One Ping Only

Little people like you and me, if our prayers are sometimes granted, beyond all hope and probability, had better not draw hasty conclusions to our own advantage.  If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated.  If we were braver, we might be sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle.   CS Lewis

It has been a weekend of reflection and seeking… and of finding.  News from the doctors left me with almost no hope of relief from the pain that has been my constant companion for over three decades now.  There is precious little left in my reserves for mental and emotional renewals.  I find myself (gulp) blaming the God I love and trust.  It is times like this that I find a book that is just right, just now.  That, along with words from the Scriptures, has consoled me, if only a little, and has put me on a better path to finding peace, if relief is not to come.  S. Michael Wilcox, in his book Face to Face, talks of pouring out our hearts to the Heavenly Father who is always there even if we don’t recognize Him.  And of trusting the Savior who understands, even if we don’t see the footprints in the sand.  In my effort to be brave, and resolute…as I tell myself I should NOT complain, I should NOT blame, I should NOT harbor bitterness, I should NOT beg and plead for what I want and think is best…I find that I don’t pour out.   I only pray that I will be purged of those things that I’m sure are so wrong.  But then there was this…a blurb in his book about one of my favorite stories in the New Testament…

“In truth, we are invited to pour out our sorrows.  We find a beautiful example of that inviting in the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  It was Resurrection day and they were confused and troubled by the events of the last few days and hours.  ‘And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him’….Now here is a comforting truth!  Like the two disciples, though our own eyes may be ‘holden’ that we do not understand the Savior’s presence by our side, nevertheless he is there, walking with us, commmuning with us, feeling with us.  He asked them a question he asks of us all when we are filled with sorrow: ‘What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?’….This is the beginning of his invitation to pour out.  They cannot believe he does not know what has happened in Jerusalem and reply, ‘Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?’…Now comes the full invitation for them to empty their sorrows into his empathetic care.  He simply says, ‘What things?’….And they pour out!  For the next six verses they empty their souls.  In similar manner the Savior often comes to us when we are sad, troubled, anxious, or in despair and asks, ‘Why are you sad, and your communications filled with sorrow?’  We might reply, ‘Are you a stranger, Lord?  Don’t you know what is happening?  I’m facing a divorce!’ or ‘My child is straying from the gospel!’ or ‘I want children and can’t have them!’ or ‘I want to be married, but no relationship is promising!’ or ‘I’ve lost my job and don’t know how to take care of my family!’

And so I’ve found myself in this cacophony of complaining, begging, pleading, all the while remembering that it always brings me back to where I am today…a companion to pain.  But.  Sometimes.  When I’m done “pouring out” I am finally still.  And in the still, the Holy Ghost can send the “one ping only” that occasionally I hear.  Occasionally.  If I’m still enough.  The ping that says, “I’m still here.”   A ping.  Ever so quiet.  Ever so subtle.  But there just the same.

 And like the author of this book says,  “I do not believe I could have received those words in a soul still so filled with sadness and need that it could not hear the whispered silent voice of the Spirit.  But in the hollow chamber of a poured-out heart I could catch its echo.”

The empty of the poured out soul is finally ready to be still, exhausted in the pouring out.  Still enough.  For the One Ping Only.  I learned today that just hearing the Ping isn’t enough.  I have to allow myself to let go of the pouring out… after it is over, and the ping comes.  It is after the ping, after the letting go…that I hear the echo.  The echo that says “if you just let Me, I’ll send you the comfort you need, even if it’s not time for the healing yet.”  And then it comes.  The comfort.  However long or short lived it would be this time, it still comes.  And maybe I start over tomorrow.  And maybe I start over next week.  But at least I got the “one ping only” today.

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