The Ground of Your Being and When a Child Disappears

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“IT IS A STRANGE THING how sometimes merely to talk honestly of God, even if it is only to articulate our feelings of separation and confusion, can bring peace to our spirits. You thought you were unhappy because this or that was off in your relationship, this or that was wrong in your job, but the reality is that your sadness stemmed from your aversion to, your stalwart avoidance of, God. The other problems may very well be true, and you will have to address them, but what you feel when releasing yourself to speak of the deepest needs of your spirit is the fact that no other needs could be spoken of outside of that context. You cannot work on the structure of your life if the ground of your being is unsure.” Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss

I think I know it better when I am not grounded.

If I am honest with myself, I confess that I am often more rooted in anxiety and fear than God. Anxiety is like stepping into a quicksand. I keep stepping and stepping and I never find something solid upon which to stand, and I find yourself sinking slowly into muck until suddenly you are stuck, and I think, “how did this happen?”

If, however, I stand still and feel the ground underneath me, and the air above me. If I can be a tree, with myself firmly grounded in the earth, and remember that I came from the Earth, and to the Earth I will return, then I realize that the quicksand of anxiety is a facade. It’s not real. It’s there because it fills a purpose. It teases the brain into thinking that worry insures control.

The other night we were at a beautiful, crowded park for the Fourth of July. We were in a new town with new people. The fireworks were over, I went to put some trash in the recycling, I came back and my six-year-old was missing. “Where’s Jackson?” I said. He had disappeared. The crowd was dispersing and it was dark and Jackson was nowhere. “Jackson! Jackson!! Jackson!!!” My nine-year old started to cry and hyperventilate.

We were both thinking our ultimate fear. We were thinking about the little girls who were abducted and killed in our very safe community back home last summer. “Jackson!!!”

We ran to the playground and the bathrooms. Oh my God, where IS he?

Quicksand.

“We found him!” said a guy in a yellow vest. “We took him to the main station.”

“Jackson! What happened?”

“I turned around, no one was there. I was trying to find you and I got lost…..can we pretend like this never happened?”

“Yes, but first your sister needs to see you.”

“Oh Jackson, you are ok!” Madelyn embraced her brother as tears streamed down her face, “I kept thinking about those little girls.” She sobbed as she held tightly to her little brother.

We stood on the ground, in a moment and our souls were exposed. Our deepest spiritual need was realized. We need each other.

As we walked our chairs and baskets up to the cars, I held tightly to Jackson’s hand.

“Mama, isn’t funny how sometimes everything can be ok in one moment and the next moment it can be scary?”

“Yes, Jackson, that is funny….

I love you Jackson.”

“I love you too, Mama.”

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