“We live the given life, and not the planned.” Wendell Berry

This did not go at all as planned, if I ever had a plan.  It had something to do with impressing everybody, but doing it without appearing to, effortlessly, the way I tell jokes,without smiling, looking away afterwards, leaving people to laugh or not, too cool to acknowledge my own cleverness.

But I was broken out of my intellect, my intention, my talent by the brokenness of my body, and though I wanted to relate to Christ in his witty reparte, his compassion, his healing, I now relate most to his twisted form on the cross, eyes shut in pain, not yet dead, not yet ressurrected, not yet ascended.  My Lord, the suffering, naked, four inch plastic form on the eight inch wooden cross.

I am not making a theology out of this.  Far be it from me.  I am telling you what I do not know, not what I know.   I am in pain all the time.  I am dizzy, nauseaus, exhausted, and this is before the side effects from the medications kick in.

Jesus’ features are not twisted in agony.  If you didn’t know better you might almost think he looked peaceful.  But I think that I recognize the movement inward that a long-suffering spirit makes.  It is close to meditation.  You have less to do with the world, with what is going on around you.  Physical and emotional sensation takes over and then, somehow, you sink below that, to a place deeper than that.

The contemplatives teach that at our very center the Spirit is constantly praying; that our act of prayer consists of joining in awareness with that ongoing prayer.   This is the only kind of prayer I can hope for, now.

I place a finger on each nail and press the wooden cross to my heart, the broken body of Christ against my own.


One comment on ““We live the given life, and not the planned.” Wendell Berry

  1. Tom says:

    Jess, that’s really, really good stuff. There are moments, when the crucifix is actually comforting. A special communion with our Lord is met there on the cross, with Him.


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