Thursday, October 10, 2013

For such a time as this

My life allows for the most amazing conversations. I'm not kidding. Just as I'm going about ordinary business like taking Jamaica to the groomer for her semi-monthly  (ahem) yearly haircut (she lost 15 pounds, I swear she did!), or stop in at one of my favorite quilting stores just to check the clearance section; er, that is, to feed my obsession, I find myself in the middle of a conversation where God Himself shows up. Across the counter from a woman who thinks she's just talking to little old me, and there He is, in the business of saying something so important I can hardly catch my breath for the largeness of it all.

So it was the other day at one of these quilting stores. I was about to walk out the door, small pile of fabric in hand. Okay, it was a large pile, but the clearance rack was bursting, positively bursting and I just couldn't leave it there, could I? Not when so much of it would fit with fabrics in those project bins on my shelves.

ANYWAY, the owner of the shop stopped me to talk about an upcoming event, which morphed into a conversation about fear. Kind of a strange segue on paper, but it didn't feel that way standing there. She is sporting a mouth full of silver braces for the second time in her life. It's a complicated story and not mine (obviously) but she's been in a lot of pain for the last year. And a lot of fear as well. All this led to depression and anger and...well, you know the cocktail of emotions possible in such a situation.

I stood on my one good leg leaning on the counter, chuckling a little inside because she had no idea how much I understood of her situation. All pain is personal, of course. Let's be clear about that. What she feels I cannot hope to know. It's hers. Yet, I've experienced enough of my particular brand of pain to feel compassion for her. I told her this. And then I told her exactly what I've lived with and in for the last decade.
And I talked about how difficult it is, but also how much easier it is than it might be, how we all get something, after all, and this is the pain I got.

But she interrupted me to say, somewhat wonderingly, "You aren't depressed. How do you do it?"
My answer was quick and instinctive, "Because there are gifts in the fire," I told her. "Because of life. Think about it. Think of all that life is."

 "You've given me a little bit of your profound strength today," she answered.
And there He was. THERE HE WAS. Right there. Right there, saying, "For this moment, I allow you this pain. For such a time as this you are here."

So I said, "It's not my strength. I'm as weak as they come. God--and Him alone-- is my strength."

Her mouth, with all that silver, opened into a perfect O.
Then she nodded.