Sunday, November 22, 2009


I am, at the present moment, and have been, for the last 3 hours or so, holed up in my bedroom.

I am cocooning.

It is warm, and dimly lit, only one small lamp (enough light to read by) and about a dozen or so tealights. It smells lovely in here, thanks to the oil burner and softly scented oils.

I'm in need of a little bit of metamorphosis today. And a lot of grace.

So I'm cocooning.

(Emerging, every so often, to finish tasks in the kitchen, but mostly cocooning.)

I have cried deeply.

And when the tears began to end, and peace to re-enter, made makeshift communion from the snack of mango juice and home-made pita chips that I'd collected before the storm began, in the moments when I thought I was going to spend my afternoon sorting my recipes into a more practical form, instead of curled up, searching for grace.

My heart is tired. Of myself at times, and the struggles to choose differently. And of some of the situations I've been part of that seem to go on and on and on.

And today my heart bears also the weight of things from this week. Of a friend's mom whose days are now marked by cancer. Of a boy who died too young. Of things that make me want to scream out "This is not how it was supposed to be."

This is not how it was supposed to be.

A dear friend prayed, and that helped.

Lighting candles helped too. A sacrament of sorts for me. It's rare, these days that they are all lit, scattered across the two "altar spaces" in my room, full of prayers and memories.

Cocooned. Wrapped, and warmed, and letting my heart be slowly transformed, drawn again to a place of grace and peace.

Those two words, grace and peace. I listened to a sermon recently that pointed out that these were some of the most common greetings in Paul's letters. Grace and peace to each of those churches to whom he wrote. Grace and peace to each of those who sits and reads those letters now.

I find myself in need of those today.

As my thoughts cleared and focus returned, I picked up the book I've been reading in little bits all week. Stories rather than definitions. A book that seeks to portray grace, a book that stirs the desire to hunt for it in the most unlikely of places.

Not so very different from the daily lists of 5 or 10 that I've been making for just over 100 days now. But more flowing, and encompassing the world, from the funeral of Pope John Paul II, to a slum in Kenya, to the room of a lovely Chicago nun named sister Annuziata. Stories that find life and hope.

I've needed those today. Those words that stir hope and joy in a heart that was only feeling their absence.

And stories like these make me grateful for my interminable habit of book buying. I bought this one ages ago because I recognized the author's name, and hey, it was on sale.

I only picked it up a week or two ago, and have been reading slowly.

And the book itself is a measure of grace. One that sat on my shelf until the urge came to read it. That internal nudge. But also the slow traverse through it, until this afternoon, when I needed to internalize, to read, to "eat" and be reminded of grace in large and sweeping portions.

The candles flicker off the various items scattered around my "altar"... pottery wine goblets, and gifts from a friend. An empty wine bottle, a cross formed from palm leaves, a plaque, a few stones, a remembrance day poppy or two, and a photo of myself, captured in the midst of a very deep moment. And as they flicker, and I sit in my cocoon, I am reminded that those moments, though many hold, in their own way, some measure of pain, also hold joy, and life. They hold grace and peace.

And tonight I'm thankful for the quietness of an empty house. For a cocoon, and for measures of grace, slowly restored, and transforming my heart again.


Susan said...

I'm sorry for what you're going through. May our God of all comfort be especially near. Take care of yourself hun.