I have two circuits I walk with the pups. One is a leash off sort of walk which ends with burrs in fur and tongues lolling. It’s the kind of walk we have to drive to. It’s fantastic. But on mornings like today when I only have time for a quick jaunt there is a circuit that begins and ends at my house, because that’s what circuits do. You’re welcome. We pass this non-descript ranch house on a road nearby. It looks well kept, hedges trimmed and flower pots on the front porch. There is a nicely maintained sidewalk to the front door, which is always bears a seasonal wreath. But when I walk past this house, I can smell rot. It smells like a Michigan basement, wet and moldy. I’m sure someone lives there because of the flowers, but when I picture the interior, it’s all mold blossoms and dank carpet. The house smells like it’s dying inside.
I know women like this. They have the outside all pulled together because that’s our coping mechanism, but they are dying inside. I have been a woman like this. Pushing my cart through the grocery store and praying I don’t run into anyone I know because if someone showed me the teeniest bit of kindness or pity I would surely dissolve on the floor and never get up. Pushing my cart and thinking that no one knows I am dying inside. Perhaps this experience has given me a keen sense of smell for it in others. I hope so. Hope that my people know they can come here and fall apart on my kitchen floor and I will pull the pieces of them into a pile and curl my body around them until they remember that Father’s hands were there already, it’s just that sometimes you need to feel an actual person and I am an actual person who will gladly proxy. I have this great photo of Dan, when we brought our oldest home from the hospital. I was almost prone with terror at the enormity of motherhood, so Dan unhooked him from his carseat prison and laid him on the floor and lay over him, cupping Grant’s teeny body with his hands and arms. This picture stands on my heart when I feel untethered and rotty inside. We are to be this to each other in the dark. At least until the certainty of Christ being this all the time sinks in and allows the light to start filtering in, killing the mold and drying the place up. We are to be this.
Somewhere in your life there is a Sister like this. She is dying inside and no one knows it. Be the one who figures it out and can cradle her while Jesus makes her whole. Flood her home with scripture on little note cards so that Jesus’ words are dancing before her always. Bring her a quart of her favorite ice cream and a couple of spoons and settle in for the story. Have an arsenal of counselors you trust and offer to drive her there. Tell her she needs a nice long nap but that you will anchor her couch down while she sleeps, praying against fear and sadness and being alone. Be the skin for a savior who gave up his skin so we could live. Here is my prayer for all of us; that we, each one, experiences a rotting time because the healing is so sweet and because then we KNOW. Oh Sister, Jesus is so good at putting the pieces back together. He made you, so how could he not be? And that it makes us savvy and keen to the smell so we can step into the hurt of others. Lord, find us willing and eager to step in.
This is me being real.