Monday, May 6, 2013

The Reason I Keep On

It happens in cycles.

Inspiration, inclination, flow. The art is both like dew on silver web and consuming wildfire; it is beautiful and quiet, making your heart sing, yet fierce and swift, demanding instant action. It is order and chaos, but neither.

Then suddenly, silence.

It is not fear that stops me.

It is pain.

The pain of a heart that beats hard, relentless.

One moment I can be so sure of good things and the words flow almost to the tongue. The next I could be lying on the cold, cramped space of my tiny bathroom floor inwardly begging, begging, begging God for breath. And my tongue is silenced.

Yes, pain can silence; make me quiet for days into weeks. I may try, but I cannot bring the words to the front, to articulate. It's like a heavy hand resting on my head; lips tremble, the corners of my mouth force downward, the tears brim.

I struggle with the irregular rhythms of my heart.

(The doctors call it supra-ventricular tachycardia. There are drugs that quiet it and tear away my energy and my humanity. There are nutritional supports that tame it, though they change with the seasons and there is no foolproof formula. The symptoms come and go like the restless tide. There are so many triggers that I would have to live in a coma to avoid them.)

It affects my life in real and tangible ways. I post less frequently on the blog. I retreat from facebook updates. My church attendance goes down. My errands get whittled to bare necessities. I get a little grouchy about it. It's just how life is, when you live broken.

This is not a pity plea. Do not feel sorry for me or for anyone who is less able. This is about being real, keeping it real, not shirking from looking the sadness straight in the eye. Awareness. If you are paying attention, it's where the hope starts.

I have already faced the worst offender; looked it in the eye. Defied it. I would not let life go. I would wrestle the Almighty to keep it. And maybe I have.

I am not afraid of Death; I am not afraid of Life with pain.

I have learned how to pull inward and be quiet; so very quiet that breathing almost seems optional. I can shut my eyelids and find that tiny flame of calm, hovering there between my eyes, just above the bridge of my nose, and focus. Zoom in, close out the world, nothing but a presence in a void. A strong presence like a driving rain on a porch window, and I am inside smelling the damp old paint, the wet dirt and pine air, and the green plants bursting to life in pots on the sill. Comforting.

I struggle with the irregular rhythms of life.

There are some days when it is far more than "too much" could ever describe. And I know that I am not alone. This whole world has had more than enough of too much and we are all tired, hurting, and asking "why" in an infinite chorus of anguish. All creation is groaning. We long for final, irreversible redemption.

And that's the thing. It's not an empty hope. It's for sure and certain as anything and everything I see about the future. I do not fear that future at all. I see exciting things. I both sense and know that the Spirit of God is on the move, growing and softening hearts, raising up prophetic voices to bring compassion, truth, and love back to center stage. It's happening. Right now! And I am willing, eager, to participate.

Like a child eager to learn, I insist on helping build that future. Even though God knows it probably makes the job take longer and look messier. Because I want to be a part of it; a full member of this family. Embodying hope. Speaking truth. Showing compassion. And letting my stubborn, "okay" self be dependent on a strength not my own.

It's the reason I keep on writing.

It's the reason I keep on breathing.

And never quite give up.


  1. Oh, Jamie, I love it! You have such a way with words. And, yes, there is hope! We just need to focus on it and keep on trusting and following and leaning on the Lord for all our needs. Glad you were able to post this today!
    I love you!

  2. Posting it today was kind of a mini-miracle. I realized all the fuzzy thoughts I jotted down were material for more than one post, and after that it was easy to edit. Writing is fun, but work! You should start a blog soon, Momsy dear.

  3. You, too, have that deep well within, to draw from when there is nothing else, that Shalom. That conviction, that unwavering steadfastness. And your rhythms are broken in part, perhaps, because you bear the burdens of others. Real others, not just hypothetical ones. You built me up and strengthened me so much in the short visit we had. Our chief end, our vocation, is the reconciliation of all creation and we soooo need each other to keep us from wavering. is on the horizon. We have the gift to live as though death were not.

  4. I think our visit was mutually life-giving; it was Home. Your encouragement and conviction breathe hope into my days.


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