part the second
Susan Shapiro suggests Make Me Worry You're Not O.K. by writing from the heart as part of shedding "vanity and pretension." Did you realize "The biggest mistake new writers make is going to the computer wearing a three-piece suit"? Because "This rarely inspires brilliance or self-insight." So I don't exactly flaunt 3- or 2-piece suits, but still, fresh cargos (long pants in cooler weather, shorts or skirts in warmer) with a light bright sweater and shirt is tame and safe, most places, almost any time of the day, and makes me appear as okay as most other people along this coast.
RevGalBlogPal Julie at The Preacher and the Party Store, wrote about being at her Dad's funeral and seeing pictures of him when he "had flesh on, was more energetic and whole. ...how quality of life slips away so slowly, it's easy to miss, easy to forget what it used to be." My story exactly! Though in terms of avoirdupois for sure I do not lack flesh, I still miss the enfleshment of being part of life, of the action. Now that we've celebrated Christmas – Incarnation! – with a star, a song, and a child, I'll dare include clothed in the vulnerability of community. And you know I long ago gave up imagining the ideal rather than the real typically – or ever – would obtain.
Like everyone, I've many losses yet to grieve; many unacknowledged, buried emotions that may or may not need liberation. In some ways my life as I knew it slowly unwound and unraveled; in other ways I simply kept on keeping on, carefully preparing for a future that simply hasn't yet dawned. My last year in City of History started becoming my index as to how I was doing. Rather than sites of bondage and imprisonment, those were spaces and places of relative freedom and service. The disappointments and devastations of the two decades since then have affected me deeply and (apparently) completely invisibly! Death takes many forms. I've predeceased my former friends, but no one has held my funeral because no one notices or realizes. Via Ezekiel [37:12], God promises, "I will open your graves!"
Phillip Phillips sings "Hold On," from Greg Holden and Andrew Pearson
To paraphrase words I read a couple weeks ago 2, nature has ways to scrub things clean, through storms, winds, rains, the pasts all washed away for a fresh start, making space for seedlings to replace lost trees. There’s no way to turn back this process.Hold on to me as we go, as we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along, just know you're not alone
Cause I'm going to make this place your home
Settle down, it'll all be clear; don't pay no mind to the demons; they fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm going to make this place your home 1
In his foreward to The Word On the Street, Walter Brueggemann reminds us, "The bread is thin and the wine is poured out, and Easter is fragile news wherever it is told and trusted. None of that is compelling, unless one is on the street to see it, unless one is free to discern it, unless some are bold enough to sing it and say it. This act of evangelical reconstrual is daring and always uphill, but in no other way will the street be seen to be congruent with the word." [xv] 3
Recently I've really really noticed a TV commercial where the main character tells us she lived for dinners with family and friends; I also lived for those sometimes frequent, more often occasional, times of good friends, good food, good drink, good conversation. "The reconstruction of [a person's] social space..." (The Word on the Street, p. 164) also is daring and always uphill. I'm very very definitely not O.K., I'm trying to convince you by shedding some vanity, pretension, and the parts of a past that no longer works for me or for anyone. I long and ache for the flesh of community back on my bones. But is church not where the baptized connect with each other, in the Spirit make space and newness, create context and community for each other? I don't know. I'm asking. I'm alone, I'm lost, lookin' to be found, my life cries out for resurrection!
1. lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing LLC, Razor & Tie Direct LLC, Universal Music Publishing Corp.
2. A Glimpse of Heaven: Life After the Tragedy in Sandy Hook
3. In The Word on the Street: Performing the Scriptures in the Urban Context. Stanley P Saunders and Charles L Campbell, authors; foreword by Walter Brueggemann.