Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"...a bow of promise on the cloud..."

"Little darlin'
It's been a long, cold, lonely winter.
Little darlin'
It seems like years since it's been here.
Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
and I say,
It's al right...."

- George Harrison

Since there is not (at least not one that I could find) a recorded version of my first choice song for this post, "Love," by Mary Baker Eddy,  I am going to lead with this hauntingly lovely James Taylor and Yo Yo Ma version of "Here comes the Sun," written by The Beatles' brilliant George Harrison.  But the story is still the same. 

It was almost twenty years ago, but I can still feel that sudden shift, a recalibration in the weight of my mental "air," whenever I think about that Sunday morning service in Valerie Lodge.  I'd been in my cabin all night wrestling with demons...and angels. I'd gotten a phone call, in the middle of the night, that threatened to take me so far down into a chasm of depression, that I wasn't sure I'd be able continue my work at camp that summer.  My heart was in shreds, and I could barely breathe.  I'd been caught in the middle of an emotional battleground all night.  One minute the angels of Love and peace were winning...and the next minute I'd become a ricocheting crossfire of anger, hurt, and regret. 

If you were to have painted a picture of my mental sky, it would have been as grey as slate, and as black as a battalion of thunderheads creeping over the western slopes of the Collegiate Peaks, on a late summer afternoon. 

I wasn't surprised the next morning, when I finally did leave my cabin, that it was actually overcast, and that heavy raindrops were beginning to splatter...darkening the pale, sun-bleached cedar decking that apron-ed Valerie Lodge.  I'd already missed breakfast, but I couldn't miss Sunday School. 

We gathered in the Lodge, while one of the campers played a prelude, and we moved chairs from the dining room, passed out hymnals, and got everyone settled.  The Sunday School superintendent announced that we'd be singing Mary Baker Eddy's poem, titled, "Love."  It barely registered on the landscape of my dark thoughts.  Then she read the poem, the pianist played through the melody, and then we stood to sing. 

I did not feel like singing.  I was not at peace.  I was in pain.  I hoped that I could get by with just listening to the rest of the congregation sing.  I thought that, perhaps, I could find some comfort in the sound of their voices.  And so,  while quietly wiping at my tears, and...hopefully...without notice, I stood in a cocoon of mixed sorrow and hope.  But, before long, I found myself singing along as if each word were the sacred building blocks of a prayer.   And, not surprisingly, I was finding comfort...and hope. 

But it wasn't the comfort I found in its words that shook me to my core, it was the promise, the hope that I found in this line:

'Twas Love whose finger traced aloud
a bow of promise on the cloud..."

Love wasn't going to paint a rainbow of promise on a clear, cloudless blue sky...but on a cloud.  Love was going to use my cloudy moments as a canvas for painting a promise...full of color, dimension, beauty.  I could count on it.  Without the cloud, love wouldn't have the droplets of bounce and refract light off of.

My tears were going to color my life with beauty and texture.   I could count on it.

And, it wasn't just the words from the poem that gave me strength, but it was the poet herself.  Mary Baker Eddy had lived through so many days that were heavy with clouds of darkness and despair.  She had borne sorrow, rejection, disdain, and regret with grace.  She had suffered and survived, hoped and persevered, wept, worked, watched, and prayed.

If anyone knew how to navigate a personal storm, it was Mary Baker Eddy.  If anyone had the "street cred" necessary to inspire, encourage, and "call forth" the kind of inner resolve that, alone, could weather the seething sea of human crisis, it was Mary Baker Eddy. 

And I trusted her.  I trusted her honesty.  I knew that her poetry was wept with the purity of the Magdalene's tears, and written with meekness of the our Master's courage.

For almost two decades now, this simple statement:

'Twas Love whose finger traced aloud,
a bow of promise on the cloud..."

has given me a lens through which my darkest days have portended the greatest opportunity for Love's light to shine through my heart and become a multi-hued rainbow of promise. 

I did not leave camp early that summer.  Instead I discovered how beautiful life can be when love passes through the prism of our tears and paints the world with light, and color, and grace.

I hope that if you are feeling the lowering of clouds, you can find promise in Eddy's words.  Words she poured out in tears, to give each of us fresh hope.

with Love,

Kate Robertson, CS

Here is the link, for those of  you who might prefer the more classic Beatles version of "Here Comes the Sun."

And for a rare performance by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and Phil Collins here is another version of "
Here Comes the Sun." 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:05 PM

    I was just re-reading this blog today and the ideas you shared filled me with hope and inspiration. Knowing you have found freedom from many of the very same struggles and suggestions I am working through gives so much hope and faith. This blog truly does make me feel as if "I am not alone.." Thank you so much for sharing. ♥♥