A poem or monologue, based on Genesis 32:22-31 and Jacob wrestling until he finds blessing. Permission is granted for use in worship etc, but please credit me (Rev. Becca Girrell).
Another night, while I slept, I dreamt of heaven, of angels and light and ladders, of nearness and connection and the places where doorways open.
Young and hopeful, I knew the comfort of that Presence and Promise, that my Companion would go with me, protect me, sustain me.
I’m not so hopeful now.
For years I’ve labored, loved, and lied, struggled with my family, my pride. I’ve watched siblings fracture and relationships die, watched labor bear miracles and wounds alike.
And so sleep eluded me that night. Presence isn’t so simple, isn’t so easy, isn’t always a promise. My Companion hasn’t always been a comfort, but often a challenge and a burden as well. Love has not always been a gift, but sometimes a contest. Life has not always been a miracle but sometimes a way of hurting one another.
I was not surprised that my Companion came. Not surprised when arms encircled me. I couldn’t tell when the embrace became a struggle, which one of us moved first into aggression. Maybe too used to love being a weapon, I didn’t know how to embrace. Maybe (okay, certainly) I was angry, and anger has a way of surfacing. Maybe my Companion wanted to challenge me further, to see how much I could bend before I broke.
Once I grappled, there was no way I was letting go.
Habits die hard, and I’ve been wrestling for a long time, from before I was born. Wrestling with my brother for birth into this life, grappling with him for a mother’s love, a father’s blessing. I’ve been wrestling with my father in law and his herds, grappling with my wives as they grappled with each other, our tangled lives and loves pulling at one another.
I’ve been wrestling with my Companion for a long time too. One who promised to guide and preserve me, to help me to prosper. What have I to show for that?
And so I wasn’t letting go.
All night we grappled, struggled, pushed and pulled, rolled and wrestled. All my life we have been, we will be. But this time, I was determined. This time, I was going to find the blessing in this curse, the joy in this tangled mess of limbs and lives.
My Companion named me, touched me, blessed me. My Companion told me I’d won, let me prevail.
But my Companion did more than that. In tangling with my Companion, I also tangled up my understanding yet again. Tangled love and loss, pain and joy, blessing and struggle. Sometimes to love is to wrestle and to wrestle is to love, to challenge and grapple and struggle are to uncover faith, joy, promise. Sometimes to trust is to question and to believe is to wrestle. To love and be loved is to wound and be wounded. To bless and break. To embrace and to grapple.
Sometimes we can’t tell embraces from wrestling. Sometimes we can’t tell blessing from brokenness.
And that is Holy.
I’ve been limping ever since.