It was a rainy Monday morning. A monthly gathering of my spiritual sisters who share just over three hours together. We are of different colors and living life in various decades - mostly 40's - 70's. We are better together.
I arrived at the back door alongside my friend Linda. She is a writer and lover of words like me. I slipped off my rain boots and walked inside the simple and modest home where we regularly meet. So very often when I spend time in this place, I am standing on holy ground.
I looked for a seat and a way to quietly enter amongst many already deep in silent meditation. And then I saw this:
This is Willie's chair. Whenever I arrive in this place, she is sitting there. Unless it is a rare day when she is sick or out of town, she sits in this place each and every month. I knew that if she wasn't yet there, then most likely she was not coming at all on that day. And so I sheepishly, yet boldly, sat in this chair.
I knew that it was a brazen move, and later that morning other women told me they were surprised to see me in "Willie's chair." But I came to that place in need of strength and courage and boldness. Willie represents all of these things to me. Just the month before at a critical moment, she offered strong words of blessing and strength to my weary soul.
As I meditated with my two feet firmly planted on the ground, I breathed in and out, and in and out. The Achilles heel of my book, the DAC, floated in and out of my thoughts. How was I going to find my way through and communicate with integrity the critical turning point in my parenting, in my life?
The lectio, or focus verse, for the morning was this: "Behold, I am making everything new." During the out loud communal sharing time, four very different women talked of finding their own voice as they met together over a period of two years and simply shared their stories with one another. My friend Linda painted a picture with her words, "My pain and failure is being re-born. Like a butterfly."
As we were moving into a time of silent journaling, Willie hobbled into our gathering. She was in obvious pain and a bit flustered. I offered her seat back to her. She declined and instead joined me on the back porch. Even those who often seem so strong have days when they are weak. It is the human condition.
In the stillness and as I sat in the presence of a strong, yet weak on that day, mentor, the DAC began to resolve. In so many ways, this monthly gathering of women that I have attended over many years has given me my voice. I now know that my strength is in my weakness and vulnerability. God said it to Paul like this: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I literally went home very soon after that and wrapped up the Damn Attachment Chapter. Like Linda, my pain and failure is being re-born. The sharing of my deepest hurts and failures offers hope to others who have walked similar roads.
Linda shared a beautiful poem with us that day. Our friend Pat created the artwork. We are certainly better together.
Adopting Grace: A Parenting Journey from Fear to Freedom available on September 12.