Some moments of suffering seem eternal. Mental or physical, either one. Both maybe. It gets in especially at night via insomnia or a dark mood, an ache, or the influenza. I feel behind the eight ball in so many ways. There is too much to do. The garden, letters and invitations, friends needing a hand, files to sort and toss, the child who’s gone astray, forgotten birthdays, the book I am supposedly writing, but I am sick. Not with a little sniffle and a headache, but a full-on lung-collapsing, burning-fever kind of sick that makes you certain you are dying. The thought of dying sounds kind of good at the moment.
I would like some Consolation now. Sleep. Yeah, how about sleep for starters, and also, anything to drink that doesn’t taste like dirty dishwater? It’s been ten days now, and at the moment, recovery seems unlikely. I’m coughing like a dirty engine about to blow. It’s exhausting, and I’m sure anyone within ten blocks would rather kill me than be forced to listen and bring honey-lemon tea.
Praying for Consolation feels like too much to ask of God since since I’ve always done something reprehensible, something that would make all my friends block me on facebook if they knew, so I’m sure I deserve to be sick. Yes. Completely ignoring the theology of grace and mercy is my strength when I’m weak.
In addition to being a martyr I want Home with a capital H. I want to see Jesus and hear him say: what you’ve always waited for, longed for, is here. Didn’t I tell you as much? That All will be well and all manner of things will be well? So? Enter the Garden. Now, what do you have to say for yourself?
I say, someone sent a link to a song that is making me cry. (Thanks, a lot.) Me crying is probably due to how sorry I feel for myself and also to punish me for some other reprehensible thing I’ve done and forgotten about: like calling Husband a big baby whenever he has a sniffle and because all men are babies when it comes to sniffles.
The song is sublime in its consolation. Perfect harmony and words that don’t say it expressly, but uncover all those silly longings we suppress because we are healthy grown-ups and have busy important lives that keep us terminally preoccupied. It is longing for the perfect place of rest to be – where there is a tiny house with a sunny porch behind a garden gate surrounded by flowers that lean over the edge with bees sipping nectar and where no one ever gets sick, or if you do, your mother is there to bring you tea and put her cool hand on your forehead. It is a place made more perfect because we are free from life’s ugly pace and duties that bind us so tight we get to thinking that the universe will collapse without us.
But, now, the song. “Glorious” by MaMuse is melting the protective layers of your giant ego like spring snow. Pay attention, Margie. You live in a very nice house with baby chicks, and a friend who is spreading manure over the garden at this very minute, and a guy who checks on you every once in awhile with ice water. You know, Margie, this life, this place, with it’s unexpected beauties are purposeful little harbingers of grace, reminders that you are a sick-o to think you are left to die alone and even though you are such a pathetic little wretch there could be some justification in leaving you without an ounce of Consolation: here’s this song. Pay attention.
Oh, what a day! Glorious! I’ve got good friends to the left of me and good friends on my right … We’ve been waiting all these days … Prayin’ you would come to quench, every yearnin’ in our bones … Water, life with you begins, Oh what a day! Glorioius!
Coda: Simeon, an old man, a priest, was “waiting for the consolation of Israel,” Luke tells us. When he saw Consolation, how did he know with his old eyes that, among all the Jewish babies being brought to the temple that day, this was The One? The Consolation of Israel. That’s what Simeon called him. He saw, what he’d longed to see all his life. And that was it for Simeon. After that the rest was easy.
Please stay with me a little longer until I kick this ugly virus and the mental illness that accompanies it? Thank you. Really, thank you.