My oldest daughter texted me a longish stream of tapped-out words. The blue rectangular box relayed a non-emergency struggle with which she was engaged. At the end, she hit return and added one more sentence, an imperative: Please send help.
I chuckled to myself as I simultaneously hit the screen to respond and wiped a tear. I chuckled because it was comical, and I could hear her voice, see her face. I wiped a tear because it doesn’t take a lot for me to cry or tear up these days. And I understood her non-emergency but real plight, her longing to be validated and known.
Later, as I poured over scripture and scribbled prayers in my journal, Maggie’s words came back to me. At the end of some questions, I skipped a small space and added one more sentence, an imperative: Please send help.
Right now, I don’t know much else to pray. In my personal life, I’m navigating an uncharted phase of parenting. All the while, I recognize old lies that nag at me and affect the emotional well-being of myself and those around me. I’m noticing triggers that make me internally jumpy or panicked or numb; the sources of these are making themselves known, and I need to face them. Old griefs are coming to roost, waking me at odd hours before the dawn.
While I take on new responsibilities that push me out of comfort zones. When I seek counseling for the first time in 25 years. As I wrestle with my desire to belong while holding the truth that I am a sometimes-aloof fringe person.
As I sit with Jesus, in the place of abiding, and find myself undone by all manner of churchy things. When safety is in the mystery of the Trinity and few other spaces.
When the world outside the doors of my home cackles and hums in dissonant, fractious tones. As people tumble into virtual versions of each other with suspicion and fear.
Lord, please send help.
The world is alight with red flashing lights of most definitive emergencies. National and international sirens wail; rebuilding in the aftermath of varied kinds of storms promises to be a long process. Closer to home, friends are struggling in painful crises; their posture of prayer is lament. They wait for answers, asking questions that don’t have satisfying answers or any answer at all.
Like my daughter, my aches aren't emergency aches. But I do believe that individual wholeness adds to our collective wholeness. Like my daughter, I've risked vulnerability and called out to friends and loved ones, tapped out my own rectangular box of non-emergency but real plights that stare me in the face. We all need hands to hold. We need each other. We need to know we aren’t alone.
Reach out. Speak it, cry it. Say nothing if you can't find words. Sit in silence with a trusted companion and hold their hand. Write it. Pray it. Skip a line, hit return. Write one more sentence, and ask for the help of a friend.