Tuesday, December 2

Gratitude, Joy and Service (day 104)

Tomorrow I go back to London. I am a bit sad. not enough time in Paris.  But being here is sometimes sad, too.  I turn a corner and I see P- and I here. We used to meet in Paris sometimes because it was easy from Antwerp and from London.  I don't want to be in the relationship with P- anymore but I do miss being in love and being loved in return.

There's the rub, isn't it?  Why is it we so often fall in love with the wrong person or just someone we can't have. I used to think it was a fear of intimacy. Now I think it is dumb stupid rotten luck and the more open to intimacy you are, the more you are likely to get your heart broken.

I have a broken heart right now. There is so much I am letting go of. Life in London. Life for many years with Sir P- of Antwerp. And in many ways, I am letting go of the hope of being in love again. It may not happen again in my lifetime.

And by that, I mean being in love, together. That timing and mutuality bit is the real hard part.  I'm sweet on someone right now. I tried not to let this happen because I didn't want the emotional tie to Europe. But damned if it doesn't always work out this way.  He doesn't seem to reciprocate. And that is painful.  I didn't realise how painful until today.

I went to Notre Dame today.  I guess I wanted a blessing and as I walked along to light a candle, a female voice from the choir sang the most haunting melody.  To my surprise, tears were rolling down my cheeks and my body was wracked with pain.  I was a little embarrassed to be sobbing in the aisle, almost doubled over in pain and yet, I could not stop.

And then I felt something I had forgotten, but have felt several times in the past - I was awash in a sense of Grace that said to me: lay down your brokenness, feel your fractured heart bleed. Shatter into a million pieces.  Stop pretending everything is okay.  Surrender it all, feel it all, and Let Me carry the burden...

And so here we go:

1. I am grateful for places of worship, be they churches, temples, or forests. I am grateful for the refuge for the heart. They are places where we can bring our brokenness, where we can shatter to pieces and become like shards of a person. We can bring our pain and suffering that we can no longer carry any longer.  We can lay ipdown our agony, surrender to The Divine Quantum and rest and be weak.  Surrender is sometimes the most powerful thing we can do.  It doesn't make our problems go away, but it takes the burden away of getting our lives right if we believe that there is a bigger picture which we cannot see. If you don't believe that, it is okay with me.  I do, and it gives me comfort.

2.  I am grateful for the ability to sob and feel waves of agony. As I have been writing, all of it has surfaced again.  It feels awful. But I would rather feel it than repress it and have it own me and become an illness.  I am grateful, in those moments, for the ability to refer to 1, above and be able to surrender and know that this will pass and that I don't have to know the answers.

3. I am grateful for friends who I can call on just to send a prayer or energy when I know I am at the end of my ability to hold it together.  I called on one via Facebook in the morning and her words gave me the strength to surrender and to feel.

JOY - well, in that, it would be hard to imagine that there was any joy. There was. In the midst of my suffering, I felt joy at remembering what, as a minister, I should have remembered always: faith.  A faith in something more powerful than myself to whom I can give my burden and surrender the outcome.  In this case, if I am not loved by this man, it is not because I am unloveable. God loves me. And, if the man doesn't love me, then it is not my destiny at this time. Life is long. Who knows what the future holds - that's the point -  I don't have to know the plan. Things aren't all in my (or anyone's) control.  There is joy and comfort in believing that I am loved and loveable whatever that outcome.

SERVICE - I listened to a woman's story on the metro. She seemed to need to tell someone her story  of how she came to France with a husband, how she had become disenchanted, how she felt she had  to rely only upon herself now and how she wanted to go home to Bali.  I don't know what it is about me, but people like to tell me their story.  Maybe, like me going into that church, it gave her the chance to unburden herself.  I offered nothing but a compassionate ear, and yet, I believe sometimes that is the most powerful gift we can give.

Timeshift - I am finishing Monday's post on Tuesday morning.  I dreamed of the new man last night. I dreamed that he was teaching somewhere in Paris and I awoke wondering if it were true and could I attend the lecture. And then I realized that what I felt was just an unbridgeable gap.  I would have crossed the gap to attend his lecture.  But I was not invited to do so.   I asked for a sign, in my agony. Perhaps that was it.  God answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is no.

And so, as I leave Paris this afternoon, I would like to leave two metaphorical (not physical) locks on that famous Paris bridge. Not as a symbol of unending love, but as a symbol of ending loves. I leave one for Sir P- and the time we spent together here.  And I leave one for the New Man and the time we didn't spend, at this point in our lives. On that, one never knows the future.


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