My storm has passed

by Elouise

P1080949

My storm has passed
Vision returns
Uncontaminated by rage
Against what I cannot change
Lament descends

A comforting quilt
Enfolds my aching body
With sweet solemn sorrow
For what might have been
Now a mere shadow
In this dying day

***

About a year ago I heard a public radio interview with Vicki Yohe, songwriter and performer. I’d never heard of her. The interview was about her background and the way it influences her singing style and her music.

The interviewer played a short clip of “I’m at Peace.” I’d never heard it before. The point of her song is simple: “My storm has moved away.” I wept when she sang those words.

This is what I wanted for myself. Even though I’d seen great progress over the years, I couldn’t say with certainty that my storm had moved away.

This song came to mind yesterday and became the poem you see above. It may sound like a downer, but it isn’t.

To be at peace means I’m not itching to go back and relive or even rebuild a life I never had. In fact, I like who I am today. I’m not a newborn babe; I’m a weathered survivor.

I’m also in lament mode. Ready to stand beside and with my experience, emotions and thoughts, wrapping myself in a quilt of sweet solemn sorrow. Yes, this happened. No, I can’t change it. No, I can’t just move on. Not without honoring my experience.

Two days ago I read an article by a philosopher/seminary professor. In moving words, he laments as he witnesses his wife’s deteriorating health with no hope of things getting better.

He doesn’t sound despairing or bitter. He sounds grounded as he describes living in lament mode for years. Yes, it included rage. His wife was and is still descending into her own dark place. Yet rage isn’t the major key of his lament.

During her protracted illness he rediscovered and now lives in Ecclesiastes, the only book in Scripture with which he can identify at this time. He now incorporates his journey of lament into his seminary teaching and relationships with his students. This is life. Or, as Ecclesiastes puts it, ‘life under the sun’ with its heartaches and passing joys.

For me, this is peace. Acceptance. Not with my head alone, but with my heart and my whole being. Standing beside and with what I cannot change, finding within that framework clues and courage to change what I can in these dying, peace-filled days of my life.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 November 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, September 2015
On the highway beside Loch Ness in Glen Mor, Scotland