Archive for December, 2014
My fingers chilled as I grasped my breakfast smoothie while walking around our frozen garden this morning. I barely noticed my discomfort as my mind and heart roiled with outrage about so many authoritarian systems that are critically messed up. I had just been reading about Mary, wondering what it must have been like to be at the mercy of such an intrusive angelic visitation; we tend to rush over her human fear and natural anxiety and quickly project our more comfortable illusions of sainthood on this tender soul.
As I comforted my own ancient wounds of being raised a woman in a male-dominated culture and recognized afresh the tremendous hope that lies buried in this advent story, the last words of Eric Garner rolled across my computer screen:
“EVERY TIME YOU SEE ME, YOU WANT TO MESS WITH ME. I’M TIRED OF IT. IT STOPS TODAY (….) I’M MINDING MY BUSINESS, OFFICER, I’M MINDING MY BUSINESS. PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE. I TOLD YOU THE LAST TIME, PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE. PLEASE. PLEASE, DON’T TOUCH ME. DO NOT TOUCH ME. (GARBLED)
I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE.”
How clear to all of us that, once again, our legal system fails to honor the powerless, the invisible, and the threatened poor. Our power-based civil and governmental systems are clearly so broken in so many ways. These days we as global citizens are bombarded with the experience of outrageous acts of injustice. How do you find your own way to live with both anger about injustice and hope for change?
As I walked the garden, I listened to my angry confusion, and my own helplessness ‘to do’ anything. Then I dropped even deeper – skirting, and then revolving around the precipice of a deep vacuous grief. That’s where I write from today.
I offer that the hope of Advent might be leading us this year into a deep grieving in our communities for all the ways we are broken: individually and corporately. I call for long moments of silence, for public tears and profound wailing, of communal grief rituals that allow the light to shine through the cracks of our brokenness. We urgently need communal experience to unstop our grief before it turns ugly and violent.
It is easier to be numb and silent than to be angry, it is easier to be angry than to be sad, to truly mourn. It is exceedingly hard to honor that silent one inside us, in those around us who cannot breathe, to give voice to all that resists dying un-mourned and un-witnessed. Let’s take heart that yet another travesty of injustice may become a harbinger for change! May we as faithful and authentic witnesses of this deep darkness each be willing to take our unique place in this messed up order of things; to be available to risk everything in order to uncover our outrage and our passion. Then and only then will we find the divine freedom to inseminate those prepared birth seeds of expectant hope and new life.
Dec 4, 2014