Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Ripple Effect

“…I know in my bones the ache to find the words, I know, as well, the ache of uncertainty about which words.” --Scott Cairns

Since my return from Ireland on October 26, I have been struggling with this “which” of words. On the heels of one of my most incredible life experiences, I was greeted only moments after arrival in Seattle with the news that my beloved beautiful boy was in jail, charged with a very serious offense. Needless to say, I was (and am) devastated.

In both events (Ireland & 'the news'), my world has been rocked. I sit and wait during this season of Advent to see where the ripples might land. Can that be enough? Yes – for me, for now – the waiting must be enough. Still…I ache to find the words, so today I share a few regarding “the crime.”

I am ever so grateful no one was physically harmed – no death – no hospitalizations – no rape. But, laws were broken. Stupid, careless, foolish mistakes were made and now a young life – my son’s – will be imprisoned for as many as four years. They say it could have been much worse – 15 years or more. Can I be grateful? Perhaps later.

No one was physically harmed… the words linger and I am struck with the ripple effect, because the emotional toll is high. I can’t begin to process the damage for myself, so how can I weigh the cost to the rest of my family or anyone else? The ripple is high. It is exhausting. Like the waves of the ocean, even the gentle ones leave me with a queasy feeling if I stand or float in them too long. And, then there are the rogue waves that come out of nowhere and pick you up and thrash you to the ocean floor where all equilibrium is lost. Which way is up? Where is the bottom?

I once danced with a rogue wave in Hawaii. Even after I was safely out of the water and had survived the experience, I could not accurately assess the damage. Removing my swimsuit, the sand came out of nooks and crannies I didn’t know existed – little grains of evidence that the wave had had its way with me. Later, I walked by a mirror after showering and caught sight of a giant bruise disguised as an enormous eggplant tattooed on my butt. I don’t remember how long it took before I could sit comfortably again or when the ugly mark finally faded away.

Today, I have more questions than answers – many of them surrounding this season of Advent, as well as the circumstances of my life. It’s odd, but there is a simple peace in knowing that today waiting can be enough. I am grateful for this space. I have struggled with the words and will continue to do so. Your loving witness alongside makes the waiting a little easier.

Blessings to you and yours.

bermuda waves ©h3images.com


Tess said...

Loving witness is all I can hope to bear for you, dear friend.

kigen said...

I love you.

Les (Endlessly Restless) said...

It's hard to wait with a heavy heart. May God sustain you through this time.

You're in my prayers.

Maureen said...

You're standing before a mirror of questions. Time is needed to reflect on them. Reflection and waiting. . . the twins of this Advent season.

John O'Donohue wrote a blessing titled "For the Parents of One Who Has Committed a Crime". It goes like this:

"No one else can see beauty/ In his darkened life now. / His image has closed / Like a shadow.

"When people look at him,/ He has become the mirror/ Of the damage he has done.

"But he is yours;/ And you have different eyes/ That hold his yesterdays / In pictures no one else remembers.

"Waiting for him to be born,/ Not knowing who he would be,/ The moments of his childhood,/ First steps, first words,/ Smiles and cries,/ And all the big thresholds/ Of his journey since. . . .

"He is yours in a way/ No words could ever tell;/ And you can see through/ The stranger this deed has made him/ And still find the countenance of your son.

"Despite all the disappointment and shame,/ May you find in your belonging with him/ A kind place, where your spirit will find rest./ May new words come alive between you/ To build small bridges of understanding.

"May the serenity lead you beyond guilt and blame/ To find that bright field of the heart/ Where he can come to feel your love.

"Until it heals whatever darkness drove him/ And he can see what it is he has done/ And seek forgiveness and bring healing;/ May this dark door open a path/ That brightens constantly with new

Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lucy! My heart aches with your news. One ripple has reached me across the lake....it bore the news and wrapped my heart around yours as you wait. I will wait with you, with sincere love.
Shalom, Laura

Barbara said...

There is little I can except express my sorrow at your pain. I will keep prayerful vigil with you, lucy. You and your son are being held aloft by many prayerful hands. Peace.

Rebecca Johnson said...


I am honored by the vulnerability that you offer us here. I hold your sacred story and your deep pain with reverence and love. I believe deeply in the Christian idea of being able to carry each other's burdens. We are all taking a small piece.

I am terrified of the ocean precisely because of those waves that might pull me under and never let me up again. I fear that my head will never break the surface, see the sky and breathe again. I know that you will not be kept down. The Divine continually draws you up into Its love.

I love the poem by John O'Donohue offered above. Another poem that fits the imagery of this post is First Lesson, by Phillip Booth.

First Lesson
Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

Philip Booth

I have used it so many times in sessions with directees.


Sue said...

"It’s odd, but there is a simple peace in knowing that today waiting can be enough."

Yes, I agree. That space, the smallness of it, is a comfort somehow, isn't it.

Beautiful comments here, Lucy. Prayers holding up you and your boy.

Anonymous said...

Kayce.....my family stands in solidarity with you and all your family......think of us in the castle at Kino....all four members of your family....especially Jonathan.....encircled, surrounded by our family and our love. Lovingly, Pamela

Kayce aka lucy said...

tess, kigen, ER - thank you for your witness, love & prayers. with each one the weight subsides a bit.

maureen - "Reflection and waiting. . . the twins of this Advent season." absolutely perfect. thank you for sharing the o'donohue blessing, it is one which i am quite familiar. it is even more special now through your offering. peace.

laura - shalom to you, too, my friend.

barbara - truly there is little any of us can do except maintain that prayerful vigil. thank you for your offering.

as you might imagine, aslan's appearance has become even more timely than we first knew. he is indeed a bundle of love to keep me company when the waiting is hard.

Kayce aka lucy said...

rebecca - the philip booth poem takes my breath away. thank you for sharing this. i continue to see how i am moving away from my word of "fire" toward that of "water." i will carry those images into my heart. (also, thank you for commenting on the sea imagery in the post. it is a powerful part of this whole process for me.) xoxoxo

sue - thank you for joining me in that still small place.

pamela - images of kino bay have been very present for me lately. i am so grateful for the strength, courage and support i/we found there.

i could feel your presence here today even before your comment showed up :-) blessings to you and yours! xoxoox

thymekeeper said...

I join the many, many others who hold you and your family in loving prayer, waiting alongside you. Such strength you have to share your story, giving others permission to embrace their own "ripple effect story."
Blessings and love.

Susan Carpenter Sims said...

Reading this post and the comments left here, I feel the power of the prayer being offered, the sanctity of the circle. I can't add anything that hasn't already been said, only another praying heart, grateful for your sharing of this.

Kayce aka lucy said...

thymekeeper - it is an odd balance to strike in wrestling with words and wondering how many of them are for me and how many are for others. my hope is that we can all learn to embrace our stories with strength and without shame.

pollinatrix - the ripples spread out in ways we cannot begin to imagine. as i consider "the sanctity of the circle", the image of a stone being dropped into a pond emerges and the ripples (of prayer, loss, hope, more) move out from there.

peace to you both!

kate i said...

Kayce, I am so very sorry that you and your family are going through this pain. Please know that my heart is with you...the ripples have reached across the water and now ripple back to embrace you gently in a tender peace.

Abbey of the Arts said...

I continue to hold you in love dear friend, wave upon wave of love and grace. xoxoxo

Dianna Woolley said...

And before I sleep, my heart so aches for this blessed child of ours and for your tender flesh that can do nothing but wait and hope and pray and weep and scream and pour your heart out to all of these blogger friends and to your precious family who loves you and B, Mj, and Jon. We wait with you sweet sister. May we sleep well in anticipation and hopeful assurance of another day that will greet us with all life has to offer.


Anonymous said...


Please know that I am thinking of you. I am sitting with this & holding you and yours in my heart.

Danny said...

Lucy... thank you for sharing this. It must have been so hard to write these words. You are living something of the fear in every mother's heart as we watch our beloved children grow and then let them go. You and your family are in my prayers - in the waiting and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Just know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you.

Brett said...


I am truly saddened by this news. And i just don't know what to say right now. I'm sure i could rattle off a dozen bromides...but that is not what I feel is called for. I'm going thru a similarly wrenching family crisis with my sibling. I love words...but sometimes they fail. I am feeling for you, your hubby and beautiful boy. The only thing i know is there is good in this. Either that...or God is a masochist. And that is NOT my experience. Love to you all!


Kel said...

thankyou for modelling how to "embrace our stories with strength and without shame"

may His love wash over you and be a soothing balm against the current 'gritty sand and bruises'

Kayce aka lucy said...

kate, abbey, SS, wish, danny, 'diff', brett, kel et al - your words wash over me like fresh rain water. i am soothed and comforted knowing i am held in each of your gentle embrace.

during my spiritual direction session today, i became aware of my ever-expanding view of what it looks like to be embraced by god. you are each a part of that vision. thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Kayce,
My heart goes out to you and your family. You are in my prayers. I so wish I was there with you and could provide you with some support in person. Know that you are loved. I pray that your beloved son will one day find his true wonderful self and know peace. He is a very lucky young man to have the Mom and Dad he has and one day, I believe he will be healed.

Sending you love and light - Shelby D

Kayce aka lucy said...

shelby dearest - receiving your love and light. thank you!!! xoxoox