Archives for category: Jesus

When I was young and pretty I used to teach English to people who spoke other languages first.

Perhaps you have learned a language like that–lists of words, string them together, memorize their sound and shape and function.

Most of us do not remember learning our mother tongue, because memory is tagged to all those early words.

Yet we learn to cry for help long before the words are spoken

For love, for shelter, for food

And now I learn that when we are young or old, fat or thin, the indifference, apathy, and fear associated with stories of crime and trauma and worse, quotidian silence

May deprive us of words

Or more incisively–the belief they will be heard.

I know this because

I have stopped believing people will listen. And let me be clear–listen means “do something.”

Do something

So I have decided to teach a class

To the broken

The crying child who begins to think no one will come because no one has yet

About being a falling-tree-sort-of-person

Who instead of crashing down to make one big noise

Makes a billion little ones strung together

With words of dangerous import

About faith, hope, and love

From the One who Absolutely never fails

To come to our rescue

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I would like to think that Archimedes and I would have been chummy. That I could have been his tea-and-chalk-girl or something of that sort.

May be I

Will get to see for myself one day

When it is 3:14 am in the place where all

Numbers are both transcendent and constant.

The rock star, exposed soul and pecs with a rousing speech in front of thousands supporting tolerance (always good, right?) by announcing that anyone should be able to love who they want to love.

Oh. Really?

And then within a week I saw a piece in NYT’s Modern Love section devoted to the musings of a woman who had, apparently learned stuff from sleeping with married men.

Good thing people can “love who they want to love,” right?

In both situations it seems like the easiest way to strike a balance between my dismay and anger at the public aggrandizement of poorly lit behavior and my own private belief is to focus on that one, badly abused, word-

Love used to mean something. It used to be anchored to some pretty badass acts of self-sacrifice, public service, private solace, intimate compassion.

By co-opting a word of profound philosophical and etymological roots to stand in for other things, some of them very unlovely, transgressive, even illegal, we stand on the brink of meaningless cultural narcissism.

All while we insist on calling it

Love.

Dearest E,

I know you struggle with the see-saw conflict between knowing I love and see you and being a messy, sin-riddled person.

My love is manifest in my ability to save you through years of squalor.

Make that mystery what you focus on, a train-your-eyes-to-focus exercise.

Focus on my voice, character, ability to be who you need in all things.

Me the remedy

Friend

Listener

Shepherd-Doctor-Advocate

And don’t forget what I told you about losing things, the freedom of truth, narrow paths and where they lead.

All the big and small ways

I show you

I love you.

J.

I started this blog a few years ago when I was trying to tell and grieve-through a pretty ugly and unhappy-ending story.

Somewhere(s) along the line I began to question whether any of it would do any good. Were the words like trees falling without listeners?

I once read about one of many really awful and probably unnecessary studies. Rats were dropped into buckets then fished out after a few minutes. Others were left to drown. The rats who had been fished out could keep swimming for much longer than those who had never been “rescued.”

I have to assume this was supposed to be a study of hope? It seems to be more about the human capacity to willfully ignore suffering.

But I digress.

Times I have empathized with the bedraggled bucket rats.

But words do matter.

Your voice is heard.

So keep singing.

And if you can’t sing-whisper…

Cry, shout, or stomp.

I stood on an accurate scale and despaired at its arbitrary number.  Then whined to God: why can’t I lose weight?

His answer: trust your body.

As usual, for Him, anchoring words.

Perhaps youth is always hubris 

Although not always so baldly unhinged

I can still see

The mistaken room, ensuing melee

As though an intimate troupe of primate acrobats 

Had used their clever

Prehensile tails to

Tornado the borrowed room

Swing from the wooden dowel in the closet

Tear the beloved childhood

Memories apart, just words on pages

isolated pictures

can summon the ghosts

Of me and you and us

All gone now

Illusion I could

change you into angels

Can’t 

Sleep or

Administer the antidote

With words of

Your mispelled sins

All our

broken 

Promises rise

To life.