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In the darkest portion of the night, just before the world shifts on its axis to allow light to begin to filter into the skies, the sounds of shuffling is heard.  Halted breaths and deep sighs of anguish are expressed.  Another night’s sleep has been disrupted by the vague awareness of pain.

It is the time of the month where my brow furrows at the reality of womanhood.  I sigh again, roll my achy body out of bed and into a pair of slippers so I can tend the flow of the moon.  Now my mind has begun to move.  There is no returning to the comfort of sleep.

As I prepare the morning brew and watch the sun rise over the horizon, I am struck by the constriction of abdominal musculature.  It reflects, in many ways, the feeling that has gripped the top of my sternum over my heart chakra since hospice was brought in for my father a little over three months ago.

The morning progresses.  I start a load of laundry and play with my kitties.  Watching them roll on the floor I find myself chuckling at their playful batting and pouncing upon the soft woven portion of an old shoe lace.  They lift my spirits from the darkness and pain.  I am thankful for the joy they bring to my day.

© TheologicalZombie – All Rights Reserved.

Within the hour, I am shocked and amazed at the swiftness with which the strands of darkness of the night leap forth and entwine me once more.  Something that would normally seem like a small bump in the road, a little miscommunication over the phone, has now depleted my energy supply.  I find myself in the familiar terrain of the zombie virus.

For a time I am hungry for retribution, relying on the rudimentary and reptilian portions of the brain that cause us to be reactive rather than proactive.  Fighting the viral sinews causes physical and emotional exhaustion.  I am spent: a teary, snotty mess, curled in a ball on the floor.

In this moment, I am incredibly vulnerable.  I am glad no one sees me this way.  I am at home.  This, generally speaking, does not happen in public.

It did, once.

When my father was in hospice care, the heartbeat rhythm of the sacred drum as my father-in-law and husband played and sang a mourning song elicited such a response in my parents’ home.  The same came out in the public sphere of our church when that song was played at my father’s memorial service.  That may be the only time I have shown complete vulnerability in public.

I consider this, the revelation of the bare nakedness of the soul, a gift for those who were there with me.  It is a deep honor to be in the presence of total vulnerability.  It means that the people and the place are perceived as safe enough for the armor to come off.  In such spaces, where the soft underbelly of human experience is welcomed and encouraged, the zombie virus loses its power.

This can be the gift of the church, if we will only let it.  If we make ourselves aware of the spiritual, psychological and physical needs that those who are grieving, then we will be better equipped to be perceived as the light and love of Christ in the world.  If we will not be afraid of the dark night of the soul: the deep, agonizing pain of grief, then we will aid in spiritual healing.

My prayer today is that perfect love will cast out our fear so that healing might be felt within the walls of the church.  May this come to pass quickly, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.