‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slings and Arrows

I've been consciously avoiding posting today. Not because there is a lack of things to talk about, but because I'm scared. Months ago a fellow blogger posted a long piece on how she hated when people blogged about their sadness, especially in regards to the state of things in this world. She was angry that people wrote about the sadness that levelled their hearts, concerning things like 'the orphan crisis' or similar suffering. It was a very cutting piece and she posted it several hours after I had shared one of those very types of posts she so condemned. So I took it personally and have avoided writing anything too depressing since then. I felt singled out and shamed, even if she wasn't talking to me.
Mother & son begging today, at Resurrection Gate.

But all day I've had this darkness weighing heavily on my heart, and I've carried it as bravely as I could and tried to pray it away, then ignore it, then fight it, and now I see how foolish it is to pretend it's not there for fear of offending someone. Sometimes sharing our pain is called for. 

I come from a family that usually hides its pain and sees open expression of it as weakness. I just don't agree.
Friends, sometimes I am very, very sad. So sad it feels like physical pain. You could all give me your arm-chair diagnosis, but I know what it is. You can tell me it's the weather or it's stress or it's the sum total of my emotional history. You might suggest it's unresolved grief or unexpressed anger. All those things I have experienced in my life. 

But this sadness comes from being open to the world. 

It comes from seeing and hearing a great many terrible and awful truths that I wish didn't exist in this world, but do. 

I may be naive -- I don't understand how anyone can live their life without believing there is Someone there to catch them. I don't get most of my friends, who seem to know the answer to life's secret and breeze along like they live in some version of a 'life is sooo good' sitcom. I don't get the focus on material things or constant pleasure-seeking or the need to have the next best anything -- even if that 'thing' is an experience. I don't get the day in and day out focus on 'me me me' and 'fun fun fun'....and the worst part is, I get punished for it.  I feel like an outsider almost all the time, even in my own family, and I grieve the loss in a way I cannot possibly put into words. I grieve the loss of connection with so very many people, just because I think I don't fit in their world view.

I feel so very alone in this world sometimes. I feel abandoned by others I love, feel like I'm not 'good enough' or 'fun enough' or 'laidback enough' . I have had plenty of people in my life tell me directly or indirectly that I'm 'too intense' or 'too dramatic' that I should 'relax' and 'calm down'. They tell me I 'think too much' or I'm a 'downer' because I point out dark things I see. But this is the way God made me. 

I wish you could just accept me as I am.

I'm so glad I have God to turn to. I'm glad I can turn to Him when the world feels heavy and when friends and family ignore, or show painful indifference. I'm glad there is Someone who loves me 'as is' and does not ignore me because I dont have a smile painted on my face most of the time. I'm glad my God loves me the way I should be loved -- unconditionally, infinitely, and forever.

So tonight, while everyone sleeps, and after a very full and remarkable day here in Russia, I am sad. Very, very sad, and I choose always to lay that sorrow in God's lap. He helps me carry it and He instructs me with it. He doesn't always remove it, but He often gives me the wisdom to know that it is going to be ok. People are flawed. People let you down. People can hurt you horribly without even intending it. But God supercedes all of that. He sees us for who we are and loves us just the same. 

If only those we love could do the same.

God asked me to pray for her today.


  1. Love, from someone who is also not "laid back enough" and "too dramatic."

  2. Keri, I'm sorry your friends in real life sometimes have let you down. You have been a friend to many who were really in need of one. I have learned so much from your pain and grief- how you rely on God, how you take on the pain of others, how you take action to really change things... You are a modern day mystic who seems so clearly focused on doing God's will. I can really relate to your goals, and hope to someday accomplish a little fraction of what you have been able to do.

    Sometimes people on the web say stupid and hurtful things.

    I consider you a personal inspiration in my life- although I follow several blogs, yours is my favorite. I check it every day, though I rarely comment- I hope you'll feel support from your internet friends from all over the world. Thank you for inspiring us all.

  3. I could have written this post (except I've never been to Russia). I remember once on a school trip to China being approached by an old woman begging for money. No one except me recognized what she was doing. I don't remember if we shared our money with her or not. I hope we did.

    I don't get a lot of people either. People blowing large amounts of money, time and effort for short bursts of pleasure. But, I also recognize that I have my own faults too. Many, many, many faults. And God demands that I forgive. So that's what I try to do. I'm not good at it. But that is my goal.

    Good luck on this journey and I hope that you get to bring D home with you soon!

  4. First off, there is much identity in what you have shared. I wish we lived closer. :)
    (((HUGS FROM TEXAS)))))

    You made me think of this video on youtube.

    May the Lord carry your burden and give you peaceful rest as you lean on HIM and trust.

  5. Anonymous8:55 PM

    I read very few blogs these days but I never miss one of your posts because you are real. You don't gloss over everything and you don't believe that we are entitled to an easy life. I love that. There ARE so few of us out there. Don't change. People need a dose of reality.

  6. Anonymous4:32 AM

    I've been reading here for a long time, at least for a year, but I don't think I have commented before (or not often anyway). I just wanted to let you know you sound like an amazing woman. And I'm sure God thinks so too!

  7. (((Hug))) Just remember- in the midst of this sadness- that simply because some of your friends are off in the world fighting their own demons and following the journey laid out for them by Spirit, does not mean that they are not sending you constant love for ALL that you are and do- because they get it. XO It can be hard to remember that. I know that the terrible lonliness I carry can often blind me to this fact. Love you Lady Queen Far Seerer Sword Wielder.

  8. Keri, don't let the opinions of others keep you from sharing your experiences, thoughts and feelings - we enjoy your posts and have learned much. You really should write a book!

  9. Keri, you are my idol. Keep right on doing what you are doing. YOU are doing the work that Jesus called us to do. Not easy. It attracts derision, misunderstanding and jealously. But also it attracts admiration and awe. Just focus on the comments that support you and lift you up and don't bother with the others.
    Peace and Love to you!!! xoxo

  10. I agree wtih others. I come here to read your blog as you are real and are not afraid to share your feelings. I truly admire what you are doing and have had my eyes opened many times. So I thank you for being you.

  11. Be careful of sadness and worry. They can be indulgences just as tempting as other earthly pleasures. Could it be that you are judging others? Judging them for not being as heart torn over a cause as you? Could it be they have other causes or daily trials of their own they are dealing with? Don't close out people and claim such loneliness, embrace people for they are God's children too even if you do not understand them. Work to understand them. Judge not, love much, seek Christ.

  12. I wish I could say I don't understand why someone would feel that way, but I do understand. I just don't agree with her. Maybe when I was younger I might have agreed, but I'm older and wiser, and I've learned the real gems in someone's life aren't all happy things. What makes us sad to the point of physical pain if often far more revealing of who we are. That you share this with us is a precious gift, and I feel sadness for those that don't get that.

    Please know that I think of you several times a week, even if I don't say so. I probably should because if nothing else you deserve to know I was thinking about you. Because of everything I have going on I tend to be better about this when I can pick up the phone, but other people's busy lives make that a less than ideal solution, too.

  13. Thanks for posting about this. I am always glad that you are so open and honest rather than trying to surpress feelings as the anonymous commenter appears to have done.

    With regard to one of the comments above I wanted to add that you don't have to go all the way to Russia or China to see beggars, poverty, depravity, sadnes, peopple with no hope, people that need our prayers. I only need at the street corner four blocks down where there is daily the same man begging as he walks up and down the lines of traffic waiting at a light, or even worse the man that has more serious mental issues who lives under the bridge over the bayou two blocks away. It is real and it happens every day, every where, closing your eyes and ears to it will not make it go away as anonymous seems to suggest.

  14. SHAMED?????? YOU felt SHAMED??? My outrage is hardly registering in text. "a fellow blogger posted a long piece on how she hated when people blogged about their sadness, especially in regards to the state of things in this world. She was angry that people wrote about the sadness that leveled their hearts concerning things like the orphan crisis" OOOOOOOOOHhhhhhhh, that pesky orphan crisis??? ExCUUUUUUUse me. Shame on them! Unless they have 22 orphans at home with them, Shame on THEM!

    I am furious. This is the big problem that thinking/feeling humans have with Facebook and such, that the only things they feel comfortable posting is the happy stuff.

    You need to read the transcript of J.K. Rowling's commencement speech to Harvard. I've attached the link. But here is the crux: "many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know."


    (And again I say, "fuck 'em".

    You are loved. And I am one who loves you.

  15. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I needed to hear so much of what you all have posted. I cant thank you enough. THe only one I disagree with is yours, Kevin. I am not judging, I am hurting. And sometimes pain and worry is part of this human struggle, not an indulgence. I can tell from your words that you do not know me personally, nor have you read much of my blog. Otherwise you would have known that your comment actually hurt rather than healed.

  16. Please know that I love reading your blog, and as a woman who does not know God, I am in awe of your faith. I keep reading, to understand you better, to maybe come to know God, and to understand all the good you do in the world. Be gentle with yourself, you do so much good for others, even when all you see is sadness.

  17. I'm catching up on my blog reading so please forgive the lateness in this comment...

    I felt like this post was written for me. I too feel like an outsider in this world. I feel like I see the injustice and pain that others choose not to and it weighs on me. My friends are forever running to me with their problems, to seek counsel, or even to get counseling but I never feel "fun" enough or spontaneous enough to be included in their joyous adventures. Instead I'm left sitting pondering on heavy issues, alone. I yearn for a mate who understands me and who feels the burden of injustice that I do but I have yet to find someone as passionate about change as I am. And while you let your true self show I often hide it behind a smile and a joke. Just remember that you are not alone.

    In the Bible Peter refers to Christians as exiles, foreigners, in this world because we are called to be different from others. I'm also reminded of a quote: Concern should drive us into action, not depression.- Karen Horney

    Keep your chin up! You're not alone!


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