as most of my posts have been this summer…wait, is it still summer? i guess, in theory, it is…i don’t know where this will begin or where it will end, but i will write until we get there.
i am stunned by robin williams’ death. stone cold. speechless and stunned. and i am sad. just sad about it. but ann-without-an-e and glennon were not speechless and they both found words in what seemed like minutes that wrapped around our tragedy and i will point to them because i have no better words, no other offering than what they have already said on behalf of us all who have suffered, or have loved deeply someone who struggled to their death.
and don’t you be naive or allow yourself to be fooled. please do not choose that road. the road of lalala i can’t hear you and if i close my eyes then you can’t see me.
i call it “our” tragedy because it is.
because he belongs to us, robin does. he was my dad and your brother and our sister, and he is everyone we have ever known whom we have loved dear and held so close and fought their darkness in the light. and for those who have fought on our -my- behalf…
i think that’s why no one has the right words and so we placate with christianese and weird, wrong thoughtlessness but we mean well. and some of us criticize now those who use “platitudes” is the word i keep hearing. and i get why that makes us all mad. it makes me mad, too. because god isn’t a band-aid, nor is he a bully or a big boss in the sky and i believe with all of my heart – my whole heart – that he loves and he knows and suffers alongside and my god whom i know and the one who loves me raw is a god who knows intimately the gravity of that depression from a son who asked for his cup to be passed, the weight of oh my god the weight is just too much.
but the thing is, they mean well. i think that they do. i hope that in their heart, they really do mean well.
when my dad died, it took about 17 seconds for me to realize that people who haven’t been through this – through anything even remotely close to it, even – they access whatever thing they can draw from because it’s what we do and then they just say the first wrong thing that comes to their mind, and they don’t know it’s wrong -at all- because they haven’t cried our battle-cry. not yet, but they will. my dad had never died before, and then he did and now i know that the only thing that comforts are no words at all but just showing up and being present and not needing anything from those who don’t know what they need at a time like this and the best words of all are, “i’m sorry, this sucks”, and to really, really mean it when you say it. because, no matter what you believe or where your faith lies, for those of us here, it just does and that’s all there is to it. and it’s a comfort – i guess…no, it is, it has to be… – that i’ll get to see him again, or you will, but i want to see him now.
and so i think of zelda. daughter too young for a dad gone too soon.
and, really, for any of us it could be us. we are his daughter, or we could be him. at any point. and you may not know the monster, as glennon calls it, but plenty of us do. and i’m glad for those of you who don’t, but i’m sorry for you if you don’t because it cracks your heart wide and makes your blood cold when we lose one of our own, like g said.
and we are all one of our own.
you’re not exempt. none of us are. you will have some kind of turn at this, in some kind of way. and it will suck and gut you and you will get through it, in whatever way.
and i’m so sorry that you will. because it will suck and gut you, but i promise you will get through it, in whatever way.
and that is your own journey, but you will find there are fellow sojourners familiar with the path you are on.
and so for those who don’t know, just know that there are those of us who do and you will know it when you get there and we will be waiting for you and i can’t even be upset with you because i really do get it. you’ll know, and my heart will be ready to break for you all over again, too. and it won’t matter that you haven’t gotten it before, because you will get it then and you will die inside but from death comes life if you wait long enough for it, even if the waiting gets ugly or you get impatient because sometimes both are true, and life still comes.
the world is just not perfect. it just isn’t. please, christians, don’t be those christians that punish those who hurt. that’s not god’s way. we are all afraid, and i understand that’s why you think everyone needs jesus and suicide is sin but, really, that is your own fear in a pocket-size god. and, again, i’m not mad at you for this, i’m just speaking truth some of the rest of us have had the gut-wrenching, heartbreakingly beautiful privilege of knowing in our bones, deep and wide.
Jesus never had to announce himself or use his name, he just showed as an offering. he became hope because he is hope and that’s all the hope we have to give, too. unfancy, unannounced.
we are all suffering from something. we are ALL suffering from something.
and we are all healing from something. recovering, healing, getting better from or about or related to some part of life’s journey, if we afford ourselves the chance. and we must do this. we must afford ourselves the chance to hurt because it’s the only way we can get better..
we are ALL on a journey. the best we have is to notice each other. you’re not on a different road than i am. i’m not an island, and i promise i will share with you my water if -together- we can promise not be afraid, or do it anyway, even if we are.
because the world, this world, is ugly and wrong and bad things happen, and jesus is still present and he doesn’t hate – in fact, he deeply and passionately and isn’t mad at, i really don’t believe that he is – those who just can’t take it anymore. our god – my god – loves. he just does. he only loves.
and, yes, our god is a god of mercy and justice and judgment, if that’s what you want to call it, but we get it wrong, i think. we use those as a means of punishment, when jesus uses them to set us free. i just think we get it wrong when all jesus does is love, even if it hurts. in fact, especially when it hurts, he isn’t hurting us to be mean or to punish us or to spiritually abuse us. sometimes we perceive it as such and so we justify treating others as such. let’s not do that, either. we’re brothers and sisters. let’s love like that, with the kind of love that’s meant for us to love. let’s love not til we hurt each other, but until we hurt for each other. let’s stop being so mean to each other in the name of jesus. he’s not mean. fear is what makes me mean. (usually. unless i’m just tired and/or plain cranky.) is that what makes you ornery, too?
i’m listening to “jesus, you’re beautiful” by john thurlow because it’s what filtered through…over and over again, “jesus, you’re beautiful…your eyes are flames of fire…” and it’s true. his eyes burn and they burn and they burn with fire and love and passion. he is not threatened by our unbelief or our lack of faith when all it takes is a mustard seed. he is not keeping score and tallying up all the times we trusted and all the times we haven’t, just that we want to and we’re trying, and our hearts really are good because he made them and he lives there, in ALL of us.
and so is what is happening to the families in the middle east. the tragedy there, i mean. oh, god, how that belongs to us, too. they do, i mean. they belong to us.
ferguson. oh, ferguson. you belong to me, too. you belong to us all. why is there so much hate among us?
it’s thursday now and gungor’s “you have me” is now playing on spotify as i wait for rosters to print for the faculty i serve. i love this song. i go to his dad’s church, my new church. i love my church. do you know what the name of our church is? sanctuary. that’s all. just “sanctuary”. and that’s just what it is, to us all. and nothing has been said there publicly about whatever nonsense folks are blasting michael about these days, and all would be welcome there. so, stop that. we are all on a journey. listen. we are ALL on a journey. and we are all worthy because of jesus. not because of us, or our own theology. but because jesus who asked for his to cup to pass drank his cup, anyway, and that’s the cup from which all now drink. do you know what i’ve learned since starting seminary? that i still have a lot to learn and we are all here trying to understand god better. but if i’m too busy trying to figure out god, then i get distracted from my job, which is to love people and appreciate their journey. so i leave it to my teachers to teach, and i listen and learn and i wrestle but then it all still boils down to love. that is the thing.
and now the brilliance, which is michael’s brother’s band, is singing, “shepherd strong”. we have a strong shepherd and michael is singing about it. we need to get over ourselves, y’all.
this. these. all of everyone. they are ours, too. and if you feel upset and mad and angry and you want to scream and cry and like you don’t know what to do because what can you do and even prayer doesn’t seem like enough but it’s freaking all we have, then just be that. we all have a right to be pissed right now. at disease and destruction and injustice. get mad at the right things, though, and love each other.
be uncomfortable and pray whatever you can because we all need saving, and we all need healing, even those who have had some amount of both, because we all have had that, too.
but do not take it away from those who suffer with bless your hearts and god save his soul when all we really have -all any of us have- is, “help us, god.”
please allow your heart to break, to ache. please FEEL this. don’t go numb or check out or turn off your tv or your computer and pretend like it will just go away because it’s not going away.
and please don’t preach. let’s not do that to each other. just love. that’s all. just love.
we must hurt over this, ALL of this and these and OURS, in order to know we are fully alive. in order to experience some amount of beauty in all of this tragedy – because surely there is some amount of beauty in all of this tragedy – we must hurt, achingly so, over this. jesus does.
there is beauty in the brokenness and there is always, usually, a breakdown before there is a break-through if we just keep breaking through or give others permission to break through us or until we just break, and that’s okay, too.
we must mourn those who die, wail over those who take their own lives and those who are taking lives, those who are committing a slow suicide and you are wearing yourself out trying to keep it from happening.
i know what that’s like.
on both ends, i know what it’s like.
to be the one who desperately needs saving and the one who rescues because she knows she needs a rescue.
and what i know is that only jesus…
actually, that’s it.
that’s all i know.
i have no other words than this.
i didn’t mean to have any words about this, but i guess maybe i did. go read glennon’s and ann’s words, too. you’ll be glad you did. or sad. or mad. feel all of it, though, all the feelings you feel. and know that you are safe, and you are loved, and we will make it through this thing together. xo