Friday, March 13, 2020

That We All May Rise - a prayer for these days

God of hidden things -
unseen art,
unheard notes,
unfelt touch.
God of fear and hope
and weary, worried hearts,
hear my questions and cries.

The world is heavy now,
and the light arcs
through a glass so darkly.
My soul wanders,
weighted and alone.
Lift me!
Help me rise
and see,
help me rise
And hear,
help me rise
And feel,
so that hope conquers fear,
so that my weary, worried heart opens and pours forth love
like water,
like wine.

Comfort me,
that I may comfort those
who suffer and sigh.
See me,
that my eyes are open
to the world around me.
Lift me,
that we all may rise.

Monday, March 2, 2020

For Mordecai, who was not absent

God is absent.
This is an impossibility,
but the air feels empty,
so that our cries slip through,
uncaught, unheard,
leaving only a whispered echo
of death. God is absent,
leaving only me
to remember to bow and bend
only to an invisible God,
to an impossibly absent God
Who waits to hear our prayers.

And I offer my devotion
as if I were sure the God of echoes and air
took notice of our blessings,
took notice of our pain.
And I will bend and bow
and offer this child,
a star of blinding beauty,
who will bend and bow
and offer herself to the king.
God is absent,
leaving only her.

And after the bending and the bowing,
into the whispering echoes
of absence and air,
we rise, our cries at last
captured, caught,
to rise above the silent edges,
while the world hangs motionless.

There is eternity in that ascending moment,
and God.

Monday, February 24, 2020

I Can't Even (not even a little)

I've been writing this post in my head for a while now. Writing and rewriting and fixing and changing. All in my head. Well, of course in my head, given the one-armedness that I have going these days. Writing on a screen, or worse, on paper, is near impossible. Yay me.

Of course, writing this anywhere - paper, screen, head - fills me with a hell of a lot of fear. Ok, truth be told, fills me with terror. Not big or brave with asking, but I am way more than fraying around the edges. Here's the deal: you know that phrase "I can't even?" That's me. I can't. I just can't. Not anymore, and probably not really ever again.

I have loved seeing your thoughts and prayers and hearts and love flood across my FB wall. I have appreciated your cheers for my positivity and strength. I have.

I have to say though, I am fucking exhausted by all this resiliency you seen to think I have. As I said, I can't even.

I spend my days sitting in a chair. I remember when I used to be able to walk. Hell, I remember being able to stand. I'm in a wheelchair now. A scooter because of the abounding kindness of a dear friend. Makes it so I can get around some, thank God. The carpet, and there too narrow doorways make it more than a little challenging, even in the scooter. Even so, there is danger in going from chair to chair. Trust me.

I get up, I pass out. I get up, I collapse into a dazed, mostly not conscious puddle, usually in the hardest, narrowest, most dangerous part of my condo. I have the blood, bruises and breaks to prove it.

I currently have a broken foot (4th and 5th metatarsals to be exact). It's been broken coming on 2 years now. I'm big on breaking bones, not so much on healing. Yay for 3 years of high doses of prednisone. I have a broken finger since last September. My newest is a broken elbow. This one required an ambulance ride to the hospital and surgery. I now have a plate and a couple of screws.

Yay paramedics. They know my address by heart now I think. I fall and pass out a little too often for passing acquaintancy. I was hospitalized 11 times last year.  I think I was in the hospital more than not in 2019 if you also include the ER visits. I've already got 2 ER visits and a 2 week stay for 2020. Yay me.

So here's the deal. Self pity aside, and my apologies, please; I've reached my breaking point this past week, truly. I spend my days sitting in a chair, and I've now added crying somewhat randomly to my repertoire. I can't even, not anymore.

Here's the deal: I love your thoughts and prayers and all. The scariest thing though - scarier than my continuing deterioration, scarier than the fact that my docs have all kindly and lovingly washed their hands of my illnesses and treatment as they have tried every medication or there and nothing has worked and while I may not be dying I will not improve, scarier than all the hospitals and the two heart attacks I've had in 6 months -

Scarier than all of that, and so much more that I can't even dare to name it, is this: getting this vulnerable, this honest this raw is asking for help, is admitting I need.

I need. And I'm sorry, but I need something so much more that hearts and prayers. Know what I need? A meal. I can't get around my own kitchen let alone cook anymore. I can't open a fucking can of soup on me own. The last chore I could do, washing my dishes? I can't anymore.

Can you help me organize my closet? I can't manage to be able to stand long enough to hang my clothes, or unfamiliar them even. And I need help with my desk and the bookshelves. I am not a paperless society and the pile of mail grows exponentially.

Can you sweep my kitchen floor or vacuum my living room? Brush my hair? How about help me figure it how to wash it? Can you fold my laundry? How about run an errand, pick something up at the grocery store? Nothing extravagant, but sometimes I run it of cream or have a jones for some chocolate cookies.

Can you come and keep me company? Doesn't have to be an all day affair - hang out for a bit, we can drink a cup of coffee, watch some TV, talk, sit in companionable silence. Whatever. It's just I spend my days sitting in my chair, and mostly alone. I'm onely. I mostly don't know how to ask for help. Or, I don't ask for help, don't allow myself to get that vulnerable. Sometimes I'd rather die than do that. That's not as funny as I'd like to believe it to be anymore.

So here I sit, sad and lonely and in what feels like desperate need. I used to write about being spiritually broken. Turns out I wasn't, I don't think. And just when I'm finally willing to say I'm not broken on the spiritual plane, I just may be broken beyond repair in a physical sense.

Yay me.

Sorry for the length. Sorry for the sadness and self pity. Sorry for the need. I'm not looking for you to fix me or cure me, honestly. I'm trying to stop pretending that I'm ok, or will be soon. I'm trying to show up honestly. Whatever strength I may have had is long gone. What's left is haunted emptiness. I just can't even. I just can't.

Thanks for reading this far (or as far as you have). Hope I didn't offend, tho maybe I've disturbed you enough to think a little bit about just what bikur cholim (visiting the sick) really is so that you show up just a little bit differently the next time a friend gets sick and is in need. (Sorry: at least my lecture was short). I promise to try not to shudder if you answer, if you give advice. It will not be easy (another promise).

Life is not easy these days I have bottomed out on trying to hold it all together, or even hold any of it at all. I give. Thanks for listening...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Approach - a poem for parashat Vayigash

This is God's doing:
I knew it all along:
Divine intervention on a biblical scale -
someone should contact DeMille,
te absolvo to the rest of you;

You clearly had no part
in the glory-bound trainwreck
that was the beginning
of this merry-go-round life,
all murderous contempt aside.
You have no power here,
nor your little dog
or your sparkly red shoes.

Clearly it was God all along

So you may approach, knees bent,
tail between your legs,
and make as your offering gift
the  blood - spattered remnants of cloth of gold
and red and orange and purple and black -
You get the picture -
I get the glory.

Blessed is God,
and deserving of blessing.