an unwanted guest.

January 31, 2010

sometimes you are just sad.

sometimes life is filled with sadness.

sometimes that sadness lasts only a moment, passing through you like an old sojourner traveling from one place to the next.  and sometimes that sadness settles in, unpacks for a while, and makes itself at home inside of you like an unwanted guest oblivious of social cues.

these last months i have been filled with sadness. i am not exactly sure at which hour it settled in. i can’t quite pinpoint the moment it began to unpack and make it’s home in me…but it surely did. and i have fought. i have given it, rather rudely at times, every possible social cue that i would like for it to exit from within me. i have opened the doors to my heart and mind and gestured for it to bid farewell. and yet, it remains. my chest feels heavy and my thoughts burdened. i picture it there, under my chest and in my mind, sprawled out and immobile. its presence seems to have displaced all that was there, or should be there, or i believed could be there.  and all this sadness does is remain and fester like an infected wound…just as ugly, just as painful, just as irritating, just as personal.

and as i have fought, i have written.

i have written of all this sadness. i have written of loneliness and misunderstanding. i have written of the number three and transitions. of a faraway land that seems farther away each passing day. of friends who have hurt me. of silence that rings loudly. i have written of burying the only identity i can remember owning for so long now. i have written of the love i can’t seem to find, or perhaps deserve. of the small hands that once hugged my neck and that i can’t hold right now. of the affirmation i desire. i have written of the longing for someone to ask the simplest of questions, and the anger that follows when the silence continues. i have written of pathetic attempts on my part. of the hungry faces of children i would give anything to mother. of others’ selfishness and my own affluence. i have written of injustices in this world which are beyond my understanding. of apathy. of the deep anger i have felt [and maybe i’m still feeling] towards people i hold dear.  i have written of disconnected community. i have written of cancer and mothers who leave too soon. i have written of broken systems and grieving.

and as i have written, i have fought..

and yet, ignoring all my gesturing, the sadness abides.

tonight i drove north towards home. i was returning from what had been a thoroughly holy evening. but in all its holiness it carried so much sadness. and i realized, as the wipers on my miniature car rhythmically wiped the raindrops off my windshield, that even holiness knows sadness.  and that was more than i could bear. and i began to cry. alone in my car i cried. i wish i could say that all my tears were for others, but they were also for myself. for my sadness. for all of the hurt and darkness that has settled under my chest and in my mind recently. i cried, for a long time, i cried.

a friend asked me a bit later if i wanted a hug. in response, i asked “will it make everything different?” i knew the answer. “might comfort for a split second,” he replied, “but no.” of course i wanted a hug tonight. but i also wanted that hug to make everything different. which wasn’t going to happen. alone in my car tonight i drove north and cried. i didn’t receive a hug from anyone, but something quite similar did  happen. as i drove, and as i cried i also listened. and the words of a song comforted for a split second:

anytime you say it with heart

anytime you’re falling apart

when you’re washing the sheets

any stranger you meet

when there’s somebody waving good-bye

you’re coming home to me, just remember

you’re coming home to me

it’s a world full of bar rooms and alleys

of blue nights and red river valleys

when you feel like a shirt and a tie

or like dirt

or a lion and no one can see

you’re coming home to me, just remember

you’re coming home to me

when you get to that place

that’s just under the stars

hanging over the tree…

…when you get there you’ll know

that’s as far as you go

when you get there you’ll see

you were already free

when you get there you’ll la la la la la

when you’re lost and you’re found

when you’re found and you’re lost

when you’re dancing with no one around

you’re coming home to me, just remember

you’re coming home to me

for a split second they comforted. and i’ll keep fighting. maybe this time by remembering who my home is, and writing of that. perhaps that will be the social cue this sadness will understand. because i’m ready for this guest to leave.


2 Responses to “an unwanted guest.”

  1. ryan said

    beautiful words, lisa. thanks so much for pouring out your heart, here. and thanks for sharing these song lyrics. they’re amazing, and they resonate and stir deep within me.


  2. bobbie said


    Hi. This is strange that I found your blog this morning. Yet, not strange at all. Because things like this happen all the time. I reach out to a stranger, but it is not me reaching out at all.

    Just yesterday I listened to Patti Griffin’s song (above) for the first time and also cried, but for a different reason. I cried because of the sheer weight of its sublime beauty as a crafted work of art. (i “study” songs). Did the lyric mean what I thought it meant? Was the bridge written about the Father speaking to the Son? I read the lyric this morning. I don’t know if this has struck anyone else, and we’d have to ask Patti Griffin about her intent! – but … Jesus died hanging on a tree at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Also, Jesus was both fully man (we are made,formed from “dirt” and he was also God eternal and often likened to a “lion,” as in, the Judge who will come. (But he is also the lamb, the sacrifice, and the soft hand of velvety forgiveness!).

    Here’s my point though – if there was a single fact about Jesus garnered from the entire Bible, it is this: He was utterly alone at his death, as even the Father, “left” him at the time of his death (or just before?) while Jesus took on the sins of the world and was punished on our behalf. It was the darkest, saddest, most forlorn time he could have had: complete separation from his beloved Father

    “You’re not alone,” – that’s what the song is telling us. There’s a bigger picture and a larger truth of a God who longs for a restored and mended relationship with each of us. I don’t know where you stand, Lisa, but it ought to be with Christ. If you knew Him and knew His power to save you from the anger and destruction and the eternal separation from all that is good… that awaits some in the future at some unknown time – if you knew Him, you would not be sad, ever. Not really …. never persistently … only ever temporarily. And this is a truth unlike what the world will tell you. To really know the true God intimately, through Jesus, is a life-saving, mind-altering and heart regenerating event.
    When you know you’re not alone and someone has your back 24/7 …and a blissful perfect place and loving relationship with a pure, good and holy God awaits you after this flawed and imperfect one, you can’t really be sad in any way but a wistful, temporary mis-step kind of way. Please, Lisa, stranger and friend, investigate this.

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