“What are You seeing that I’m missing? What takes You from, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ to ‘Praise the LORD…’?” My voice was a soft whisper in the still church. The 3 o’clock Good Friday service was over but the building remained open. Though I was alone for the moment, Kyra or someone else might come in. Please, let them stay away, I prayed silently. I need to understand.
I slid from my seat into the kneeler, propped my prayerbook under my elbows, and rested my face on my hands. Gradually, my shoulders relaxed. I let my eyes find the troubling words.
Praise the LORD, you that fear him;
stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;
all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.
For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them;
but when they cry to him he hears them. (Psalm 22:22-23)
“He does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty,” I whispered aloud.
“Oh! Oh!” My eyes opened wide. A ray of light pierced the smoke darkened colours of the stained glass window, “You don’t despise or abhor the poor in their poverty?” Tears washed gently down my face. I let them fall. “But everyone else does.”
The volume of my voice increased slightly. My words spilled out quickly, “I’ve lost everyone who loved me, lost everything, even my identity. I can’t point back to anyone and say, I came from that person. Papa’s legs are gone. I can’t lean against them so the world knows I belong to him. I don’t belong to anyone. I haven’t belonged to anyone since I was four and a half. How could I be poorer? The people who survive are impoverished, we’re left with no one.
“No one really knows me. No one really loves me. They admire me or think I’m weird. But I have to keep everything that is me hidden away just as I tried to do with Cade. It’s easier now. They’re not around all the time. But I’ll be alone for Easter dinner. The Sunday after, they’ll say, ‘You had a good Easter?!’ The only acceptable answer is, ‘Yes.'” The corners of my lips turned up in a rueful smile. My nose had become too stuffy to breathe. The air pulled through through my mouth made a grumbling wheeze. I sat back in the pew and breathed slowly until the wheezing diminished.
“Does this mean You don’t abhor me in my poverty but when I cry out to You, You hear me?” The air was pregnant with a rich silence. The hand that had stroked my back when as a child I had had such difficulty sleeping, now stoked a warm fuzziness through my torso. “Have You been hearing me all along?” I listened to the intense silence. “You have. When nobody else hears me, You hear me.” I finally fumbled in my bag for a tissue, wiped the tears away and blew my nose.
“Why did I not see?” My forehead rumpled. I let out a long sigh. “I know why. I’ve expected people to see my poverty and help me.” I quickly reminded my Friend, “You do work through people. But I guess, I’ve been expecting You to work through people who aren’t open to hearing me, seeing me. They’re nice. I really like them, even love them. But we don’t know each other.” I sighed again, “Still, even though these people don’t hear or see, You do. Even if they think I’m weird, You don’t.”
My forehead rumpled again, “I guess the problem is that I get my identity from You. That’s probably why I’m weird. They’re seeing someone whose identity comes from an unexpected place. I guess I’m Yours.” I looked up, a little smile on my face, “You’re stuck with me. But I don’t really know what to do with that.”