A few places and times when I've been alone...
Waiting for the B37 bus to pick me up outside PS 307 after orchestra practice
Waiting for the B8 bus outside of the Veteran's Hospital near Poly Prep after basketball practice
Walking the ten blocks from the Cortelyou Road subway station to our house on Bedford Avenue
Sitting in a train car on the border between France and Spain in the middle of the night
Having my breasts grabbed by the conductor on that train a few minutes after entering Spain
Walking home from my boyfriend's house after the subway and buses stopped running in Madrid
Walking from Pochi's house on la Calle Irati to El Instituto Internacional, Calle Miguel Angel, 8, Madrid
Choosing and paying for my wedding dress
Pushing my daughter out of my uterus
Pushing my son out nearly three years later
Homeschooling them in the basement of our Norwalk, Connecticut, home
Staring at the television screen as the second plane hit the second tower
Standing at the American Airlines ticket counter less than a month later getting my passport stamped before my first trip to Italy
Walking from Il Duomo in Florence to the hotel three nights in a row
Racing up the stairs to the top of the bell tower in the duomo
Watching my child weep
Watching my father die
Sitting in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, listening, praying, still hoping He is The One
Receiving the news: "We found kanswer in the breast and lymph node"
Lying in an MRI machine wondering just how much kanswer those noisy magnets would detect
Closing my eyes every time one of the nurses inserts the needle that delivers the healing therapy into the port in my chest
Lying in bed at night, praying for healing, silent tears streaming down my quivering cheeks, wondering whether or not this dreadful disease will disrupt my life again
Hoping against all hope that it does not
Utterly and completely alone
This list of lonely moments could go on; in my mind, it does.
There are moments when I am convinced that I have always been alone.
Certainly I have had companions alongside me for certain stages of the journey.
Parents, siblings, my husband, our children, my friends, and other loved ones -
they hug me, sit with me, call me, hold my hand, feed me, laugh with me, and weep with me too.
You write to me, pray for me, bring me food, and send me surplus barrels of hope when my supply runs dangerously low.
But in the end, in the beginning, and all along the way, I walk alone - and so do you.
Unless God can be trusted.
Unless The Word of God can be believed.
Unless it is possible that even when we don't see, feel, hear, smell, taste or touch God,
God is with me. With you. With all of us.
Unless my Sweet Momma Jesus is walking with me,
asking what I'm thinking about and talking about along the way,
and then listening to my answers,
holding me close, loving me dearly and nearly,
through the silent nights, in the noisy machines,
along the rocky, narrow, and treacherous path of life.
Unless the Wise and Ever-present Spirit of God does guide me into all truth,
remind me of all I've been taught, and lead me beside still waters.
From Isaiah - Fear not, for I have redeemed you,
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
From Deuteronomy - Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of (your enemies),
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.
From Jesus - I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.
In this world, you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
On this dismal, drizzly Friday afternoon,
I ask but one thing of you, O Lord, my God, my Sweet Momma Jesus:
You know I believe you. You know I believe in you.
Will you please, please, please, help me conquer my unbelief?
And one more thing - please don't ever leave me alone.