Monday, November 12, 2007

Redemption, as it comes

I spent the weekend with a friend, soaking up unconditional love and recovering some sense of perspective. It was the best place I could have been.

I told her that I knew God was with me—but I couldn’t figure out where, because I couldn’t find the redemptive value in this anger and hurt. [I still can’t speak directly of what happened a week ago, in the context of a different relationship. There’s no way to do it without violating confidences.] I’ve been thinking about redemption, ever since.

This relationship is absolutely solid. My friend has seen the worst in me, and the full range of all that I am, for two and a half years. She’s seen me hit crises and grow through them, more times than I can count. She let me lean on her, because she knew I wouldn’t always. We relate as equals now—and I can still go to her when I need to. I didn’t fall apart over the weekend, but it would have been okay if I had.

How do you get to that level of love and trust? You work for it. It takes time, and patience. You have to be willing to be open; you have to be able to forgive the other’s weaknesses (or not see them as needing forgiveness, to begin with). You have to love fiercely and defiantly; you have to be willing to let yourself trust. You have to be committed to the path, and paths, you’re walking. You have to be present.

I asked her to take off her friend-eyes and look at me objectively. I feel stronger than I had before the summer—but from inside myself, it’s hard to quantify the change. I asked what she sees in me that’s different.

Her answer? Courage, confidence, and joy. Even through the hurt, the shock, the bafflement, the seething of this present moment.

Why? Because of the questions I’m asking. Because I can take teasing, and God-talk. And because I’m still able to smile.

She’s right; I hadn’t known it was obvious. And I know that what is in my core is mine. It can be grown, and nurtured into fullness. It cannot be taken.

I’m also thinking about who I am and what kind of friend I want to be. I don’t think I could love everyone, indiscriminately, that selflessly. I’m just not good at two in the morning. But I do know I still want to rush headlong at the world. I still understand ministry as, essentially, love. I still get excited when I think of myself as being given over to God, part of this cosmic relationship that includes and embraces every living being. I’m still open to life.

I’ve been really hurt. I’ve also called on the love of several good friends, this week. They have given it without reservation, as time, truth, hugs, listening, and laughter. I honor what these gifts have taught me. I choose to learn what I need to learn, grieve what I need to grieve, and be both honest and gentle with myself. I choose to keep my heart open, and connected. In this is resurrection and redemption. This is the only way I know to be whole.


Lauralew said...

Wow, Kirstin, what power and wisdom I find in your words. Your honesty and hope are palpable. Thank you for sharing your journey into wholeness and fullness.

Mimi said...

In this is resurrection and redemption. This is the only way I know to be whole.

Amen! That's beautiful! Hugs and love.

We went to the Bazaar at your old stomping grounds this weekend, I got some coffee and books!

Mother Laura said...

I'm so glad you got loved up, freer, and more able to see your strength. Yayy for you and yayy for your friends, and yayy for Godde in you all.

Kirstin said...

Thank you, all. Your presence makes me feel less alone.

Lauralew: Remember there's a lot I'm not saying, mostly because I can't, in public. If I felt free to run with the rage and grief, I probably would. Focusing on wisdom and hope is a conscious choice. These words are honest, but living them is not easy.

Thank you for appreciating the journey.

Mimi: Hugs and love right back, and I'm jealous. :-)

Mother Laura: Thank you, and yayy for you as well. :-)

Paul said...

And a prayer of support in the hard times from New Mexico.

The deep love of the Holy One permeate and sustain you as you go through this.


Kirstin said...

Paul, thank you. That's a beautiful prayer; I'm breathing it in as I'm writing.

Shalom to you, as well.

Max Rainey said...

You have to love fiercely and defiantly


yours in the struggle,

Kirstin said...

Raaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr right back.

[huge grin]