Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Holding a Corner For Connie By Joy Wilson

I first read Joy's writing when she submitted a piece for the Not Alone project. She has written her own book, Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling with God. Her writing is poignant and powerful and I am so happy to feature Joy on my blog today!


Connie.  Pray for Connie.  She’s in trouble.

Connie had been in trouble the last few years by anyone’s definition.  After being turned down for ordination by the denomination she loved in spite of a hard-won Masters of Divinity, she had lost two jobs due to reasons beyond her control.  Her self-employed, well-qualified husband struggled to keep their family afloat, and now this:  failure to buy a home in the school district offering the courses needed by her gifted daughter.  This woman of incredible resilience had repeatedly experienced life events that would undermine the strongest faith.

So now what.

My eyes had opened five minutes before the alarm buzzed, and rather than blurry blankness, my mind spoke her name.  Pulling on enough clothes to go outside, I sat in the dim dawn, not knowing what was going on, but knowing what to do.  A phone call could come later.  For now, I held a corner for Connie.

I’ve often been carried to Jesus by friends when I was paralyzed by fear, or drained by too much hopelessness.  They did whatever it took to cut through the walls that prevented my escape, and hauled me to where I couldn’t go – over the river to grandmother’s house and sanctuary for the soul.  And Jesus, sensing the faith of the friends, made a house call with an entire Emergency Room in his arms.  While each friend held a corner of the pallet, the Creator loved me back to life, though my world remained unchanged.

God can certainly do anything he/she wants without help, but has chosen to make the universe interdependent – trees and rocks and humans each connected for survival of the weakest.  “Alone” isn’t in God’s dictionary, but “together” has its own page. Those of us, such as plants and water, without the ability to see or hear, still seem to share the sixth sense:  an innate ability to interact with the whole of God in a ceaseless circle of love.  We are the recipients of this blessing, even if unaware.  But if we become conscious of these gifts of grace, then we share the power to heal.

I could hear it on the phone.  The cracks in her voice didn’t match the “I’m OK.”  Connie was face down in the mud, barely sucking air.  Her “giving well” was dry, and the will to try barely alive.  I struggle with clinical depression, and told some recent stories of God’s intervention at the last second when I could bear no more.  I shared my hope with her, for her, not knowing if she could even hear.  Then my heart spoke with compassion that wasn’t mine alone.  I said,

Connie, you may not know it, but countless times you have rescued me, bringing hope in a basket to this basket-case.  You’ve found me melted and mopped up the mess, as if it was normal to be covered in someone’s shit and misery.  Often I’ve been so thankful I’ve gushed with gratitude; other times this wordsmith’s been wordless. You’ve loved me in spite of my apparent lack of appreciation and insensitivity when the best I could do was hide.  But I always noticed the vulnerability it cost you to open your heart to me, whether I marveled or distained it at the time.

I’m a professional at letting what I can’t control take control over me.  You know me well, and I’ve been to hell many times before.  But hear this, girl:  right this minute, you are brave.  On most days, your courage is blatant as you battle the odds face-to-face.  But it also takes bravery to fall apart, fail to be strong and lie still with a half-teaspoon of faith that someone’s going to show up and haul you home.  Well, here I am.

All she could do was cry.  And all I could do was cry.  And those mingled tears refilled the “giving wells” in both of us, watering wilted hope that made it possible one more time to fall into the Grand Canyon of the unknown, held aloft by friends with faith.


Joy Wilson is the author of Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God and a contributor to Not Alone (both Civitas Press, 2011). She and her husband, Bud, are two life-long hippies.  They live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV.  She is part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and has a passion for prison ministry. Also, Joy is an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. Joy’s website is joyleewilson.org and you can contact her at joyleewilson@gmail.com.


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