April 23, 2011

vigil(ant)

the desertIf you know me, you know I’ve had a rough year, actually a rough couple of years. I rarely write about myself, but every now and then I turn confessional… of a sort.

Tonight I attended the Easter Vigil - my favorite Christian liturgy… that and Good Friday. On Friday, meditating on the empty altar (the cross is removed on Maundy Thursday) - I didn’t need to invent a context - it was all too real for me: my marriage just ended, I’ve lost the man I loved, and an unbearable emptiness has exposed itself at the core of my life.

For me, the stripped altar reflected the stripped idealizations that had, for too long, held me in their grip: beginning with the myth of marital bliss that John and I had projected to almost everyone around us (when we split, many of  our friends were shocked).  Yet even deeper than this was the way we had come to idealize each other, daily denying the singular reality of the person we had promised to honor as our spouse. The roles we had learned to play, and the way those roles easter vigilmitigated any true intimacy, led us to lose sight of each other, of what was singularly lovable in the other person - with the effect that as the demand to conform to each others’ ideals intensified, so did the disappointment!

So I come away from the Easter Vigil with a new sense of awareness… that’s all (sorry, no resuscitated bodies)… but it’s far and away enough… a commitment to honor and love, as best I can, others as completely other, to resist the temptation to control them, to idealize them, or domesticate those relationships….  this takes vigilance! Rather than fill that empty space in my heart, I allow new spaces to open.

So I pray to stay awake (as I start to drift asleep) and I pray for new life (whatever that is) in the face of this, my impossible task.  ~ Sue Wright


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