A flame for what I can’t do.

Because I seem to be magnetically attracted to the place, I ended up at the Cathedral today. On a slight tangent, it says a lot about the importance of a place when, on a night out with choir friends, you end up chatting in Cathedral park – because we don’t spend enough time there without incorporating it into social nights…I do love that building and all it means, and all that it stands for, and all that it is.

Today, though (back to my original point), I’d been thinking about what wrote the other day: about forgiveness, and praying for those who hurt us, and the ongoing horror of all that happened to me and the price I’m still paying for actions I didn’t commit, or control, or deserve. And I still can’t bring myself to pray for the man who hurt me so deeply, who caused such intense damage to all those parts of myself I most value. When I think about how hard it is for me to sing, and how painful those recollections are when they’re suddenly, shockingly triggered, I don’t want to pray for the person responsible for this. I recoil from the idea in the same way that I’d recoil from the idea of pressing my hand up against a bright, livid stove-top.

And yet it’s something I genuinely want to be able to do. I genuinely want to find that place of peace from which I can wish him well, from which I can say he can no longer hurt me. I’m getting there – but there’s still a long way to go. And I know I shouldn’t struggle with that, but I do.

So I lit a candle. I left the candle there, burning, a point of brightness in the dim light of the Cathedral in the late afternoon. I let it hold the prayer that I cannot bring myself to form. I let it burn and illuminate those feelings I don’t want to have, and the graciousness I wish I could find. I let it cradle for me all those dark feelings I want to be able to let go of. In its silent symbolism, I let it say the prayer I cannot.

I have no idea if that symbolism is enough. I hope it is, for now – because that’s all I’m capable of. I wish I were capable of more, of showing true grace – but I’m not, and that’s just the way it goes. But I hope that the brightness of a flame, the eternity of a symbol, can be gracious for me.

Surely that counts, right?


2 thoughts on “A flame for what I can’t do.

  1. Right, it counts! The spirit at Pentecost was represented by … a flame, just like the one you lit. Romans 8:26,27 says that the spirit (a flame?) intercedes when we haven’t got the words.

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