Daily Reflection: When Words Fail and Hearts Break

meditation+dogs+do+it+too_99a07b_3753826This morning I tried to meditate, but I found not only my arms and shoulders but my whole soul trembled from my waves of trauma, loss, and fear, which fell upon me like the salt-rich waters of the Atlantic upon Virginia sands.  The silence cannot be heard.  The center does not hold.  I tried to pray, but croaks not words came from my parched and breathless lips. I tried to write, but my words would not come.   Words fail me, as they always do.

Then I saw the words of my friend Patricia, whose beautiful baby boy my wife christened.   She too was moved with grief at the loss of my dear love, whom she and her own dear wife, together with their son, loved so deeply.   Patricia gave me permission

letter writing“I Thought of You Today”

By Patricia Turner

25 October 2015

I thought of you today,

and for a fleeting moment,

forgot you’ve gone away

My thoughts continuously go to you,

and all of the struggles you’ve powered through.

I thought of you today, and it brings tears to my eyes

to say you’ve gone Heaven’s way. I thought of you today,

I thought of you today,

and have to catch myself thinking that I’ll see you on Sunday.

We were supposed to; to catch up and say “hey”…

I thought of you today,

and it brings a loving pain.

I know that’s you’re in Heaven now, dancing, laughing, and at play.

I miss you so much today, and will forever and a day.

I thought of you today,

and can see you smiling at me as if to say “I’m ok”.

In loving memory of Kat Royal

When I found myself unable to meditate, to pray, to write, and having to use other’s words for myself I felt I was failing.   But then I remember words I often say to patients in my chaplain work – Let others carry you. You helping hands 3may be used to caring for others, serving your family, living as if it is all up to you.   I remembered the point of meditation is not always to find the center of peace, for at times there is no peace to find, but to truly see.   To truly see yourself and your world, just as it is. Which may be a chaotic web, like Christmas lights that have wound so tight they cannot be unwound. Blinding like looking into the sun.   But to see, to see my fear, my pain, my chaos, my heartache – even to see that I cannot clearly see in this moment – it is the path to healing. It teaches me I am made not to stand alone like Atlas upon whose hunched shoulders the ancients imagined the world to rest but rather intended to be woven together with others in a rich tapestry of life, like the multicolored afghan blanket my aunt once gave me.

I found myself out of this meditation being carried through the day as finding my friend’s words and not my own carried me. I was carried by the words of liturgy on Sunday, in which I did not have to think the words to good shepherd 1pray because God’s people had woven those words over years of practice that inspired Scripture, creed, and silence.   I was carried by the arms of others who embraced me and held me up. I was carried by my brother who drove me for two days while I was so disoriented I could not drive. I was carried by a boss that told me “don’t go into work until you are ready”. I was carried by a therapist who let me simply wail, cry, and tell my story in all its horror with no fear and perfect empathy. I was carried by my dogs, whose need to be walked forced me to meet old and new friends at our apartment dog park, not staying stuck and isolated. I was carried by so many friends and family.

I feel myself as I pay attention seeing a living presence with me. At some moments I feel my beloved wife is carrying me, present with me in all these others.   At other times I feel it is the living God.   I wonder if we must choose, for is not Christ the resurrection and the life, and is not the life she entered a few days ago one long hidden in Christ with God? As many a mystic has said, our best self is a perfect reflection of God, so where love is fully present, both the best of ourselves (or, in my case, our beloved) is present to us and the best of God.

Mother_and_Child_by_senseibushidoI end this day grateful, feeling like a child in its mothers arms.

It reminds me of the words of a Psalm, Psalm 131:

Lord, my heart isn’t proud;  my eyes aren’t conceited.     I don’t get involved with things too great or wonderful for me. No. But I have calmed and quieted myself   like a weaned child on its mother;     I’m like the weaned child that is with me. Israel, wait for the Lord—     from now until forever from now!

Let yourself be carried this day, and in every moment of your journey.

Your progressive redneck preacher,



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