Indigo World

The Girl with the Weight of the World in her Hands

She won’t recover from her losses,
She’s not chosen this path, but she watches who it crosses
Maybe move to the right, maybe move to the left
So we can all see her pain she wears like a banner on her chest
And we all say it’s sad, and we think it’s a shame
And she’s called to our attention, but we do not call her name,
The girl with the weight of the world in her hands.

We’re busy with our happiness, busy with our plans
I wonder if alone she wants it taken from her hands
But if things didn’t get any harder
She might miss her sacred chance to go a consecrated martyr,
The girl with the weight of the world in her hands.

I wonder which saint that lives inside a bead
will grant her consolation when she counts upon her need
It makes us all angry though we feign to care
But who will be the scale to weigh the cross she has to bear,
The girl with the weight of the world in her hands.

“Is the glass half-full or empty?” I ask her as I fill it
She said it doesn’t really matter, pretty soon you’re bound to spill it.
With the half logic language of the sermon she delivers
And the way she smiles so knowingly at me gives me the shivers
I pull the blanket higher when I’m finally safe at home
And she’ll take a hundred with her, but she always sleeps alone,
The girl with the weight of the world in her hands.

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Saints

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Indians

Well…Iraqis. I was captivated by the cover photo on a recent edition of Newsweek…it was the picture of a young boy, probably 4 or 5 years old, holding a machine gun. The cover story talked about the new jihadists, about the essentially generation and a half of children, adolescents and young adults who have, for various reasons and as a result of several situations, are becoming the next generation of soldiers, militia, insurgents, jihadists, whatever you want to categorize them as. I prefer to see them as a generation and a half of children and young men and women who have been traumatized by war, by economic embargo, by poverty, by seeing more than anyone should ever have to see, whatever their age, and it’s frightening to think about an entire society of people traumatized and un(der)educated and how we (people somewhere close to my age) will interact with them one day. (Incidentally the un(der)educated part is a statement of fact rather than critique. It used to be 70% elementary-aged children attending school. That number now is more like 36-39% and even then, those children probably aren’t learning everything they should what with all the bombs exploding outside the school windows.) Violence begets violence and we are not innocent in this matter. Well…America is not innocent. Well…our political leaders who have established the policies in the early ’90s that drove the people to trust the militias and the…well…gangs…for their welfare rather than their government. Let’s face it, neither were stellar. No one really had anyone’s best interests at heart…save their own.
So here we are. 5 year olds running around with weapons of not so mass destruction but they can do some damage. 9 year olds with their own kalishnakovs. 17 year olds who are pissed off with the other side after helping to prepare nearly 300 brutally killed people for burial. No wonder they are traumatized. What, then, should be our response? A “surge” of military strength? Who’s going to raise a generation of children who have experienced the atrocities of war…a war that we prompted and intensified? Correction. That this government prompted and intensified? (I no longer give major institutions the right to speak for me. They lost that privilege a long time ago.) And for what else should we be responsible. No. Really be responsible for this time. What should we do? And how can we do it? The big picture seems too big…and the powers that be can’t even catch a small glimpse of that picture. Who, then, can take the lead? Who sees what I see, and a whole lot more, and can do something about it? Really do something about it? You want to talk about unfair and injustice…here it is.

Nomads

I have a nomadic spirit…and at least once a year…usually about this time, I need to go. I need to travel to a new place and experience new cultures and new people. I need to see more of this world. I’m not sure where the next place should be…or when I will get to go there. For now, I have to relegate my travels to books that take me to far off places and introduce me to other cultures. It’s not quite what I had in mind…because there’s nothing like the real thing.

I don’t really know where the nomad in me stems from…neither can I tell you about the Slav that lives within. I have no idea where either originated, but they are there and from time to time, they clamor for my attention.

And some days, I wish I had done more…seen more…experienced more than I did before I settled down into wifedom (thought I truly LOVE that role and wouldn’t trade it for anything)…but then, that comes from the rearview of hindsight. Fortunately, I have a willing travel partner…just not enough vacation time to get away as much as we would like.

Where do I get one of those?

On Saturday mornings, my dad gets up earlier than many like to given the opportunity to sleep in to go to a local restaurant to have breakfast with his “group.” It is a group of about 1/2 a dozen men from varying faith traditions, work background, education levels, what have you…and all are brilliant and in touch with the world around them and, inevitably, the theological issues that are raised on this journey of life. They are earthy. They are honest. They love and care for one another. They support one another and give each other the gift of a safe place to share their thoughts on any- and everything. Almost always, they talk about politics and eventually they come to matters of theology and faith. Where do I get one of those?

I went to Sunday School at my new church last Sunday. It was my first time to try a class at this church, the first time in about a year that I have attended Sunday school and the first time since college that I actually attended a class with people close to my age (I think I was still the youngest in the room). So needless to say, I was a little skeptical (as I am about most things concerning the institution), but I need the community and the relationships and I do truly believe that I can learn something from everyone. I gotta admit. It was tough. The class is comprised of couples ranging from late 20’s to mid-30’s, all married, some with a child or two. And we were split up by gender. The class has initiative and wanted to do something a little different, to not stay bound to the curriculum and good for them. I like variety and trying new things. So they have decided for 8 weeks to split up and the men are reading one book while the women read another (both appropriate more for the particular gender). The women…we…are reading Having a Mary Spirit. I forget the author but it’s the same woman who wrote Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Wow. It’s hard for me to read it. There was a time when I would have eaten that book up in my quest to be holy as God is holy. Lord, change me, make me pure and holy and more like you was my ever urgent, insistent prayer. My prayer now is neither urgent nor insistent. Most days, it is, in fact, nonexistant, as it has been for nearly 3 years since my mom’s sudden and untimely death. Regardless, through the experience of her death and my experience of grief and other experiences from the past nearly 3 years, God has changed me and made me a little more like Godself. Back to the book, though, it carries that same urgent, insistent, “God change me now” tone and I have a hard time with that. It feels very hyper and frenetic to read. As for content, I have a hard time with that as well. Mostly, I have a hard time with the implicit call to throw the baby out with the bathwater. She is calling for us to shed every part of ourselves, for it’s all (or mostly all) bad and sinful and there’s no room for the Holy Spirit to take up residence as much as she (my gender pronoun) should. I see it differently. I think that, if we really are created in the image of God, then something of God already resides within us and we are not 100% “hateful, awful people.” That when all else is stripped away, the essence of who we are, our true self, the self in the image of God, remains. And the Spirit is already present with us in that space for we are spiritual beings anyway.

I struggle to read this book. I struggle even to talk about it because I struggle with being on, and trying to dismount, my self-righteous, educated high horse. My husband says I need to try to build some bridges to people who go about their spirituality differently. And he’s right. And I’m trying. I’m going to go back to that class. I have almost completely caught up with the reading (8 chapters by Sunday) and that only after having gone once. I do want to know what these women are reading and thinking about, even if it doesn’t work for how I experience my faith. We are all different and there is no Right Path to God. I just wish someone would try to build some bridges to my teeny part of the Home for the Exiled Square Pegs.

I think that perhaps if I could have a group of square pegs with whom to interact and spend regular time, if I could be fed there, then I can build bridges with more ease. Any takers?

Resistance

In light of the current state of things…

Pledge of Resistance:

“We believe that as people living
in the United States it is our
responsibility to resist the injustices
done by our government,
in our names

Not in our name
will you wage endless war
there can be no more deaths
no more transfusions
of blood for oil

Not in our name
will you invade countries
bomb civilians, kill more children
letting history take its course
over the graves of the nameless

Not in our name
will you erode the very freedoms
you have claimed to fight for

Not by our hands
will we supply weapons and funding
for the annihilation of families
on foreign soil

Not by our mouths
will we let fear silence us

Not by our hearts
will we allow whole peoples
or countries to be deemed evil

Not by our will
and Not in our name

We pledge resistance

We pledge alliance with those
who have come under attack
for voicing opposition to the war
or for their religion or ethnicity

We pledge to make common cause
with the people of the world
to bring about justice,
freedom and peace

Another world is possible
and we pledge to make it real.”

The Not In Our Name Pledge of Resistance was created collectively by artists and activists in April 2002 as a means of inspiring protest and resistance. It is at the heart of the Not In Our Name Project.