"So tell me, what is it that you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?"
--Mary Oliver

Thursday, August 03, 2006

surprised by grace

It's amazing how often grace slips between the cracks and slides into my life when I least expect it. The other night I wrote a very bitter, angry post about my chronic pain/health issues and all of the ugly feelings I've been wrestling with lately--the loneliness, isolation, feeling completely useless and unimportant. A few hours later, I went back and deleted my post, thinking my emotions were just too ugly and intense to share. The next morning while reading my email, I discovered that someone had read and answered my post in the three hours it was up:

From one redhead to another: Been there. Before I took myself back to school at the ripe old age of-well, let's not go there, shall we?-I was stuck with no job, no car, and very much alone. If I had died it would have been weeks before anyone knew about it. You will make it. Read Isaiah 41-I don't have a Bible handy at the moment-where He says, "I will help you." Hold onto that.
I loved your 21st Century Zen. It was the only belly roll laugh I had all day! Thank you. I needed it. Good luck on getting discovered. I enjoyed reading you.
Posted by The Wanderer to redhead-report at 7/31/2006 08:56:

This is the text from Isaiah, one that I have read many times but, for some reason have not remembered these past months:

But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
descendant of Abrham my friend,
whom I have taken to myself,
from the remotest parts of the earth
and summoned from countries far away,
to whom I have said, 'You are my servant,
I have chosen you, I have not rejected you,'
do not be afraid, for I am with you;
do not be alarmed, for I am your God.
I give you strength, truly I help you,
truly I hold you firm,
with my saving right hand.

Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name
you are mine.
Should you pass through the waters,
I shall be with you;
or through rivers,
they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire,
you will not suffer,
and the flame will not burn you.
For I am Yahweh, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
(Isaiah 41:8-10;43:1-3)

Somehow, despite the physical pain, I realize now that I'm not alone. That, indeed, I never was. All I had to do was ask, and God was there. When I least expected anyone to hear me, I was answered by grace.


Kerry said...

You are continually in my thoughts and prayers as well. Never feel like you can't share what you are feeling, even if it is raw and ugly emotion. You are NOT alone.

Emilie said...

Barb, wow — that truly was a moment of grace. And I agree with Kerry ... please don't feel like you have to delete anything you write here. As you can see, people identify and relate — and care. :)

LutherLiz said...

I saw the original post and thought of you but didnt' have time to respond right then. The next morning it was gone and I wasn't sure if I'd imagined it. Even in its raw and ugly pain it was touching and beautiful too. I'm glad that you recieved a reminder of God's grace as a result. Believe me, even if I can't fully understand I care and wish I could do something to help.

I've been meaning to email you about this all week but my words seem inadequate somehow. Isaiah hits it much better than I do. ***Hugs***

barbara said...


More grace--friends like you guys! I feel so lucky, humbled in a way too, to be on the receiving end of such caring. I hope you all know how much each of you means to me.

barbara said...

Oh, and Lciz--your words aren't inadequate at all. Quite the opposite!!!