When trouble comes, God. Hmmm. When trouble comes I still try to get ahead of it in a spiritual kind of way. I pretend If I can just get far enough in front of it I might be able to effect an ambush, put out both arms and stop the momentum. I will throw everything I have at it—maybe some quiet determination of one who imagines she is helping You move it along to the finish line more efficiently, or a spat of wild thrashing about while despairing tears resign myself to defeat and your mercy every night, or perhaps a long look forward (more dissociated than ‘on the balcony’) to the superior promise of greater wisdom and growth that awaits me but never beats down all the anger arising. You know all those unspiritual “spiritual” things I do. But there’s no short cut through trouble. Instead there’s just the quick grab onto anything that keeps me from going over the edge. Then begins the unseating of what security I thought was mine. And there goes the hope that when this trouble is finally over I will at least have the dignity of clean underwear in the morning or whatever the opposite of humiliation might be in that moment. When trouble comes, God. Here’s the thing. When trouble comes may I resist spackling my fears and just be kind while counting the loss. May I tell those who matter most to me that I love them. May I not worry my dog and cat with any more wailing. May I make my bed as if I expect to be in it again that night. May I continue to choose and tell the truth. May I thank anyone who tries to help me. May I hear the resonance of my trouble in the troubles of others. And may I remember you make a new day every single day and forever. Amen.
Diane Strickland is in her 33rd year as an ordained minister now serving in The United Church of Canada as retired clergy. She is a Certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue Specialist-Therapist, and Critical Incident Responder, author and creator of trauma informed resources.
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