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The Whole Night Sky

Tonight a Bruce Cockburn song sings to my heart. I recently went to a book launch for “Kicking in the Darkness” by Brian Walsh with a concert tribute to the works of Cockburn. Walsh said that people feel understood when they hear the lyrics of Cockburn’s work. I know that that is true for me. Tonight that is true again.

Those who are new to my journey may not know what the year(s) behind us have held. This time last year, I hit some pretty dark times. Christmas is a hard time for me generally as it is a painful reminder that all is not right in my world and my family and I are separated. But last year, it was more than the seasonal blues that I was facing – I had endured a few days testifying in an intense criminal trial and the sentencing. My grandmother passed away without us being reconciled – something that still is painful in my life (I have asked the Lord why he allowed this when I have longed so much to be reconciled. I continue to search for these answers). The funeral held drama as I felt very much like the black sheep of the family, excluded from family affairs and having to defend my very position as a member of the family when asked about my presence there. Tears form as I mention this wound, a wound that is fettered and stinks still.

They turned their  their backs/ I made it too hard/ Every place they touched me/ is a laceration now.

Last year I just hit this dark path that was too much to walk and I crashed. Just when those dark days were lightening a bit, I was laid off from my job that I had loved. At the time, I felt crushed. But now (in between the bitter moments!) I see that as God having mercy in my life and helping me get onto a better path. I have been off work since then and am now officially on medical leave so that is how I fund my life at the moment. I’m listening to Cockburn’s collection and just heard the line “Sometimes darkness is your friend”. Being laid off enabled me to enter a period of rest, something that was recommended to me by many but something I was unwilling to do. It has been a year of regrouping, of recharging my batteries, of learning opportunities such as the volunteer work I am doing, laughing with the twins I live with and being a part of a really exciting community.

Tonight I feel the pain and desparation that is simply way too familiar to me.

Sometimes a wind comes out of nowhere/ and knocks you off your feet/ And look, see my tears/ they fill the whole night sky/ the whole night sky

It’s different from last year. But I find myself once again in a fragile place longing for family, wondering if there is anything else that I could possibly do to mend broken relationships, and having my heart weighed down with memories and broken spaces in my soul.

Derailed and desperate/ How did I get here?/ Hanging from this high wire/ By the tatters of my faith

I’m not sure how I got here again, hanging by the tatters of my faith. But there is one thing I know. Last year, another Bruce Cockburn song spoke to me – Strange Waters. it is a song based on Psalm 23 and ends with the question “If I loose my grip, will I take flight”.

I know now that if I loose my grip, God will lift me up. If I take flight, God will catch me. And so I hang here, by the tatters of my faith, in the midst of strange waters with my tears filling the whole night sky…. I am here, again. For reasons I do not understand. But I know that God is with me.

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