though years of living in community has built up trust, I have so many doubts.  Why is trusting so hard?  Why is loving myself so hard?

The beauty comes through my writing, my photography, and my ability to share my story–and those who have shared their story with me.  It has been a difficult journey, but it is out of this brokenness that I soar.  And what an amazing flight it has been.   I am grateful for the many blessings in my life and opportunities to travel, meet all sorts of people, and use my gifts.  It is also out of the deep wounds that I have strength that shines for others.

All of this surfaces now for many reasons, and I doubt the flood of emotions and memories is likely to change as my graduation date nears.  I’m being tossed in a sea of change and transition.  I face the waves with courage and excitement, fear and doubt, curiosity and careful attention…and I’ll continue to uncover where I’ve been, who I am and who I am becoming…

A Song on My Heart Today

Much Afraid

(by Jars of Clay)

Empty again
Sunken down so far
So scared to fall
I might not get up again

So I lay at your feet
All my brokenness
I carry all of my burdens to you


All of these things
I’ve held up in vain
No reason nor rhyme
Just the scars that remain
Of all of these things
I’m so much afraid
Scared out of my mind
By the demons I’ve made
Sweet Jesus, you never ever let me go
Oh, sweet Jesus, never ever let me go

So happy to love
Yet so far to go
You lead me on to where I’ve never been before