|Job and his comforters|
SALEM JOHN BOARDS THE 'LAST TRAIN OUT'
a tribute to my dad written by Cecil J. Smith, emeritus editor-in-chief of my hometown's newspapers
Once again, what I have most feared in the past few months is about to descend on me. Barring an outbreak of Deus ex machina (the literary term for divine intervention on a game-changing scale), I will be moving into a homeless women's shelter on Monday, February 17, 2014. Now, don't misunderstand me--I believe in divine intervention to a point that makes this whole assertion an understatement. You cannot imagine the genuine miracles I have seen in my 36 years of life. This may be stopped at the eleventh hour, or it may be that the shelter will be best for me, anyway. I can only say at this moment that it appears to be looming fast before me, and I am thoroughly terrified.
|"Deus Ex Machina 1" (2012)|
by Mall Nukke
At times right now, I hate myself, and I hate my life. Being a mother under these circumstances is a cruel, jagged, double-edged sword; I feel such guilt at not being with my daughter now, having to leave her with her paternal grandparents, being unable to care for her, that I sometimes want to die, and because I would never leave her or hurt her, I could never, ever kill myself. I spoke to my sweet, beautiful, 4-year-old daughter on the phone today; she asked, "Are you my mom?" Never has Hamlet's soliloquy made more piercing sense to me. I know I am being viciously honest, but I have no pride left with which to hide the self that most people don't show to others.
I say that, but the last vestiges of pride do linger to make me ashamed of my situation, embarrassed to admit that I am a pauper with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic issues, afraid that those I need most right now will reject me as a lost cause or a dangerous person with whom to become entangled. But yesterday, I found this,
a video on YouTube of a performance by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (which I beg you, in your charity, to watch, as it will help the remaining sentences make more sense).
As the images unfolded, I was reminded that there is no shame in poverty for a Christian; our Founder said of Himself that He had "no place to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20). I certainly cannot compare myself to Him, nor claim, as He could, that I have not contributed in any way to my current predicament. All I can say is that He never turned anyone away for poverty, but "had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36), and if He had turned people away because they had sinned, had helped cause their own sufferings, He would never have interacted with a single human being. Indeed, He would not have bothered to come at all.
My Muslim friends taught me to pray in these beautiful words (two common interpretations of a phrase from the first surah of the Qur'an):
"In Thee do we seek refuge," and "Thine aid do we seek."
My Master taught me to pray in very similar terms:
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
|"Jesus Calmant la Tempete"|
by James Tissot
In any language, "carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:37). Lord, you must now say, "Peace, be still" (Mark 4:38), or I will surely drown.