Good morning from Kraków,
There is being able to define the word catharsis, and then there is understanding the reality of that word. Little did I know that my writing earlier this week would illicit such a response, either from myself or the dozens of you who have reached out in a spirit of support, compassion, and friendship, to the words I felt compelled to write from the deep-seated pain that has been such a part of my life. I could not, in my wildest dreams anticipate that so many would remind me of how blessed I have been, and am, to have met so many so many astounding and good people in my 60+ years of life. One of you referred to my story as sacred. Thank you! Another seminary classmate, presently traveling, wrote an extensive comment on the blog site itself. I was moved to tears as I read it, and I still am. Others from almost every time period of reached out, some willing to protect me, asking if someone needed an ass kicking, and others stunning and humbling me with their words of support. To each of you – thank you is all I have, but it seems woefully inadequate.
Life has a way of equalizing is. In our frail humanness, we are a dichotomous, simple, but complex, compilation of experiences and reactions. Often, just when we believe we have moved beyond that which vexes us, the inevitable smack of reality reminds us that it is all in there somewhere. As I noted, I have spent a lifetime managing the struggle of my past, refusing to wallow in some fatalistic life-long lament, and yet the lament of the Psalmists seem to found a place in that particular blog. Perhaps it is appropriate that the two most emotionally profound responses came from seminary classmates. Perhaps there is appropriateness in the fact that another profoundly helpful comment was from a college classmate who is a professional psychologist/psychiatrist. Again that is not to say that each and every comment you took the time to write did not profoundly touch my heart and my emotions. Each of you play a part in my life’s tapestry which is unique, and therefore each of you add a significant piece to what has been a most blessed 24 hours.
One of the characteristics of the lament is to move from mourning and despair to praise for being delivers from the depths and the pain of those depths. Undoubtedly, all of the words, emotion behind those words and the unparalleled gift provided through both has moved me to give thanks for each of you. Seldom, if ever in my entire life, have I been given such astonishing care. In a time when it seems we hear such negativity through the world in which we live, your care was like a beacon that cut through the fog of hurt that enveloped me. Your care provided a gift allowing me to see that continuing on with my life is a gift in and of itself. Indeed, Tuesday was a day that shook me to the core of my being.
I am particularly grateful to the grandmother – yes, the one who was both my parent as a young child, who struggled with her own guilt because she would give us up, but ultimately taught about unconditional love through her living example. I am grateful to an adopting father, about whom I now believe struggled also in desperately wanting a family in the baby-boomer era, when he perhaps knew this was a singular desire in the Martin household. Perhaps my mother knew she was not capable of being a mother, but was not given a choice. I know that is trying to bail her, but I am not angry at her regardless how terrible things were. I think what it so painfully clear is the consequence of what we do is never fully realized as it happens. It has the potential to change the course of someone’s life.
And yet, I give thanks for this life, a life that so many have reminded me has somehow made a difference in the lives of others, and is still allowed to do so. From a 17 ounce premature birth to three homes by the age of 5, I was still given opportunities not every person has. Lest you think nothing positive happened in my childhood let me assure you that is not the case. I struggled with things, but that little area of Riverside had amazing salt-of-the-earth people who still grace my life today. From Dana College to Luther Seminary and Michigan Tech, I still am humbled by my colleagues and classmates at every level and for their presence in my life. Though the road was neither simple nor straight, I still have been able to move forward in a calling that prepares others to live more fulfilling and successful lives. Sometimes neither they nor I see it in the midst of midterms or final papers, but names like Becca, Cassey, Shiama, Shyer, Amanda, Michele, Melissa, Christopher, Jordan, or Ashley remind me that somehow what happened in Harvey Hall or Bakeless, Stub, or Burntvedt made a difference. People, ones who cared for people I loved, ended up somehow loving me too. That is the gift of relationships and what giving does. I have been blessed and given a renewed strength by the kindness shown. Thank you for listening to me, reading and asking about me. Thank you for rearranging your schedules and checking on things that contributed to my dark day. Thank you for watering, weeding and picture sending. To each of you, I am overwhelmed and beyond grateful.
Thank you for reading as always.