Last week, like others in my small group, I had to grieve before I could dream. On Monday, during our prayer, we were invited to pray with the prompt: how has God changed for you or what God has emerged for you during this workshop (or something like that). I have a new appreciation of tears, and I think that God is actually in the tears, themselves. Maybe the Holy Spirit is a better name for this form of God. In any case… tears constitute the complicated and layered emotions we hold, sometimes many all at once! They speak of our heartbreaks, anger, despair and yet there is hope in them because there is longing. This process of flowing through grief, and with the support of our cohort and spiritual director, I have found that God is in tears, intimately running over the cracks and wounds and aches I have for myself and others. I was invited by a cohort member to pray with Hannah. I looked to her as a mother and leader, and was led to trust that God emerges in new ways and is very much a part of the grief, like the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us when we are weak and don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26-27).
This new God I have been with is also a Jesus who is freer than I realized, and wants me to dance with him in this freedom, and love and joy. We could move across ideologies and political thought, trusting that the Gospel message of gentle love and understanding will withstand. It will be a good challenge that we can embark on together.
I prayed with this God when I renewed myself in my baptism in a sense. That is, I made an intention of starting afresh, for new life amidst my present grief, as I jumped into Mason Lake. As I swam under the sunset, I prayed for dialogue and courage and trust. This week God answered my prayer on the same dock, giving me an opportunity to talk with my parents about current events in what felt like honest and productive ways. Venting, processing, listening, challenging, stretching – in small ways, but real ways, in love. I hope this is a beginning.
And dreams are beginning to emerge naturally as I move beyond the grief. For Church. For me. Its as if it has carved open a new space with more clarity, cleansed with salty water. I’m finding that some of these dreams are also born from grief and maybe all are made clearer by the tears God shares with me.