Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This is an adaptation of an e-mail I sent to a friend. It’s also a prayer request. Sometimes it helps me to share with someone I trust before I proclaim to the world. The feedback I got affirmed the clarity I felt, even through my inarticulateness. I’ve added a few details for context, and removed some—but much of this is verbatim. Please pray for the homeless, the exiles, and the sense of mission to them that’s being birthed in me. Thank you.

I have to make a phone call this morning, to someone I’ve never spoken with. I’m still on muscle relaxants, and didn’t take them last night, in the interest of clearing my head. I can write clearly enough, but can't sequence worth anything, when I talk. I keep starting, and stopping, mapping things in my head and starting over. It’s really frustrating.

I used to literally think in print, all the time. Until I started really trying to talk about God. Now, any concept—any at all—comes to me in images. If I could paint, it would be a lot easier.

I also used to be a much more casual blogger. Now I only write anything substantial if I'm impelled to. It often takes me half a day. I still enjoy it, and it's still an artistic process; I just do it from a completely different place. It’s both a place of mission, and of “sighs too deep for words.”

My prayer group met last night, for the first time since late fall. I talked about NOLA. I told them about the interweaving of vibrance and problems and devastation and resurrection, and why I love the city. I told them of the homeless encampment on Claiborne, and how witnessing that had galvanized me. Since I've been back, I've envisioned starting a chaplaincy for homeless people. It was the first time I'd told this group, I know my place is with the exiles and I want a collar so I can feed them. [I use that term, both physically and sacramentally.] Someone asked me, "Who is this God, who's making you want to do this?"

Damn good question. The only words I have are love, nonjudging, not forgetting anyone. The more-true truth is the image, of being shot through with a lightning bolt. Not in the sense of storminess or danger or even traveling quickly—but pure, clear, warm light; rightness. "Go. Show them that I love them."

I don't know yet where I’ll end up. But I know that this wanting to feed the homeless and the exiles is the right path.


Suzer said...

Kirstin -- Check out my former rector's (and current friend) blog. He is retired and working with a homeless shelter in Sarasota as a chaplain (not sure if that's his official position or not) there. He has some wonderful stories, and I thought they might be of interest to you.


FranIAm said...

Kirstin - I really am moved by your experiences.

What a path you are on and it is a gift to witness this and to offer you all my prayerful support.

Peace to you and how I send prayers for this journey.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kirstin, go for it my friend. I'll pray that God makes a way for you and levels the hills and fills in the valleys.

Did you ever read Sara Miles' Take This Bread?

eileen said...

((((Kirstin))))) i think that lightening is a good image for the way God has worked through you on this.

the devastation there is shocking, and it's even more shocking that two years later, it's still so devastated. God got you there to see that with your own eyes, all the way from California and Washington...

FranIAm said...

Just coming by to say hello and to leave a prayer for you my friend.

Birthing is always a painful process but it is also one that brings you into love.