Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Tale of Two Journeys

There are parts of the pain that feel familiar;
the pain,
and terror 
experienced by children
as the adults in their lives careen out of control;

a pain and emptiness that settles in the pit of your stomach,
from which you can't escape
without numbing,
fleeing to rage and lashing out,
or using
whatever substance you prefer 
as a drug of choice.

It's familiar because I've been here before 
in my career.
There are parts of the pain that feel familiar 
because the pain currently in front of me 
echoes from the rooms of my own childhood;
a past which,
 though throughly explored,
 now offers up 
unexpected land-mines 
new shrapnel to the heart.

It's familiar because I've been here before 
in my life.
And it hurts.
The crying on the drive to work
on Monday mornings 
crying on the way home from work most nights
kind of hurt.

Which, not surprisingly, 
led me to think about the last time 
pain was such a constant reality of my day to day life ...

walking the Camino.
I had lunch this weekend 
with a new friend who was inspired by my journey in Spain
to undertake her own;
a journey she successfully completed
and from which she's just returned.

As we shared stories and experiences of our pilgrimages,
it became crystal clear to me that
 my work with children in foster care is
another Camino.

A journey I feel compelled to undertake;
called by God,
for reasons I don't know
and don't begin to understand
but know to be true nonetheless;
leading me to exclaim like the character in 
Shakespeare in Love 

"It's a mystery."

And it is.

And like the Camino,
it's changing me forever;
demanding an intentional commitment from me
every damn day.

Knowing I could quit at any time,
yet trusting that the pain of growing
and doing deeper healing
is a price worth paying.

We don't get our days back.
Contrary to what some of us might like,
there are no do-overs.

The people we meet,
what we feel,
what we do
will never present
in exactly the same way again.

And just because there's pain,
it doesn't negate the moments
of beauty and joy.

Being alive is no small gift.
It's a mystery.
I've had a rough few days
not able to see the forest for the trees
but I'm beginning to find my way out
to the other side.

IF, as my Spiritual Director insists,
crying is a form of prayer,
then I've been praying

Apparently our Caminos,
no matter the form they take,
are never over.

Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.

Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

 Christina Georgina Rossetti

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