A Wall for Erasing Our Fears
One of my favorite Facebook pages is called “Kissing Fish:christianity for people who don’t like christianity“, and the lack of capitalization is the page owner’s, Roger Wolsey. Roger has a wonderful way with people, images and words that attract people of faith as well as atheists and agnostics. Here’s the arresting image he posted today.
Lean in and read the words that passer bys have written carefully or scrawled. Almost all are poignant. As fragile humans, most of us have personal fears, and some have huge ones that keep us awake all night. Loneliness and failure, even the word feeling are written here. Loneliness and failure seem like to be the big gorillas under our collective beds.
From the cradle on I’d been a very religious person, and talked to God as if he were my Harvey the Rabbit. My childhood was crushing in loneliness and disconnection with family members, but God was willing to keep watch with me, day after day, night after night, staying with me at times when I cried myself to sleep. Sometime in my teens I went through the “lay witness movement” with other kids my age, feeling the need to “witness” to strangers like Jesus’ disciples. I was met with amusement and hostility at times, but it fed my need to serve Him and give back what He’d given me.
And then one night my mother, who grew up in an extremely conservative UMC family, began to question my motivations and beliefs, and my faith fell apart because I was too ignorant to find the right words. That night I walked out on God, leaving him conveniently behind as I finished school, married, divorced, remarried, had a child. Then one day that first child, who was just a toddler at the time, starting questioning why we weren’t going to church, and I knew God had not let me slip out the door unaccompanied. We left the UMC and joined the Episcopal Church, and there I found a place where God and I could meet, and I found a church home. Over the years I served in Martha Guilds, ran an Altar Guild and worked as an AG drone, was a lay reader, LEM, ushered. I built a beautiful home for God in my heart and kept him company there.
Things fell apart years later, and this is where the Wall to Erase Fear comes in, and I felt myself totally alone spiritually. By that I mean I was praying and begging for help, and hearing nothing. The loneliness and fear ate at me like a cancer, and I felt God had moved on without leaving a forwarding address. All those platitudes of God answering prayer in his own way were meaningless to me, when I’d spent hour after hour begging him to answer me in someway, somehow. In my mind the mansion I’d built for him with loving servant hands had been vacated, and God had abandoned me.
The beautiful house is still here waiting for him, I go in every once in a while and dust away the cobwebs. Mentally I hear the echo of my footsteps there as I check doors, peer into passageways and chambers. It is a lonely and fearsome place. I still believe in Him, but long ago became convinced he gave up on me.
Oh to have a big wall somewhere to scrawl those words: abandonment, sadness, loneliness, fear, and simply wipe them away with a spiritual eraser. If writing is a form of prayer, then what would be the erasing? Would it be the answer, or the forgetting of the prayer? Healing of pain and doubt? I have no answers, only questions that never seem to end.
If you’d like to know more about Kissing Fish, check out Roger’s website and his book