My Friends

Holy Spirit1

I have not had the words.  Some of what’s happening that breaks my heart is too close and I am not able to write about it with the kind of honesty and distance that it deserves.  My colleague and fellow sojourner, Joe, and I are beginning to rough out a project to write a book about the ministry I was a part of.  In the meantime, I often hear the voice of my Hebrew Scriptures professor, Mr. Griffin, echo in my mind, describing how Genesis is so brilliant in its spare and simple description of the way sin cascades.  The agonizing reality of our broken humanity even when there are neither saints nor demons continues to be excruciating to contemplate.

I have not had the words to talk about the bigger parts of the story I belong in, as a naturalized American citizen, As good as this summer has been, I am still searching for my voice and work and all I seem able to do right now is listen to others.  I marvel at their courage. Their insight. Their insistence that there are truths worth telling and we can all make a difference.  Somehow, each of them is helping make me stronger, more clear about what I might be able to do and be.  When I strain to look ahead, I am aware that if there is anything I have brought with me from the past 8 years, it is a certainty that I want to meet people where they are and engage in real conversation, not accusation and judgment. I can no longer work where life gets reduced to binary alternatives and polarities–good and bad, White and Black, Rich and Poor.  I worked out of easy polarities a lot in the past and somehow, I find God’s presence where there is room for more complexity, more of a both/and than an either/or.  I want to build, even if that is an achingly slow and difficult process.

While I let all that rumble and roll in me, what I am most moved by is the courageous, the fierce introspection of a number of my friends. Each in their own way gives witness to the poet Anne Sexton, claim:

Not that it was beautiful,
but that, in the end, there was
a certain sense of order there;
something worth learning
in that narrow diary of my mind

Carolyn Cook, MaryBeth Butler, and Laurie Brock, (I actually only know you through your blog) what glorious writing…

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