The sixth day of Advent 2018

My friend C recently shared this poem with me… with the first and last stanzas resonating deeply with her.

Locked out of Life – Rumi

Again it happens in my sleep.
A core of wakefulness opens.
But I have ways of ignoring that.

You say, How long will you beg from others,
when there are things born of you
that emperors want?

Why waste time in meanness?
Who else can say what you say to me?

If I could repeat it, people passing by
would be enlightened and go free.

You are an ocean in my chest
where everyone changes places,
believer-unbeliever, cynic-lover,

Last night you came to my sleep
asking, How are you?

Locked out of life, waiting, weeping.

I know that I am held by God, this One in whom I live and move and have my being, that I am his child, that I cannot escape his presence even if I try. Yet there are times when my own brokenness, my inner darkness, blocks me from connection, isolates me in my misery, waiting for his light to break in once again, that I might be healed and restored to everything I was created to be.

I may have danced in the heavens, I may have experienced wondrous lightness of being and I do trust my creator parent and the lover of my soul. But these days I am overwhelmed… I am overwhelmed with misery… whenever the busyness stops and I am quiet again, the darkness is ready to envelop me.

Sometimes it is my own inner misery that takes over and sometimes it is the misery of my circumstances. Consider the psalmist crying out in his misery:

Psalm 42
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

I may not have enemies taunting me, but my circumstances are overwhelming me as well. All too often I find myself shaking and tense with anxiety for those I love, for the ball that keeps being dropped when I’m not there to catch it. There is truly no rest when the loving, fallible human beings I trust with caring for my feeble loved one do not get the minimum done to support her failing strength. Even while I’m away getting some respite, perhaps especially then, I hear how smoothies are being screwed up and so not consumed. And then C is yet again leaping into the breach, further exhausting herself in the process and I could pull out my hair! I can’t stand it!

And so we wait in this darkness, knowing that the light will dawn again, knowing that the One has us, despite how everything feels. We know that he has us all, including our loved ones and that he is working out everything for all of our good – but my chest refuses to release and relax… I know better but still… and so on it goes …

December 7, 2018

Each person’s journey is unique, not all caregivers are overwhelmed, but all need support in their journey with their loved one. If you are a caregiver or know someone who is a caregiver who may need help, there are many resources available. For more information, please contact us directly at

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