Getting real; staying clear

“There is Hope”

There is hope” were the first, and only words spoken by my former Pastor and Spiritual Mentor Kal, in two years. Alzheimer‘s had rendered him speechless, and in a Veteran’s facility. When I learned of his death this week, I was speechless too. He changed  my life for a time, taught me about Grace, inspired me with his sermons, and spent his entire adult life serving vulnerable populations. He opened me to my vulnerability when I was 14, because he was the first adult man who I felt really safe with. He asked me how I felt one day and I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what feelings were, and didn’t have a language that included them. But, I felt something open in me, like I could finally breathe. Then, he did something else revolutionary. He asked me an amazing question,

“If you could have anything MaryAnn, what would it be?”

I said,

“Peace of Mind.”

My response still haunts me;  I was so young to feel alone and tormented by thinking. Memories of Pastor Kal rippled through me this week and I cried many unexpected tears. I hadn’t spoken with him in over 20 years. I was speechless about why I had such a deep emotional reaction. Sue, my beautiful sister,called to tell me about the funeral; the stories, those who we knew in attendance, and the hymns he had chosen. I relived a time in my life as she spoke, like I was there too. Then, she told me that he spoke the words, “There is hope”, to his daughters, the week before he died, even though he hadn’t been able to speak for two years.

That just hit me so beautifully. A man who spent his entire adult life serving God and others, was still talking about hope, like he needed it himself, and like a last sermon. Hope changes everything, I know. It changed me.

I was hopeless once too, and work with many people who are. I get tripped up knowing what to say to them. I didn’t realize it until this week, that I’ve done for them, what Kal did for me years ago. I offer a safe place for them to feel what they feel, and direct them to the hope of something more, that they really want. But, they have to open to it, and accept that reality. I didn’t for many years after my time with Kal. In fact, I started down a very painful and destructive path of avoiding emotional intimacy. Maybe that’s why I was crying; for all the time I spent avoiding the very thing that would have healed me. Despair almost did me in, because I let it. I didn’t know there was another, more beautiful way to live. The pain was so intense, but it had become familiar so I stopped hoping for something better. I lived in this dangerous place, until I had the guts to get help, let go of my destructive behaviors, and the humility to let people help me.

I felt hope from a kind person that offered me a ride to get help. Back then, I wasn’t sure that God was real, but taking that ride; being open to help and risking that I might not get it, gave me proof that I am never helpless because I am never alone. I had begun a process that would lead to a relationship with God, because I was training myself to let go of everything I was afraid to lose.

So are some other lovely people this week that are hoping for a miracle. Austin, a 38- day old boy, is clinging to life by a thread. It’s been such a Grace to share in prayer for this family, and precious little being, as they endure the ordeal, and the unthinkable. Honestly, I don’t know how they are doing it. But, here is what my friend said this morning, after my last post. Speechless was the theme of my week,

  • Mary Ann Fry I really feel speechless, and am so very sorry. There is rest in God, may you all feel that. I am praying.
  • (name omitted)

     Thanks for sharing the journey with all of us, the whole family, I’m grateful for the company. There is nothing that any one of us can say, resting in God and praying is all we can do. Existence, this life & even our eternal spiritual life are all a great mystery.Austin has done something miraculous, he has brought a lot people together in prayer, caring, and compassion. He has opened us up to that mystery, that part of life that affirms both our fragile humanity and that which is beyond our human selves, so intimately interconnected with one another as we are.InterBeing, as Thich Nhat Hanh describes it in Buddhist terms. In Christian terms, I would called it Indwelling, Perichoresis, the Indwelling of the Spirit that connections us all, binds us toghether. I reminds me of that wonderful hymn, Blest Be the Tie that Binds.


    Opening to the mystery. That is the promise realized with hope. I thank these beautiful people in my life for reminding me why I stayed alive when I didn’t think I could make it one more minute, years ago. Life is beautiful, despite the pain of loss.
    Here’s a link to a beautiful piece about what it felt like for me this week. “Field of Innocence”, by Evanescence.

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