Wednesday, January 20, 2010


My last weekend home was intense.

Images of the suffering in Haiti haunted me day and night, impairing sleep.

On Saturday morning, we attended the funeral of a young man whose hidden despair had caused him to end his brilliant life. That night, we went back to the same church, the church of my childhood, for the beautiful wedding of a bride of the same age. Life and Death juxtaposed in sharp outline. Joy and Grief. Celebration and Mourning.

The last wedding I had attended in that church was Katherine’s. My husband and I were married there almost 33 years ago.

In between the two events, I went to the annual gathering of some friends I’ve had for (literally) 50 years.

Emotional overload.

The torrential downpour that raged on unabated throughout the day added atmospheric intensity to that of the internal.

Exhausted, I fell asleep that night anticipating the peace that would surely envelop me like a warm cocoon the next morning at the sweet little church we currently attend.

Three minutes into the sermon, a man collapsed in the aisle. With racing hearts, the congregation quietly cried and prayed as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. As the EMT’s lifted the man up, I allowed myself for the first time to picture the scene of my own child on a stretcher.

(Thank you, God, for EMT’s.)

The pastor came up to me afterwards and told me he was sorry we didn’t get to hear the sermon, as he had spoken of Katherine in it. I was sorry, too.

That afternoon, I was frazzled as I packed. Too many last-minute things to do, not enough time or energy left for it. Sooooo many plans and projects left undone. Revelations over the weekend had given me fresh fodder for worry. Thoughts of what I would face back in LA gave me sick butterflies in my stomach.

We had to get up at 5:00 to make the flight. I felt raw and edgy.

I brought the weather west with me. The plane landed in a monsoon. It’s supposed to continue at least all week. Welcome back to sunny LA.

Unpacking, I discovered that I’ve forgotten one of the only indispensable items: euphemistically referred to as my “sleep aid.”

The Sleep Monster and I spent the night wrestling. He won battles at 1:00, 2:30, 3:15. When my Iphone illuminated 4-something, I tried some contemplative prayer.

Still no peace. Squirrels in the head competed with the loud aches and pains crying out for attention.

I have so many things to worry about that I’m worried I’ll forget some of them if I don’t keep worrying.

I prayed again:

Okay, so here I am, Lord, at 5-something in the morning. I feel like I’ve been run over by a Mac truck. Everything’s chaos. There are so many people I am desperately concerned about. My heart is heavy and flitting around at the same time. So many unknowns, uncertainties. So many things to fear. So much pain. And I brought the crappy weather with me. You know how I hate this kind of weather. I feel like I’m in Narnia, where it’s always winter and never Christmas.

I get nothing.

I open the drawer of the bedside table and rumble around for some nose spray. Instead, I find a book I’ve been searching for months, one I feared left behind in a seat pocket on a plane. It was given to me by a friend who has an eerie ability to say exactly what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it. Like she’s got a private line upstairs.

It is The Furious Longing of God, by one of my favorite saved sinners, Brennan Manning.

In the first chapter, I read:

I believe that Christianity happens when men and women experience the reckless, raging confidence that comes from knowing the God of Jesus Christ…

The shattering truth of the transcendent God seeking intimacy with us is not well-served by gauzy sentimentality, schmalz, or a naked appeal to emotion, but rather in the boiling bouillabaisse of shock bordering on disbelief, wonder akin to incredulity, and affectionate awe tinged by doubt… The furious longing of God is beyond our wildest desires, our hope or hopelessness, our rectitude or wickedness, neither cornered by sweet talk nor gentle persuasion… I am witness to the truth that Abba still whispers:

“Come, then, my beloved, my lovely one, come

For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.

Flowers are appearing on the earth. The season of glad songs has come,

The cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree is forming it’s first figs and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.

Come, then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.”

(Song of Songs 2:10-13, njb)

Putting the book down, I try to pray again: Say something to me, God. Calm me down. Tell me everything’s gonna be okay.

Nothing but silence.

I drag myself up and fix coffee. Since I’m already feeling jagged and jittery, might as well intensify the feeling so it’ll burn itself out.

Get back in bed with my coffee and start writing this, not knowing where it’s going, what the point is.

And I hear…


Smack dab in the middle of urban Los Angeles, a block and a half from the skyscrapers on Wilshire Boulevard, in the still moments just before dawn…a turtledove coos it’s lovely love song three times.

I am my Beloved’s, and He is mine.

That’s all that matters.


(For any ornithologsts out there, what I heard was most likely a North American mourning dove, also known as a Western or Carolina Turtledove.)


  1. Everything is going to be alright. You aren't alone. And all the moving and chaos caused by moving will soon subside.

    Much love, Desiree

  2. A nobody from the great blogosphere, here. Although I may have been the one who wrote about toe picking. ( ha ha ).

    I loved this post, I am so glad you are writing. You always have rich and beautiful things to say. I will gladly blog hop around with you until you settle wherever it is you are feeling best.

    I hope you can rest soon. Gladly, today isn't every day.

    Lord bless you.


  3. I, too, worry about forgetting what I need to worry about. Oh, and the insomnia...well it helps with the worry!
    As my awesome says, "I never worry, you do that for the both of us!" Ha.

    Glad you found a "meantime", glad I found it!

    Blessings to you, Kim.
    xo, misha

  4. Oh Kim! Thank goodness you have not gone away!
    Your writings are so rich and honest! I
    treasure them. In the meantime, I will pray for
    rest for you. Sleep tight!


  5. Yeah! Don't stop writing - I've got this page saved now :-) I'll remind you later about the cool blog-maker, Janisa, I told you about...

    It has to be alittle strange still to get messages from people you don't know...especially when we feel like we know you from your writings but you have nothing to read from us...if you'd like to know me alittle, here's my blog:
    just so you wont feel it so very weird that someone you know nothing about leaves comments to you and reads your writings :-) Please excuse the fact that my last post was in August and my background is Christmas ornaments. I love to write, but for some reason take so little time to do it...

    Still praying for your dear Katherine.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  6. Welcome back, dear Friend. That's what I say to you (because you have returned in another blog), and that's what I often say to the Sweet Holy Spirit when He comes. He comes and goes as He pleases, and aren't we glad for His long-awaited and unexpected pleasures--a turtledove, of all things. A slight whisper in the heart, letting us know that He hears and He is able. . . to calm and relieve. Thanks, Kim, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

  7. Oh, Kim, you did not need your computer coach, you did a wonderful job with this blog. The day after the wedding, I thought, 'if Katherine has the courage to walk up the steps in the church to the podium, and speak of her love for Christ in spite of her injuries, then I can get over myself enough to help her mother with the computer.' But you don't need me, and that is from God, so you can say what we need to hear.

    One thing I know is that God is with you, even when you don't feel Him. As a fellow night-time clock watcher, I've learned to not pray for sleep, but to pray for His presence. Then I fall rude is that!

  8. That passage from The Furious Longing of God reminds me so much of Flannery O'Connor...particularly Parker's Back. I believe in that concept, that salvation is not always the gentle notion we impose on it.

    It reminds me of the Star of David. I read or heard somewhere that the two triangles that make up the star represent man and God. The bottom triangle is man reaching for God and the top is God reaching for man. Where they intersect is the joining of the two and forms a star. The gravity of God pulls us together in an inexorable way, making something beautiful.

    As for the worries, I can't offer anything but companionship. You can't not worry. Even Jesus was scared sometimes. It's also the unrecognized flip side of hope. With no hope for an outcome or victory, there isn't much to worry about. So hopeful people worry, hopeless people despair. Neither is pleasant but between the two I'll take worry.

  9. Excited about the new blog. Still occasionally looking at the earlier one. Your gift for writing encourages and challenges me. Loved seeing you during the holidays and think and pray for you often. Maybe you are on a plane right not about to take off and getting centered can be hard to do. But, you can do it. He and love for others is your motivation.

  10. Kim-

    Glad to be able to continue to follow the blogging. You are a treasure.

    Patti McWhorter
    (in rainy Athens)

  11. Hey Kim,
    I always read everything you write, but just now learned how to comment back. You know how old I am! Remember the age of your readers before you feel ignored. Hope to see you soon!
    Love always, Dru.



Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

It helps to know we're not alone.