Had a good day today. Gave myself a structure: abs and arms workout, breakfast, meditation, run and shower, meeting companion, lunch, meditation, music, football practice, mass dinner, exposition. Except, I didn’t do music until after exposition because I spent two hours reading Luke’s gospel from start to finish, Okay, the meditation this morning – I went back to the place I found yesterday and just was. No questions, no answers just peaceful being. I swam in the cool clear water, I turned cartwheels on the grass, all held in the palm of God’s hand. My companion talked about Mary, but I have issues about Mary, although I did think about it. It’s the “perfect woman” thing. I can’t identify with her at all. Mother and virgin – the male fantasy? and at the moment I can’t get too far past those holy, holy images of her to be able to identify with her much. Maybe that’s the problem – do I really need to identify with her?
Anyway, I chose the story of the Good Samaritan to meditate on – I wonder why! and I became the person mugged by the bandits.
There was a risk travelling through those hills and I was prepared to take it. The implication is that the man was Hebrew and was therefore in a position of faith. He probably trusted God, like I did, before he set off. Anyway, the worst comes to the worst. I am lying broken, bruised and bleeding at the side of the track. My head hurts and my whole body is aching. I am too weak to sit up or even call out. The sun is hot on my red, blistering skin and I am desperately thirsty. I become aware that someone is walking past and I try to speak. It is a Catholic priest and all I can manage is a slow, painful moan. He looks at me, anxiously and suspiciously, then puts his head down and walks quickly past. He represents the Church and the laws of the Church – no divorce, must be annulment etc. He doesn’t help. After a while someone else passes. This is the Levite, who represents the people of the Church, those that are overly concerned with their attention to ritual and protocol. They follow the rules (like many of the pre-Vatican II generation) and may well be a little judgemental. They don’t help. The Levite “tut tuts” and carries on walking past. I lie there feeling dejected and helpless, just wanting oblivion so that I don’t have to feel the pain anymore. And then I hear a horse walking towards me and stop. A man gets off. I recognise Him as a Samaritan, although I can barely focus for the light shining in my eyes. He stems from the same tradition as myself so to speak but we are different: not on speaking terms. He is Jesus Christ and He is filled with compassion when He sees me and He responds by beginning the healing process in me. His tenderness in unbearable and I start to cry. I don’t deserve this. He kisses my head and tells me that it will be okay, that I will be fine and that all things will be well. He gathers me into His arms. It hurts, but His arms are strong and tender, and He holds me to Him. He carries me to His horse and puts me at the front of the saddle. I moan in pain and I feel floppy, but He holds onto me and gets on behind me. He puts his arms around me and takes up the reins. Then there is the moment where I let go. I lean back onto His shoulder: I feel safe and I let myself sink into Him. He says:
It’s alright to be weak. I will protect you.
It feels good to be protected. I feel his strength holding me, directing me and I let go of everything and sleep.
Then I am under a duvet and I am warm and safe, and clean. I have been washed and my wounds tended to. There is an innkeeper in the room and Jesus. I know He is leaving but He tells me that He will come back. I have to get well, He won’t always be my crutch. Sometimes I have to be strong too. I have to try.
I don’t deserve you.
I say, when the tears have stopped.
He says, and He smiles. So do I.
Then I did some football practice – all about balance and movement. I have to feel the ball and how it responds and I have to move to accommodate it. It’s an equilibrium – once I achieve it, the ball will remain in the air. Was He really talking about football?
The long kicks – you have to let them go, be relaxed, work on the technique, hitting the ball in the right place with appropriate force, and remember the follow through. After that, there is no control, only guidance and letting go. Same for bringing up children.
The I sang – for an hour and a half! I wrote a letter to Fr. S.J. about his comments on the differences between the calling of women and men. The reading was about Ruth and Naomi. Coincidence? Naomi must have been an instrument of God to inspire Ruth to take it all on board. This is how I want to be, particularly in my work as a volunteer on the helpline. I asked if I was tender, if I really did make that much of a difference to how people felt. He said that I did and we laughed at how difficult it was to be tender to a certain type of caller during a night duty. I prayed for some of our callers.