We are sitting across from one another on the floor, legs criss-crossed, knees touching. I had been worried about so many things, and though I feel peaceful now, looking at the sweetness of His face, and being strengthened by His warm, strong presence, I still hold in my lap, wrapped in my bandana, all of Houston, all the living things, all the worried and frightened and grieving people, all the houses, belongings and places already destroyed along the Texas Coast. I really can’t handle all this. The worry has been freaking me out, and I am not even there.
I feel better sitting with Jesus, but I still have trouble with perspective. I am a jumble, and so is the Texas coast. Lord, I am sorry that I don’t trust You enough not to uselessly fret about what the people are going through when I know You love them more than I do.
He knows I even cried about the birds and squirrels. He smiles gently at me. “You need something to do about it.”
“I’m broke though.”
He chuckles. I always give Him trouble like this and He is so patient with me.
“Give me the bandana.”
I hand it to Him. It’s so heavy with so many people and things and animals and water in it. Cold drops drip on the floor and onto His knee. He sets the bundle in His lap; the whole soggy mess.
He asks me to breathe in a deep breath.
I’m surprised, but I listen to Him and breathe in, though it seems like the air I breathe in is a dark dense cloud of sorrow, abandonment and fear.
We are standing in the rain in Houston, water rushing by us because the freeway next to us has become a treacherous river. I experience a silent inner expansiveness and then it is as if the rain has rushed into my heart, flooding it. I feel the pain and fear and loss in this city. I can see on the face of Jesus that He feels it too. I remember how He takes our pain upon Himself just as He did when He took up the Cross. His love and compassion are so much greater than mine could ever be. His infinite Heart is sharing His own endless compassion with me, His small, messy disciple, and inviting me to take up the cross in a new way.
Taking my hand, He breaths in too, and again I feel I am breathing in deeply the pain and sorrow of Houston, though there is so much courage and love, too. I take in this pain and feel I could drown.
Now He breathes out a long, slow breath, and I follow with my own breath. I seem to feel a cool,rushing wind of sweet consolation and light come through me and go out to every heart and every place where there is suffering or destruction, to every person, and even to every tired bird that needs hope and strength in this moment.
The One who knows intimately when a single sparrow falls from the sky is inviting me to share His breath of life, to give by heart some of His life-giving love and strength to His suffering creatures, and to His people in the midst of calamity.
I look at Him. He nods. “Yes, breathe in and take into your heart all the suffering, fear, and pain, breathe out to them My strength and relief, the conquering power of love, and the consolation of the Spirit.”
We stand, our bare feet and ankles in the rushing water, and we breathe. I reflect that He shares with us His breath upon the waters that gave life at the beginning of time.
I am praying for Houston with my every breath, by the Spirit living within me.
Hey. I could do this all day. I think I will.