I'm in the final week of training at the Allender Center for Narrative Focused Trauma Care. It is not ending the way it was supposed to--with us gathered together in person--because of the disruption and shutting down of our town, state, country and world due to the Coronavirus. Instead, over 100 participants and facilitators are meeting virtually thanks to the wonders of technology. But of course it is not the same... And yet I am grateful to be "seeing" each of the members in my small group that have made this journey with me and for me.
Endings are hard.
Dan Allender would say, "We are not meant to end." This is especially so when we've experienced the goodness of God in the land of the living. Ultimately we all knew this day would come when we signed up for this 9 month training and yet as the day approaches for our final goodbyes (less than 48 hours from now) my sadness deepens.
There's a saying that goodbyes are bitter sweet and I feel that right now. Bitter that our goodbye has come at last, angry that we don't get to see each other one final time to give hugs and make eye contact, and deeply grieved at the loss of this incredible community. The sweetness is that I am exceedingly grateful for the time we've had together; it has been profound, transformative and life giving. There has been tremendous goodness: being cared for and tended to in the places of harm and shame have brought healing. I am more of the person I am meant to become as a result of their kind eyes, their listening ears and their deep generous hearts.
The final project for our training was to create an artifact of who I am becoming and how I am distinctly called to live out bringing God's glory to those around me. My artifact is a 28" x 40" reclaimed window frame with nine images inside:
I intentionally left the window pane as it is; there is beauty and story in every mark, every bit of chipped paint, every crack in the glass. I wanted it to be an homage to the stained glass one would find in a church; sacred, holy, full of light and color. The images represent who I am and how I am might to bring myself to the world around me: With courage, vulnerable strength and playfulness. Trauma brings fragmentation, but even if the whole picture is not present you can get a sense of the kind of image it bears. My name "Maggie" means pearl. A pearl has great value and beauty. Red for righteous anger. Purple for grief. Blue for Lament. Jesus' death - there can be no hope of resurrection without the agony of death. Words, the medium of my priesthood [See Isaiah 61:1-3]. The holding of both beauty and brokenness together. What we are made for is "Honor and Glory" [Psalm 8:5]. Being someone who makes meaning: a candle for God's presence with us [Exodus 13:21], the plant to remind us that relationships require tending [John 15], and an icon for us to remember [1 Corinthians 11:23-26].
This is who I am. This and so much more. More stories. More faith. More hope. More love.
This is who I want to become; someone who can hold both beauty and brokenness, death and resurrection. To reflect the glory of God. To bring heaven on earth. To see the goodness of God in the land of living. To call for justice. To set the captives free. To mourn with those who mourn. To rejoice with those who rejoice. To bring beauty for ashes, joy for pain. To make meaning and mark movement. To build Ebenezers.
To bring restoration, reconciliation and redemption.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
May it be so.
#allendercenter #narrativefocusedtraumacare #endings #goodbyes #covid19 #coronavirus #disruption #tension #technology #zoom #transformation #womenwholead #womenwhopreach #preachersinsneakers #heavencomedown #moderndaypriesthood #beautyandbrokenness #deathandresurrection #ebenezers #meaningmaking #restoration #reconcilliation #redemption #faithhopelove