On Sunday, I stood among a display of images, faces, places, art.
I’d made my way over to an area made into what I saw as sanctuary.
No walls or doors to enter in, the space was open. I entered.
The images displayed in honor of the remembered lives massacred.
This morning I’ve slept with interruptions and I rise from my bed and then decide to begin with prayer. Knees tumble and land in a somewhat pensive posture.
Thank you for protection, I begin. I add in grace, mercy, and thank you for today.
My prayer, one of a rambler and a sleeping mind. Rote in my utterance, disorganized and uncommitted.
The void unfilled.
So, I tried hard to cease with the words, to let it happen, to believe my heart was heard.
I knew there was something I needed to know; needed, not wanted. I’d disengaged, though, closing the door to the place needing attention.
Closed off the place and hid the mess, distracting myself with other obligations.
Saying I’ll get back to it soon.
Why must I feel my prayer should be performance, I wonder sometimes?
Why must my cluttered mind overwhelm me in the clamor, a competition, the hearing of my thinking the thoughts
And of letting be, letting go, letting come to rest?
Standing still instead, waiting to hear the hearing I’ve known.
On Tuesday, I went back to the place honoring those who died in a church at a Wednesday night prayer meeting.
The beauty of the faces hanging in frames. The bright vibrant color on those who walked the bridge in unity, hands raised up high on the high bridge over Charleston, South Carolina.
The others lined up, symmetry along one wall, black and white, the photographs, the expressions on the faces.
Together, standing amongst flowers strewn on the ground, eyes closed in prayer, hands unbroken and tightly clutched.
The slain pastor’s Bible encased in glass, opened to the parable of the mustard seed.
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32
Heaven was enlarged that night.
Surely it was.
Stained glass windows depicting Mother Emanuel Church and words, just a few lines, a humble display, a description of what happened that night.
On Sunday, I listened and my emotions felt close to erupting like volcanic overflow in the international airport. I came to the place I’d be letting go and the letting go I’d need to be prepared for in advance.
On Sunday, I stood alone in the place with strong words on the wall that said
My cousin was there; but, she let me be alone, apart.
I wasn’t very strong. I was surely present.
I was present as I heard the soft sound of hymn barely coming through someplace, seemed above or perhaps the four corners holding together.
“It is well, it is well.”
Sunday was an opportunity to be aware, to feel the feels of goodbye, to not be blindsided by the things I did not know.
I’d never left a child at the airport. Never boarded a plane or watched a son fly away.
On Tuesday, we returned, my son and I and he successfully and without me or complication navigated the steps towards leaving, of boarding for his flight.
He surprised me when he approached a woman, asked her to take our picture.
“Uhmmm, I’m gonna be studying abroad for three months, could you take a picture of my mom and me?”
We stood together beneath the Arrival-Departure display.
I reached up and around trying to embrace him. His backpack stuffed fat for carry on, my arm got all awkward and tangled up and I smiled, leaned into his chest and let go my attempt to hold on.
My expression, a sigh. I notice now, the darkness under my eyes.
He turned and looked towards security and I looked the other way.
“Come and see this.” I said.
We were together there for a few minutes, entranced together by the display.
“Isn’t it amazing?” I asked.
He answered “Yeah.”
We both captured this time, this place, took photos of what touched us there.
Patience filled the separate place, we lingered and I listened again to what I found to be amazing, the sound the same as Sunday.
I entered the space with seeking heart, curious over display, stood quietly and after a little while, just the same as on Sunday, now on Tuesday.
I heard the chorus. The faraway melody, the hymn of assurance as soft as a lullaby and as certain as a vow.
“It is well, it is well
with my soul”
And now it’s Thursday.
I’ve heard good words from my son, excitement in the tone of his texts.
I’ve prayed for protection still and I’ve stumbled over my thoughts of his journey.
I’m remembering now, my decision to wait on Tuesday, at the top of the parking deck, waiting for the departure. I heard the faraway sound of strong engine, I watched the plane appear and then become only a speck. The sky empty then, a flock of blackbirds gathered for me, I believe, to say “all is well”.
I heard the seeping in of faraway chorus of grace again today, of
Waiting, of sanctuary and of song.
It is well with me.
I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee at Tell His Story. Her words this week remind her of looking towards the heavens, of remembering where hope comes from.