My intent in sharing my own experiences is to encourage you to reflect on your own life and stir up your curiosity about what God is doing in and through your life. Our lives are a type of sacred text well worth paying close attention to. They speak to God’s amazing creativity and his unique imprint on each of our lives. We can be drawn in toward greater intimacy with God, even though we may want to flee it all.
Like Noah’s ark items paraded in pairs along the grocery store conveyor. Although I shop for a household of one, until a couple of years ago I bought in twos.
Time after time I was puzzled by the contents of my grocery cart during check out. I wasn’t intentionally buying double; yet, there were two cans of soup, two bags of oats, two individually-wrapped pounds of ground beef, two jars of peanut butter, two apples and two oranges. When I started paying closer attention to this strange behavior, along with others, I became aware of lingering, profound impacts from losing a twin and other siblings in their infancies.
If you knew I was an only child, that would give you false information. If you knew that I was the only surviving child, that would tell you everything.
Throughout my life I have gone in search of the missing twin and other siblings, metaphorically speaking, looking for ways to save them in myriad ways. Like putting myself in groups that, uncannily, had the same number of peers as the siblings who died. Like being with women, men and their sick or dying babies as a hospital chaplain. I even had a manuscript proposal accepted by a publisher for a book that dealt with a subject that symbolized the loss of my siblings, even though it took me nearly 10 years to grasp the irony.
Currently I’m pondering over another puzzling pattern that has persisted since I was a young woman. In part, I see the shadowy influence of those early losses. I pull on strands of experiences and unravel the effects of survivor’s guilt and self-sabotage. Yet, I don’t fully understand what I’m looking at, just as I did years ago with the mysterious ways I shopped.
I see God’s ongoing, healing work in my life in fresh ways, but it’s not complete. As I deepen my acceptance of profound loss and grief, I gain appreciation for the ways it has shaped my life. I sense a partnership with God to write my particular gospel account.
What about you? How are you and God writing a unique story together? What do you see when you look at your life as a sacred text? What’s hopeful? What’s troublesome? Since your story isn’t over, what might the signposts be pointing you to?
Peace to you!