Saturday, September 13, 2008

Iggy slaps me upside the head

a lousy night of sleep, well, till 4:19 AM it was going fine sent the end of the work week to a groggy point in time. I was glad to see Gannet Girl had written a post, but it sent me in a tail spin.

She spoke of how hearing others say it is impossible to imagine the pain you are feeling is not helpful. So some ancient part of my brain responds... "how dare she say that I can't say I can't imagine this pain. How could I imagine it." I take a nap. I read a short story. I start roasting an Asian eggplant, a patty pan squash, a red onion, and a two pound German Pink tomato. I think of a response. I start an e-mail to GG. I ramble on as words and thoughts remain a mess. I break away to eat the roasted veggies (first adding a can of beans, some salt, some pepper, and some balsamic vinegar).

As I nourish my body, Iggy (Saint Ignatius) and his Jesuit thugs slap me silly. "Stratoz, how can you tell GG and yourself that you can't imagine? Have you not imagined yourself into the life of Jesus? Have we taught you nothing about imaginative prayer?" I go to the gym to workout. I go to bed.

This morning Mosaic Woman headed out for breakfast with a friend. I headed to my chair of contemplation. I don't think it had that name at the store.

I imagine I am GG at a Jesuit retreat center... I am eating in silence with my fellow retreaters as I have a memory of a movie I saw years ago. I leave the cafeteria and check the message board. There is a note to call home. Stop, go back. I leave the cafeteria and there is no note on the board. I am sitting in my room reflecting on Jesus but thoughts of that movie scene keeps interrupting. A knock on the door. A spiritual director I adore guides me to her office. I have lost a son to death. I sit in silence, in prayer, in conversation, in lament. A Jesuit enters with a glass of wine. I will forever be grateful to the love I feel in this room. I am back in my room. I am alone. I should be packing. I am sitting on my bed, feet on the ground, head lowered as it is held on by my hands... Stop Go, back. I am not alone. My husband is there. My head rests on his shoulder. Days pass. I am wondering how I am to believe what so many can't imagine. It is real. But how can it be? The movie scene does not leave me. Was the memory sent by God?

I rise from my chair of contemplation and clean the shower.


  1. God in all things, even - and I hope especially - our griefs. If we are all the body of Christ, what one of us feels, hurts us all - and so yes, we can imagine.

  2. So eloquent and yes, you can imagine well. I wrote four different responses to GG's blog entry which I never posted. The fifth one was still inadequate but I had to say something. I'm learning.

  3. Michelle--- I have no doubts that in the future I will think that I can't imagine something, but hopefully I will have learned something here. I am most grateful for the exercises and their applications in my everyday life.

    Kathryn--- My first response to GG's post would have been much different than this. As for being eloquent, thank you. I am not sure if that word has been directed towards me before. As for learning, I have much to do too.

  4. Here's my own take on this, Wayne: What we are looking at here is whether it is possible to imagine GG's loss. I think about suddenly losing my father when he was 40, I-18. It's all I have to which to compare such tragedy. Yet-it is not the tragedy, itself, that I need to touch, but the soul, the mind, the heart of GG, herself. In that sense, it is impossible to do, If I am "in" Christ, however, then within me dwells the same Holy Spirit that indwells her; and "in" Him I can "connect" with her, not so much in a tangible way that she is aware of me, but I do believe we can share a common flow of what He brings to us about each other in the midst of what we walk through. Even more so if we both already possess any sort of personal connection between us. "Imagine" means trying to envision something through our own mind. Better to "put on Christ" and get into His...

  5. Jim-- In my opinion, imaginative prayer is to use our head to get closer to God. We place ourselves into the stories that we read in the Bible to experience them more fully. Yes, it is in our head, but it is also with God. The spirit guides us. Yes, there is no way I can feel exactly what GG felt/feels, and she has pointed out that her experience was different than this post. But she also feels this post is true. The differences I experience is my head, the true part is the spirit. The prayer is a path to experience what another is going through, not to replicate it exactly but to get closer to the person, whether Jesus or GG, by entering their life through prayer.

  6. Jim-- I usually place myself into a story as a bystander, thus I am not Christ on the cross, but a witness to the event. I am not Mary the mother of God, but a man who happens to see an angel talking to her... This situation, I chose to do it differently.

  7. Odd. The first response I have to this discussion, so far, is that the Holy Spirit is not a He.

    (Although as the Spirit blows where it will and, presumably, how it will, you are welcome to experience it as you will.)

    And that the comments are very interesting. In the life I had two weeks ago, I would have leapt into the discussion.

    For now, I am mostly observant, hoping that the Spirit is indeed reaching out to me somewhere in here.

  8. GG-- Steven J Gould speaks of evolution as always happening but the usual slow process speeds up by big events (ice ages, meteors, the first bacteria...) As I was the same person before and after the childhood medical trauma, before and after I met Mosaic Woman. some big events are easier to take then others, but we always emerge ourselves but different all the same.

    as for gender... Jesus seems to have been a he, Wisdom was clearly described as a she.

    I am awed that you (and anyone else) takes the time to visit my blog.

  9. Actually, while we may express ourselves differently, I believe we are all on the same page. We all operate "out of our head" in one way or another, Wayne; nothing wrong with that. It's called "free will". What Christ brings unto us is opportunity to merge all that we are into all that "He" is; and it might shock you, GG, if you're still there, but I have no problem with seeing the Holy Spirit as being "beyond" gender. He, She, It is a connection provided unto us, male and female. Same Spirit in me, in you, in Christ. I am not so good with words "face-to-face" and am not so sure there are any words that would solve anything, give reason for anything; but finding Him in the reality of all that God is does much. You are in my prayers, my friend...

  10. GG-- Ok, so the periods of lucidity are when you stay away from my blog??? ;')

    Jim-- I am in a goofy mood, maybe the heat, so let me say how we all ended up on page 33 of Reading The Rocks ( a very cool book I am teaching out of currently) just amazes me.

    You two are blessings in my life.


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