When We’ve Got Nuthin’

Maybe I’m drained from a series of losses that I didn’t think were going to TheNewNothingimpact my soul, but they totally have.  In the past two weeks

  • TBC graduated from college and has been launched into Adult Working World,
  • A gifted friend has blessedly passed away after a cruel 7-8 years with dementia,
  • Maya Angelou died and I’m grieving the loss of That Voice.  I though it would help to re-read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings but it hasn’t.

I’ve had little to write in these posts.

Occasionally part of my work involves hanging out with pastors through the thick of it and occasionally they say variations of these things:

  • I am toast.
  • I can’t seem to pray.
  • I got nuthin’.

So, on this perfect day that the Creator has made, what have you got for the bleary?  (This is a real question.)

Image from The New Nothing, a collection of images from the Hubble Space Telescope “of star clusters, stripped of the empirical data that renders them remarkable.”

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17 responses to “When We’ve Got Nuthin’

  1. You are a beloved child of God. With you, God is well pleased.

  2. Sometimes when I cannot pray, I find my prayers in the lyrics and melodies of good music. Three songs that are prayerful to me, breaking my heart open right now are:
    Let It Be Me, by Ray Lamontagne
    Cup of Sorrow, by Amos Lee
    Healing Hands, by Citizen Cope

  3. Wendell Berry helps me most on days like this (and oddly it can seem worse on beautiful days when I feel like I should at least be grateful). Here are his words that work for me:
    “It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
    we have come to our real work
    and when we no longer know which way to go,
    we have begun our real journey.

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
    The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

  4. I remind myself that even Christ wandered in the desert.

    I believe these periods of loss and isolation are given to us as personal deserts. Experiences that require us to be still, reflect, and listen for what we are called to do in the next phase–something that we could not have done prior to the loss, isolation and walk through the desert. (For inspiration, I find that re-reading Let Your Life Speak by Palmer helps. I’m also going to check out Wendell Berry.) Caution: beware of the temptations. For me, the temptations are all the little things that keep me too busy to be still; too busy to try and understand what I am to take from this stage and build on in the next; too busy to listen for what “next” is.

  5. The prostitue that I have been walking along side like a frightened dear finally chose to get into treatment for her addiction to OxyContin. She expressed an openness and a desire to tip toe into a spiritual community I recommended that would be good for her soul and her recovery.

  6. I don’t know if it will help, but I’m currently listening to this arrangement. Between dealing with a step-parent dying of aggressive brain cancer two states away, a poisonous work environment, and the stress of every day life, sometimes I just need the music to soothe my soul (link goes to a piano-cello duet of an interwoven arrangement of Vivaldi’s Winter and Disney’s “Frozen” performed by The Piano Guys):

  7. From The Pocket Pema Chodron – “We are told from childhood that something is wrong with us, with the world, and with everything that comes along: it’s not perfect, it has rough edges, it has a bitter taste, it’s too loud, too soft, too wishy-washy. We cultivate a sense of trying to make things better because something is bad here, something is a mistake here, something is a problem here. The main point of the Buddhist teachings is to dissolve the dualistic struggle, our habitual tendency to struggle against what’s happening to us or in us. These teachings instruct us to move toward difficulties rather than backing away. We don’t get this kind of encouragement very often. Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as a means for waking up. We can use everything that occurs — whether it’s our conflicting emotions and thoughts or our seemingly outer situation — to show us where we are asleep and how we can wake up completely, utterly, without reservations”. I’m not Buddhist but I find nuggets of help and wisdom from this Buddhist nun.

  8. I have the remnants of last night’s public conversation with three pastors from my church and about 20 members from one of our satellite campuses. We discussed questions – REAL questions – about doubting God and faith and the pain the church has caused and how to love all people and what, really, does the Bible say about women? and about homosexuality? and do I have to believe in the Trinity to be Christian? In that meandering through the gray, embracing the tension and making space for all questions, I felt my church becoming the Safe Place that I think Jesus always wants us to be. I have hope; I feel as though we are dangling in outer space sometimes, but I have hope. I sense the cupped hands of the Creator underneath it all.

  9. Hi, old friend….in the midst of the emptiness and the transitions that are odd blessings for the pain and joy of them, in the wondering where the fullness went, or the passion, maybe all we can assure each other is that we are not alone, We pray there is some comfort in that, until the Presence yearned for most of all comes again.

  10. I got a hug. For you. For all. Peace.

  11. It’s old. It’s cliche. But it’s true.
    God loves you. And so do I.

  12. I have 3 sermons from 3 high school seniors who say I know God better (or at all) because this community loves me. –Wendy

  13. Leslianne Braunstein

    I say lean into it and let the rest of us pray for you (including saying the prayers of Jan) for a while. You are in the light.

  14. you are enough. (and so am i……even when it feels like i got/am nothin’)

  15. http://youtu.be/F2CSxh749Bs – I love this anthem. reminds me to keep it all in perspective – to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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