Wednesday, November 17, 2010

De Profundis

For those of you who don't read Latin,  the title of this post is the first two lines of a psalm that is read during the Office of the dead: Psalm 130:

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD;
  Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
   to my cry for mercy.
    (v 1-2)

It is one of my "go to" psalms when I am in the Dark Night,  feeling cut off from God and wondering if the Infinite Threeness  is even taking notice of little old me.    It has become even more meaningful now in my present darkness.  With the death of my mother not only am I cut off from God, but I am untethered from a connection to that grounding sense that I belong to someone here on earth.  Today I feel utterly orphaned, and it makes me profoundly sad in a de profundis way.

I used to wonder if it was something I had done that sent God away from me.  Had I been so obstinate and selfish that God had just given up on me and turned away from me as a lost cause.  Was I just too proud of my own will to be worth anything to God?

 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
   Lord, who could stand?
 But with you there is forgiveness,
   so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
(v 3-4)

I realize that I have a connection to other people, like my husband and my children,  and that they need me and I need them, but, as Fr. Bill put it this morning when he talked with me a bit after Mass,  You just don't  belong to anyone the way you belong to your parents.  

I am beginning to wonder though if my sense of longing isn't more profound because I entered the dark night long before my mother died.  I was already trying to find a way to pray that brought me consolation.  I had been. for over a year in a spiritual land where the scenery was unfamiliar.   God was trying to communicate with me, but I was struggling to decipher the new language that was now flowing in my direction.  

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
   and in his word I put my hope.
 I wait for the Lord
   more than watchmen wait for the morning,
   more than watchmen wait for the morning.
(v 5-6)

And then mom died, who hadn't said anything meaningful to me since 2007 really, because of the prison in which she had been trapped by her disease.  But I loved her and I know that in her way she loved me.  I could go and sit with her, ore even just know that she was there and it made me feel connected.  

Not so now,  that connection has been severed.  I hear a song on the radio, or see a movie on television that she used to love, or something happens in my life and I would love to tell her about it,  but then I remember that she isn't there.  The only analogy that comes close is what it feels like when you lose a tooth,  there is a physical space that you can feel where the tooth used to be.  I can feel that space in my life where my mother used to be.  It is gaping and empty -- de profundis .

The one thing I know, in all of this is that I may be orphaned, but I am not alone.  All those other people in my life; my family and Fr. Bill and my parish family, and my friends are there because God doesn't want me to have to go through this alone.  So while I may not understand God's language in prayer, I do feel God's presence in others.  Everyone who brightens my day, or brings me comfort, is sent from God.   And while they can't take the place of my mom,  they can help me past the bad spots.  God will do the rest,  all I have to do is have faith and hope.

(Israel), put your hope in the LORD, 
   for with the LORD is unfailing love 
   and with him is full redemption. 
 He himself will redeem Israel 

   from all their sins.



Ebeth said...

Maggie, God bless you! Your post made me think of my own mom and dad, still around, but living alone separated from each other by divorce.

The anger and bitterness that they both live with is a darkness, too. I feel for them, but have learned from them to take care of those around me, so that like you, there will be loved ones around to get us through the dark spots.

You are blessed!


Mimi said...

What an absolutely gorgeous post, even in the rawness.
Hugs and love, and may your mom's Memory be Eternal.