“Through love, all pain will turn to medicine.” Rumi
A Word of Hope
In a recent podcast with Kate Bowler, Anne Lamott speaks of her childhood Governess Dread. “Dread wanted me to stay small and do more to help the family feel good about itself. And it wanted me to need less and… to agree not to see what was going on (the alcoholism, abuse, her father’s infidelity and her mother’s self- loathing) because it made the grown ups feel bad about how they were living. And dread wanted me to just really not have any needs and to dance as fast as I could and to help everybody feel very, very good about the choices they were making and to take the leftovers.” Lamott admits that she grew up living the acronym she later learned in recovery: the Frantic Effort to Appear Recovered, pretending she was fine.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
love and mercy found me;
there the bright and morning star
sheds its beams around me. (“Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross”)
That Lamott descended into a life of drugs and alcohol abuse after such a childhood was not surprising. But the rescue when she trembled “near the cross” and her own transformation are extraordinary. “Grace, she says, meets you where you are but doesn’t leave you where it finds you.” The 12 step program to sobriety at 34 was a significant part of her recovery. Her faith journey which took her to a “tiny failing little church” in Marin City where she teaches children that they are loved and chosen and safe in that space is another. Her son and grandson, her closest friends—all saving graces.
If, as Rumi says, “through love all pain turns to medicine,” Anne Lamott is one of our best healers—holy-irreverent, billowing hard-earned wisdom and heart-opening generosity, the embodiment of what a transfusion of Love means.
Each of us lives our own version of this story—of once being lost and now found, of the encounter with Christ, the strong deliverer, who sets us free from whatever enslaves us, of the angels in many forms who hold us up and walk with us through the dark passages toward the light of believing that we are chosen and loved by God.
And then, when it’s time, we take our place beside another pained soul, walking with them toward the light.
God, I give you thanks for the movement of grace in each of our lives—and for those, like Anne Lamott, who tell the old, old story with such power. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon