I wondered for a while, why, when I was trying so hard to walk with Him, to truly do His will for myself and two children in that housing project, He allowed me to linger in a cesspool of loose women once of Rock-old faith who, among other insults to all humanity went after Him, too, who with a narrowing of eyes, wondered aloud if He ever acted on His temptations. I answered whatever I could and I prayed for them, but it cut me straight across something vital. I bled. I wish I could’ve gotten angry instead. At someone. Anyone. That sort of angerless bleeding hurts.
I wondered, as I lived each day in mostly human loss and withstood each night in human fear, too alone, and too poor to break us out for years, why. He was not revengeful, so perhaps it was the right penance that I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to make. It was knocking my legs out from under me in every sphere. Dear God, everything of my human life — anything that I might’ve done or wanted to do or needed to do, even for my children — had become so minimal.
I wondered as I pored over Scripture and Jesuits each knock-fearing night for so long, if maybe that Spanish Teresa had been right — if this was how He treated His friends, no wonder He had so few. I wondered also why, in the midst of it all so seemingly endless, I felt a hope like having overheard a Conversation about me, of love, which allowed me to wait. As if something good was coming from all this — very, very surely that. As if something wonderful was being prepared. I laid my head against the wall that bore the Vilnius-like portrait, and breathed in, and out, hanging on. Sometimes wordlessly. What was there to say?
And years after He set me with a good man whom I had not sought (my future had entirely been given up to Him, whether it be the career which would stem from this sudden college..and perhaps being alone through life, or be it life with some good man, good enough for kids), in a lovely public wedding after the dispensation had come through, and with a better domain — one of our own — and with other children, a pool, a dog with papers, every sort of opportunity of schooling and arts and social arts for all four kids, all securities for all these decades (the length of His human life!), I realized what my (now) little trials had been about.
The Man of Sorrows Who’d had nowhere to lay His head, had let me taste His camp, His loneliness, His fear, His nausea, His desire to redeem.. to ransom the captive. Despite the good care He’d received for 30 years, He’d never really had anywhere to lay His head in this world. He would not have that until He redeemed all the resting places, on earth and under the earth. Until then, He had submerged Himself in this often cesspool with cesspool fruits, because of Love, and He had let me spend the briefest evening with His inner agonies of the ruination of His Father’s beloved people. Love hurts? Love can annihilate! Love consumes all but the seeds. Yet, it wins, in the end. It drags us up, in the end, that we will have Somewhere to lay our heads — and even now, should we find little or no purchase here.
To pay it forward as best we can is the first and last requirement of love.