Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Crosses


The “aha” I blogged about in my last post has been unwilling to let me go. It has in fact gotten wrapped around the idea of radical hospitality and how that is related to what Jesus calls us to in the Gospel and how that is playing itself out in my life. In an earlier post, I talked about feeling like I was finally getting a handle on the humility/humiliation confusion that has long dogged me. Part of the legacy of that struggle is that I tend to be profligate with my power in the presence of threat, real or perceived. Ever since the day so long ago when G stood over me and determined me lacking in some fundamental way, the minute I feel that someone has judged me and found me wanting, I go “one down” in some very scary and seemingly irredeemable ways, hand my power, my efficacy and authenticity over on a silver platter, and roll over into shame.

That is not a place from which I can offer hospitality of any sort, let alone the radical kind that Jesus is asking. That is not the place from which I can follow a call. It is not even a place from which I can authentically discern what is really going on, as from there everything is distorted. Benign shadows morph into terrifying shapes and the innocent or random acts of others become sinister and triggering.

This has happened enough in recent memory to be sort of consistently on the radar screen. It comes up in all sorts of different arenas. The incident with the student is the latest example. Without exception the reactions I have gotten when I’ve talked with people about her have been the ones I got from those of you who commented here. Sane, rational responses. It is likely her problem. Keep on doing what I am doing. Be kind but hold my ground. Look under her reaction. And I get this, I really do. With my head. From one perspective I can be kind of righteously indignant…I am after all the teacher, I know what I am doing, who does she think she is? And from another I can be compassionate, she is frightened of something, she is reacting in fear, I can offer reassurance. And I have been in both places, acted from both, they both feel good in their own way.

But here’s the deal. I cannot move on, I cannot let go of this thing. I cannot take back my power from this person whom my rational self knows to be more scared than I am. I niggle away at it in my brain, it haunts my dreams and keeps me sleepless in the dark hours, where I worry it into something that even I know is way bigger than it is.


I know that this is the old thing, this is the legacy, the enduring ruthless dogging, dare I name it….demon….that will not release me. It seems to be locked my cells, woven in my being. I do not know when or how I will finally be quit of it. My SD assures me that I will, that there is a way, with God’s help. I am trusting that. I need to. Because more and more I hear that piece about the radical hospitality….and this is in the way. And the stuff in the way is the stuff that has to go. Of all the possessions I have to give up, perhaps this one is the hardest to figure out how to part with. Perhaps this is the cross. At least for right now. Maybe that’s all I need to know. Maybe that’s enough for today.

13 comments:

mompriest said...

I'm sorry you are experiencing this....sigh...

I would feel the same way. Such an event would nag at me, and I'd lose sleep....

Still, I think, really, having read your first post over again, that there is something very much about her in all this. Especially since she was unwilling to really dialogue with you and then failed to show up for the next class. It seems she has some expected need that you "can't" meet, because she won't let you...she cut you off more than once.

I have my five questions for you, whenever you are ready for them. How about early next week? Or would they be a good diversion and you'd like them earlier?

RevDrKate said...

Interestingly enough, I was out sick yesterday and she e-mailed a "get well." Go figure! I"m guessing we are "something" to each other as in so many of those complex relationships that seem to have strange dynamics both ways. I'm tempted by my questions but I have to write a sermon this week too....how about Sunday sometime if that works for you? It would be a relaxing post-church wind-down.

Diane said...

Kate -- there is this kind of work in all of us, I think. And it's not easy to give up, even if it's a burden.

mompriest said...

Hah! Go figure indeed...perhaps you are "something" to one another...

I'll aim to send the questions sometime on Sunday afternoon. (That is if I remember... LOL...my poor little brain is full of holes these days...)

karlajean said...

I want to know the questions, mompriest..bur respect privacy..maybe generic for all of us?....and revdrkate, please...be gentle to yourself and allow the truth to support you. Yes, somethings to eachtother.....and love to self.

RevDrKate said...

MP...I'll nag if you forget! And Karlajean I'll share questions and answers on the interview AND expect new volunteers! Thanks all for your support, it's good to not be alone in this.

Katherine E. said...

Kate, your descriptions are so on target...The loss of power brought on by self-shaming. And that sense that the woundedness is somehow at the 'cellular' level. Very familiar to me as well. I went back and read your link to when you were on retreat at the yurt and what you wrote about humility. Kept thinking of that wonderful quote by Iraneus: "The glory of God is a human being fully alive." Such an amazing thought (to me, anyway).

May you sense the power returning very soon!

Mrs. M said...

RevDrKate,

Thank God for your honesty, and thank you for these questions and explorations. Your fears and pain in this really resonate with me. I don't have a solution, but I'm more grateful than I can tell you for your willingness to share.

RevDrKate said...

Katherine I have always loved that quote from Iraneus...in fact in sort of rare irony, in the days of G's wounding I had an Abbey Press poster of it on the wall in my bedroom! Things do go deep on many fronts, don't they?

Grace thing said...

Thank you for this post. So honest and so well-articulated - not easy. I'm with Mrs M - there's something here that resonates deeply with me. I'm taking a deep breath for you right now. Thank God for Aha moments, even if they bring us into more darkness for the time being, right?

RevDrKate said...

Darkness before the dawn? I am hopeful and taking this one breath at a time....thankful for community.

Serena said...

Add me to the list of those who resonate and appreciate this post. (((o)))

revabi said...

Oh dear, I know what it is like to hold onto things people say to me. It gets that old shame, the old critical harmful voices of my past, and I am a child again, a wee one balled up in the corner powerless and helpless. Praying for you as you make your way through this incident and what it has stirred up in you.