i'm dying here
A few weeks ago I had consistent abdominal pain for almost two weeks. Super nurse that I am, I diagnosed myself with various diseases dictated by my state of mind or the direction of the wind. Ovarian cancer, bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, crohns, endometriosis, ulcerative colitis - you name it, I had it. In the end I was suffering little more than a dose of good old constipation that eventually resolved when I consumed sufficient quantities of prunes, but at the time I wondered if this might be the beginning of my dying. Strangely the prospect did not scare me - I like my life and what I have done and I am quite at peace with the thought I might cease to walk the paths I currently frequent.
It occurs to me now that as I contemplated a hardly imminent physical death I was in the process of dying in other less discernible ways. So hidden was this dying I did not at first recognise it. Only now do I realise the anguish and torment gripping my soul was in fact the fading of once vital dreams.
I am speaking of my relationship with my church. Having never experienced divorce I can only wonder if my recent journey mirrors the decline of intimacy within a marriage. Clinging to hopes and visions of what might or should be, tangled up in the messiness of what is, struggling to sort what never can be sorted, gradually giving up in the face of insurmountable misunderstandings, slowly discovering beauty and allure has turned to dust. Anything that remains is too thin to hold onto and so it is released, sadly, but with the recognition the past cannot be changed. There are too many layers of mistrust to clear. It is too hard, not worth the pain and effort.
I sit in this space with great sadness. It pains me that events which occurred nearly twelve months ago have led me to this point, but my purest ideals cannot stand up to the reality of what has happened in my church to my husband. I want to see the best in people, I want to forgive, I want to be faithful to my brothers and sisters in the spirit, I want to be part of an institution moving to a place of greater relevance in the world. But I just cannot do it.
Every Sunday morning an empty space beside me screams Frank's absence louder than any worship song. People kindly asking after Frank do not cancel out the hurt of what others did or failed to do twelve months ago. I can be as idealistic as I like, but wrong happened and I cannot shake the sense that my decision to cut ties is the inevitable playing out of past realities. But in the cutting of these ties a part of me will die.
We live in a broken world. Bad things happen. We make the best of it, reaching deep within, finding strength to move on as wisely and carefully as possible. The reality is though, the best may still not be all that good or right. Thus the pain. Thus the dying.
Perhaps I should rewrite my title: Part of me is dying here. Another part of me will go on, a little wiser, striving to achieve the ideal, filled with new dreams. Life from the ashes. Hope for the future. Which reminds me of something Jesus said, that in order for a seed to bring forth new life, first it must die. So I am dying here, but it's not all bad.