Desolation and isolation close in on me. I wake every hour through the night, and wake in the morning wondering if God wants me to engage in more Zoom meetings. I know He is there when two or more are gathered in His name and crying out to Him. Or is this the time to step away, I wonder, from everything and everyone and find my contentment in Him alone? A deep sense of inadequacy fills me over the weekend, wearying me for a new week of work. Voice hoarse, nerve endings exposed, moving in slow motion I enter into Monday.
I have moved quickly and intensely over the last two weeks to keep my little nonprofit afloat and on mission. It’s not really mine. But it has felt like it was mine alone to save. And I felt I had one last fight left in me, transitioning with my team at great speed into new approaches so that the movement and dance people have come to love and depend on could continue, that our cash position, both current and future, could continue in good standing. I felt like a soldier dodging the artillery on the battlefield and stormed forward with my troop. But then I got hit.
SBA became overwhelmed with all the forgivable loan applications and wasn’t able to process them in order to administer the funds. Our bank processed over 37,000 when they opened up their portal to their first wave of applicants over the weekend. Nonprofits are in cue for the second rogue. What felt unprecedented in its power by providing payroll protection has turned into pandemonium, with new changes happening every day. Unprecedented scrambling and confusion is what’s in place.
I lay awake in the night and imagine that my church will succeed with their loan through their small bank. I had checked in to see if they were applying and wanted to help offer any advice I could from the three accountants, two attorneys and one banker’s advice I had on my side. But they had their own advisors and they had their prayers, and it will make sense to me that they will be the first in line to be “forgiven”. All earthly knowledge and intellect can’t compare to prayers. My prayers feel inadequate. I imagine Danceworks doors closing and feel the panic close off my breath.
I recognize that I am now operating on empty, that my Bible sits in my lap but my hands hang limp. My cries for healing and filling lie in the ashes of my efforts. Such an all-consuming sense of failure it is. And it’s not even about work as much as about my confusion over where my efforts should end and God’s begin. It’s my failure at trusting when my worst fears have taken their hold on me. I crumble and sob in between calls through most of Monday.
I remember this is Holy Week and wonder if this is at last my soul- death before rebirth. The eagle I soared on has been shot along with me. He lays on the ground beside me, unable to move. But his eye is looking into mine. It is alight with a flame as he turns his head skyward. I turn mine. We remember together the heights we have scaled as his majestic wings carried us far above the entanglements off earth. He closes his eye then and so I close mine. His unbounding power has left him. Even the mighty speed of the eagle couldn’t dodge the flying bullet.
The day draws to a close and despair takes me to the rocks near the water where I am surrounded by seagulls who give no thought to sorrow. I stand in the sounds of waves and the wind and look up to the sky where my eagle once flew. I enter into His Presence. Despair, like disease, has drained me and I have suddenly become an old woman. I put up a good fight and have failed.
I take a seat on the sand and realize that here I don’t feel alone, but that angels are watching and waiting with their wings hovering. The water is a misty blue, erasing the line of the horizon—heaven and earth meet. I find peace in having nothing left to offer, no poem, no story, there are no more words to write. No laugh, no song. This is my lament. A grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die before it can grow,* and I have fallen. The only hope of regeneration is Resurrection. Is this what it means to be crucified with Christ?
As I walk on the shore, in front of me appears a single rose, drenched, its layers laden with sand. It is unusually heavy as I take it into my hand and am surprised by its likeness to the weight and shape of a human heart. In this moment, I realize I have come to my end in order that the new heart of Christ can begin beating within me.
I have known about this calling to offer up my life to Him. But when the Monday evening mist lifts from my eyes, I see that what He wanted was my death, so that, His life can be resurrected within me.