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Poem: "Close to the Brokenhearted" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Poem: "Close to the Brokenhearted"
This is the free epic for the October 2, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $200 goal. It came out of the August 7, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alexseanchai and [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron. It also fills the "counseling" square in my 6-4-18 Mixed card for the Winteriron Bingo Adventure fest. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Close to the Brokenhearted"


Fillan Clarke lives his life
by the sound of the church bells
and the beating of his own brain.

On healthy days, he provides
pastoral counseling to people
with acquired disabilities who have
a damaged relationship with God.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit,"
he reminds them, and he knows it's true.

On headache days, Fillan stays home
and prays. His room is dim and quiet;
his bed is soft and warm; it is enough.

He knows that Jesus doesn't mind and
understands suffering in all its guises.

Some days, there are no spoons.

"Even God ran out of spoons once,"
says Fillan. "That's why we have Sunday."

Fillan is neurodivergent, which makes it
hard for him to handle practicalities,
but God made him this way, so
he doesn't mind being different.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free,
there is no male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus,"
he explains to the parishioners.
"Many things that matter to us
make no difference to God."

His parents were not so accepting,
and after the diagnosis in preschool, they
took him to a priest for a miracle cure.

Fillan received a miracle, but not a cure,
smoothing the pathways of his mind
and making it easier to understand
matters of the spirit and of God.

Not until years later did the miracles
begin to spill out from his own hand.

Like the one he had received as a boy,
they tend to be miracles of acceptance,
of adaptation, healing a wounded link
between Jesus and one of His followers.

Fillan has to conserve his limited energy,
but that's okay too, because he can teach people
the skills they need to do that for themselves.

When they ask him how, he says, "I can
do all things through him who strengthens me."

The Church values Fillan for his faith
and for his grace, but most of all, for
his ability to fix things that difficult
or impossible for anyone else to fix.

He has novices to handle the practicalities
and to care for him when he's unwell.

This too is good; it teaches him
humility and gratitude.

Fillan values his parishioners
most of all, the ones who come
to him for help in their adversity.

"To each is given the manifestation
of the Spirit for the common good,"
he tells them. "Go and find yours."

Fillan knows that he will always be
close to the brokenhearted, because
that is where God has placed him.

* * *

Notes:

Fillan Clarke -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short black hair. He is left-handed. His heritage is Irish, Britannian, and American. He lives in Motor City. Fillan is neurodivergent and poor at practicalities, but he excels in spiritual matters. He is a Catholic priest with a gift for pastoral counseling. He specializes in helping people with a damaged relationship to God. Despite chronic pain from headaches, Fillan is very popular as a priest, because he fixes problems that are difficult or impossible for anyone else to fix. In Terramagne, the Church is more welcoming of people with disabilities, since Jesus obviously cared about them. Having a disabled priest shows people that a handicap needn't cause them to lose their faith.
Origin: After his neurodivergent diagnosis in preschool, his parents took him to a priest in hopes of a miracle cure. Instead, the miracle helped him focus without changing how his brain worked. His existential intelligence and vocation grew in quickly. The miracles didn't start happening until much later, but are generally believed to have their roots in that occasion.
Uniform: Catholic priest uniform. He loves it because it tells everyone his job and he never has to think about what to wear. He hates secular clothing because it's too complicated and inconsistent.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Catholic Priest, Expert (+4) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Music Fan, Good (+2) Pastoral Counselor, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Dealing with Practicalities
Powers: Average (0) Miracles
Much like the one he received as a child, the miracles that Fillan bestows tend to be miracles of acceptance, adaptation, and/or faith rather than healing. However, occasionally he produces a miracle cure.
Vulnerability: Chronic pain. Fillan suffers from headaches about half the time. On headache days, he stays home and prays. After all, Jesus understands suffering and sympathizes with his condition. On healthy days, Fillan provides pastoral counseling to clients, mostly people with newly acquired disabilities that have impaired their relationship with God. The Church provides him with novices who handle the practicalities he can't and take care of him when he's unwell.
Motivation: To help people get along with God.

* * *

Psalm 34:18
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Pastoral counseling can help people with a crisis of faith or other issues. Here are some tips on doing it right.

Acquired disability can have negative impacts on mental health, sexuality, faith, and other areas of life. This often leaves people in mourning. However, positive growth is also possible. Some people find counseling helpful in learning how to live well with a disability. They can integrate with a faith community.

The Spoon Theory describes life with a short energy budget.

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

1 Corinthians 12:7
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

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