Archives for the month of: February, 2013

The waiting is the tortuous part. One doctor waits on another. One order rests on another. One test result must arrive before another. And so we wait with baited breath and knotted stomach and tangy, singed hope.

The waiting feels to me like wasting. If there is a time bomb in my body, ticking wildly toward its destruction and mine, why is everyone taking so damn long to find it? One doctor suggests another theory and a few more possible tests and I want to knock their teeth in because if that was a viable theory and a helpful test, why wasn’t it run A WEEK AGO? And I know these surgeons have real lives and they cannot wait on me hand and foot… they have real lives, sure… but so do I. So did I. I had a life once and it was not wrapped in a green sheet gown or stabbed through with needles or diced and dissected into fragmentation. I had a life like they do. “You’ll have to wait to see her. She’s at a birthday…” I went to birthday parties too once, you know.

Will I go to any more?

Will I have one of my own?

I used to want a chance to die.

Now I want a chance to live.

How long does that take, doc?

********

God is waiting too, I think. He has not shown up yet. Maybe like Dr C, he is crashing a birthday party. Maybe he’s waiting on… himself? Is he conflicted in his purpose here? Is he weighing out the risk of bending me further, stretching me farther, testing me harder? I’m a stubborn ass. I won’t break yet. Not today, anyway. Does he want to see how close I can get to that crucified place where even he knew forsakeness? I fear he is.

*******

What if it kills me?

I’m afraid that I will die before I have a chance to make myself immortal.

I’m afraid of living vicariously through Jake and never becoming my own self. That I will leave the earth and he will be all that is left of me, and then he will move on.

I’m afraid of shriveling up, or worse yet, I’m afraid that there never was a part of me that was alive enough to shrivel. I’m afraid that there is a part of me that was always dead and stifled, and somehow it is taking over more and more. It is the fecal decay… the undergrowth of my soul… that I’m afraid of. It has gotten hold of me. It is destroying me with a slow leak of poison into my gut, a cesspool of waste, and a myriad of unanswered questions and unlived possibilities.

I’m afraid I’ll die here waiting for an answer that was never there, waiting for a doctor who couldn’t know, and on a God that didn’t show up.

Waiting is the worst part.

The poet had been on the streets for too many days. Street life is strange: it’s funny how being homeless isolates you from so many people and makes you repugnant and untouchable but out there on the streets you are never alone. Isolation you feel, yes, but no solace.

The poet was tired of street life but it’s a recession. Poets are, well, nobody knows what poets are but they are not marketable. So here he was on a sad Thursday and he was tired.

Some trees on the left offered relief from the heat, and he was obliged to rest with the loiterers. Boredom sat thick in the air. One man wanted to hear the poet’s story? God knows there’s nothing else to do… so who are you?

It’s etiquette up here, in the privileged world, to clean up your story before it’s told. Under the trees, sitting in the mud with the bleeding feet and the lice and the refuse, there is no need to sound auspicious.  The poet told his story of rejection and loss… a million others like it have been told before.

One hobo offered the advice of aggression: if you are wronged, cut them. Take this gun. It will help.

Another wanted to know if the poet had any connections to exploit. If you are poor, pull yourself up. It will help.

 
The others threw in whatever answers they themselves had turned to. Ignore these circumstances, nothing is really as bad as all that. Call on family, they’re supposed to be there for you. Fill yourself fully of lecherous pleasure. It will help.
The poet sat under the tree and didn’t respond. In the infuriating silence, the others wondered if he had forgotten them, or if he was too good for them, or if he was simply mad. His story fell silent and they simply despised him. After all, he wouldn’t help himself. One by one, they left the poet.

That night the poet slept under the tree and his dreams were bitter. On Friday, the sun never rose. Finding himself utterly alone, the poet began to tremble and to sweat. The time had come at last. His courage fled him, but he sang out from the tree. He climbed upon that tree and he sang a song of death. He sang a song of emptiness, betrayal, nakedness, and pain. He sang a song of rich men brought to hunger and poor men made full. He sang a song of bereavement, abuse, hunger, and curses. He sang a song that splintered the religious and scattered the imagination. He sang a song of death and it was strong.

Take my blood. It will help.
Take my pain. It will help.
Take my death. It will help.

Take myself. I will help.

The poet sang a song. It did not rise from earth. It plunged to hell.

 
Good Friday from Feinberg 1204
Annie Bolger
February 15, 2013

The conversation is: purity in [a specific] Christian culture, a culture that was home to me for many years [North American, Protestant, evangelical, fundamentalist, etc.,].

Do any of these voices echo your experience? What insights would you add? How could you change the conversation?

1) The Modesty Rules: Is a Woman Responsible for a Man’s Lust? “Heteronormative modesty codes not only objectify women by making them responsible for the thought life of every man they encounter, but make men feel weak, guilty, and vulnerable for experiencing basic sexual attraction.”

2) Virginity: New & Improved!

“Christians say that the world objectifies women through immodest dress and a permissive sexual ethic. However, by idolizing sexual purity and preoccupying ourselves with female modesty and an emphasis on hyper-purity, Christians actually engage in reverse objectivization.”

3) I am damaged goods

“Darling, young one burning with shame and hiding in the silence, listen now: Don’t believe that lie. You never were, you never will be, damaged goods.”

4) Beauty vs. Sexuality

A broken worldview that reduces human behavior down to a predictable set of gendered, inevitable physiological responses shouldn’t be the framework for a Christian discussion of beauty, desire and the longing for affirmation.

5) Modesty and Hating Oneself: The Darker Side

“Lust is not about sexuality, but about power and control… We, as a church, need to change the conversation. We need to first teach men that blaming women for boners is not a healthy way to go through life, and that sexual attraction and not feeling sexual attraction are natural and acceptable identities. We need to broaden the conversation to talk about control and objectification rather than how one person is sinful for having a perfectly normal sexual reaction to attractiveness. We need to talk about how this thinking fuels a culture of rape.”

6) How the Modesty Doctrine Fuels Rape Culture

“It is this idea that women need to cover up because men can’t help themselves, quite simply, that fuels rape culture in our society today. The conservative evangelicals I grew up amongst might not know it, but their ideas about gender and sexuality really do promote rape culture.”

Matthew 5:8… “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”