When We Most Need It

I've been thinking a lot about the journey lately, and how some parts of the path feel like precarious passages, and other times are like finding your way into a clearing. When I hit the clearings, I don't mind reaching my hand out and grabbing hold of my fellow travelers for a moment, kind of like, “Here—the ground is uneven there, it will help you balance if you hold onto something while you step through.”


But when I am in the precarious passages, as I have felt myself to be these last months, I'm just focused on getting through. In fact, I like to imagine in such moments that there are no fellow travelers and therefore nothing more at stake than my own preservation because that in itself feels like responsibility enough. My hope is in the someday coming clearing, or in the view on the other side of these rocky passes. It's not unlike the kind of focus of a mother in labor, and the way she needs it a little dark and quiet and the kind of support that comes in whispers and a gentle embracing of her hands. It's not unlike the way she dreams of all that she will hold in her arms on the other side.


I can feel myself mending. It's like being soul sick, and having several doses of the good medicine I needed. Now I just have that weariness that comes when something inside is stitching itself together. The fullness that comes from being fed when I couldn't lift my arms any longer. And, above all, the gratitude that makes me want to touch my forehead to the floor.


Don't tell my friends (I have a little “no sad songs” resolution going this year), but I couldn't resist a little time with Coldplay's “Fix You” after my husband introduced me to it. In the dark wee hours of this morning, I keep thinking of these lines:


Lights will guide you home,

and ignite your bones.


Under my covers I let them sink in, along with all the words that have come to me like salve and the presences that have surrounded me like bandages. It's true, I think to myself with this mountain of blankets above me—we are always guided, always revived. We are never abandoned to the darkness or the injury or brokenness of our precarious passages. There is rescue when we most need it, and good medicine for whatever ails us. And if it isn't always and ever true, my prayer is that it will be, for all of us. My lips move quietly in this prayer, in the hopes that it's as good as any outstretched hand.


(I'm posting this video of Coldplay live in Toronto, because there's something about hearing this crowd sing that is such a good reminder that we are always together, never alone.)