Psalm 143- Lonliness (The Musings of a CB-er)

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As I flipped open my Bible (well, actually I forgot my Bible, so I flipped open my browser and googled) and read Psalm 143, tears sprang to my eyes at the familiar words. I surprised myself with them, because everyone knows I hate crying, especially in front of the entire population occupying a wi-fi cafe…

Answer me quickly, LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

As my best friend Small One can attest, the last time I read this I was kneeling bent over my Bible, weeping. With shaky hands and choked voice, I read these words out loud in the dorm lounge at 2 in the morning. Katie knelt behind me, tears in her own eyes, lost for words to comfort- there was almost no room for words.

I felt so alone, despite of her being right there beside me. It was a stressful weekend, with my women’s choir performing in Handel’s Messiah and my mom and sisters coming in to watch, on top of school and life and friends and CB, getting my room clean enough for my family to stay, getting everything all situated… and then stressing just because we college students do that sort of thing… I thought I had everything under control. I had everything planned out in my head. I had my tag-team of friends who were gonna help me get through the weekend, and a blanket of prayer miles thick. But nothing prepared me enough… nothing I could have done could ever prepare me enough for what was going to happen.

I’m just going to be honest with you and tell you guys the truth. My relationship with my biological family hasn’t been the best in the world. They might say something different, but the truth is there is a lot of hurt, alot of pain, and alot of wounding eachother throughout the years. I’ve done my share of hurting them, especially my younger sister, who was coming with my mom that weekend. And while I was stressing about my mom’s reaction to my friends and CB and school and my life, the real conversation I should have been stressing about is the one with my sister.

The opinions of our family hits us more than we want to admit. And with a sister- that one little girl who’s supposed to look up to you, and want to follow in your footsteps- her opinion is even more important. So when she looked me in the eyes and told me that I, her big sister, the one who was supposed to protect her and show her the ropes to this big bad world, ruined her life… the pain that I inflicted upon her through the years brought her to depression and suicidal thoughts, and although she has been working through her pain, that she would never see me as her big sister… that broke me. Broke my already ever-shaky foundation and brought me to my knees, weeping, reading- pleading- Psalm 143.

Sitting there, terrified of the world, knowing deep down that my sin had caused so much brokenness in someone else, a someone else I was supposed to love- no, not only love, but PROTECT… I was the one that she needed protecting from. How do you respond to that? What words do you say? I had none of my own-

1 LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land

I tell you the truth, these words brought me more comfort than I could ever gain from the other means I was using to try and make myself better. I’ve tried it all- sex, cutting, eating disorders, revenge, trying to please everybody… but the warmth and comfort I had wash over me at that moment reading those words I would never trade for anything in the world. And as I look back over them, I realized the weirdness of this psalm- there aren’t any words of “It’ll all be okay” or “God’s got your back”… its all just pain. It’s a cry out to The All-Knowing to remember… to The All-Hearing to hear. And I was heard.

Have you ever known how it feels to be heard? Nothing is fixed, nothing has changed… you’ve just been HEARD. Somehow that’s what it takes for us to lose the seemingly unshakeable lonliness we walk around with and is the proof we’re searching for in God.

I’m not really sure if any of the things I ever write make any much sense… but it’s nice to be heard sometimes. Even if you don’t understand.

In CB, I feel like we need alittle bit of a reminder to HEAR. When we walk down to Lower Wacker or upstairs on the other routes- Madison, State, Washington, Michigan… or to eachother, or to anyone, we need to remember that we’re there to HEAR. It’s easy to get caught up in what WE have to say… what THEY need to hear. It’s harder to shut our mouths and listen and actually HEAR what they have to say, whoever they are.

I know I’ve said this so many times before- but I didn’t start doing CB because of the homeless people. I didn’t stay because of the biblestudy. Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are amazing, and I praise the LORD for how much growth and miracles he’s been showing this group… but honestly- I’m here, and I stayed, because ya’ll are different than ANY OTHER group of people I’ve ever been apart of. We’re a motley, mis-matched, crazy, weird, abnormal, dysfunctional family, but there’s more. In the case of Alisha Gneco, you guys HEAR.

I remember the first day I went to CB, on the train, Andrew and Josh and AngelDude and all the rest, standing around me- “Tell us your story in five minutes”. No one had ever asked me that before. Seriously. In a world where the only places people actually want to hear what someone else is thinking or doing or coming from is the doctors office or a dating website (and that’s pushing it), you guys asked and then were quiet and LISTENED.

So wrapping up my little rant, and bringing it back to the basics- While we, as Christians, as CB, are being called to be like Christ, in the things we do, and say, and think- let us also remember Psalm 143, the brokenness and the pain of those around us and inside of us and stop and hear what we’re actually saying. Hearing my sister takes my attention off of nursing my selfish hurt and onto her broken heart. Hearing her brings the reality of her pain to my eyes, not in self-pity, but in conviction of the consequences sin actually has on people. Hearing you guys tells me who’s struggling and who’s in need of some prayer. Hearing will bring us together so that we go out as a family, not just a motley crew of college kids. Hearing will bring us to the place where we can plead with the Lord for the souls of our friends.

Again, I’m not sure if I make much sense, but hopefully somewhere I’ve come to some sort of conclusion, so I can stop typing and feel like this blog post has adequately ended. :) And with that, I love you and praying for you- whoever you may be. :) Always ready to hear.

11 For your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

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