It is quiet in here, and a little dark. I wake blurry. My driver sits beside me, still. He whispers, the doctor was here. No polyps, see you in ten years. I have no memory of this at all.
I love my few moments in recovery, calm and peaceful. I want to stay. Breathe in, breathe out. Lie still and know that I am God. Beep beep, beep beep, the sound of clinical heartbeat singing its tune and reminding me I am still alive.
We need more recovery rooms. Quiet places, apart from civilization’s babel and din, still corners to recover from our pasts and our presents, from the day’s news and the treachery of man. Graceful spots to be heard and not judged, salve instead of stabbing, silence instead of noise. Places where a touch is still restorative because folk have laid down their swords. And their pens, which are mightier.
Recovery rooms are gentle and quiet, and God knows we could all use more of that.
What does recovery look like?
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” “No one, Master.” “Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
Christ spit on the ground and mixed the spit with dirt, then smeared it gently on the blind man’s eyes.
Christ said, Daughter, your faith has made you whole. Go in peace.
My own neurotic, nagging fear surprises me – I fear we don’t really trust people to recover, maybe we deep-down don’t want them to. That’s why we choose battlefields instead of recovery rooms. We seem so excited about who has fallen and how – touting someone else’s sin du jour means we don’t have to discuss our own.
Hallelujah. So who will we stone today?
We busy ourselves with vitriol to spew at the Pope or Rob Bell or the pastor down the road of another denomination or the government – and while we do, another Jewish synagogue is bombed, a Kosher market is terrorized, and twenty-one Christians are beheaded.
There is a worthy battlefield for sure; one for which, I fear, we are nowhere close to ready, for our time is spent hoarding hatred and throwing stones at our own. The moment is here to stand strong on a unified battlefield, to stand for justice and rightness for our brothers and sisters, but we are too bruised and beaten-up from ducking and dodging within our own ranks.
We must start building some recovery rooms.
The church is supposed to be a recovery room, but it rarely is, and we all know why. The church is composed of us, fearful and fretful souls, worried about wolves, dressed as they are in sheep’s clothing. The spirit of the living God lives within us, and yet we find that we cannot relax for watching our own bitten backs, so we sharpen our teeth and hoard more stones.
And no one recovers.
I haven’t given up on it yet, though, the church. The bread and wine remains ever pure and right, even in such sinful, human hands. The fact that the eucharist is entrusted at all to human hands is the miracle. Oh God, do You really trust us with Yourself on earth, we weak and fallen ones?
Turns out, He does.
I walk dogs this morning. The day is fitful, clouds quite pregnant, their birth imminent. I can smell it coming. God’s breath moves hard and ruthless among the trees, branches crack and fall in protest. He gives us the whole earth to walk in and on, to smell and touch and eat, warmth and cold, thunder and sunshine, so I will get my wounded bones off the couch, open the door, step outside, and take a look.
I walk in the rainy quiet and listen to God’s windy voice in the trees.
Here is the recovery room, the Psalmist sings to me, whispering – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Ahhh, that’s it. He sends clean snow and cleansing rain, sun that warms and winds that heal. He sends grace-filled friends who strengthen, patient and kind, arms full of love and recovery gentle.
He sends the healing, He is the recovery room.
Battle is coming and my armor has been dented. Dented, but not destroyed.
I stand. I still stand.