Confronted by violence

Audible gasps at what was taking place outside filled the cafe which was occupied by people enjoying a rare Friday off work. Wretched from their conversations by an act of violence, rather a reminder of one from thousands of years ago, horrific and excruciating. I felt it too as I saw the crowd slowly entering my periphery carrying two heavy lumps of wood joined together as an instrument of torture and death. Sat here, fully intending to use this time to reflect on the reason for today, a stark reminder forced itself upon me.

I sat here as a fellow onlooker, not as a participant, feeling a bit like the estranged child. Even in my distance, this very morning I forced my focus on the cross with a bloodied, battered Jesus, feeling like a bystander more than a disciple. Surely those who weren’t heckling must have been deeply disturbed by witnessing such an act, much as those who have seen an act of violence on the street have felt. I wondered if I had a right to grieve today, the right to feel that guilt that Good Friday carries with it. After all, I’m not one walking the street, carrying the cross.

Then I remembered that recent moment when my husband told me about a friend who took his life. We hadn’t spoke in a few years and never were close, but news of his death hit home and made me cry. I was upset for what he had been through, what had driven him to take his life, how that would impact his family and close friends. I felt like a bystander, rocked by the emotion of such a violent act that felt a bit personal. And I can’t say I questioned the rightness of my emotions so why in this case today, where I remember that someone was martyred, suicide with a cause, on the behalf of a messed up humanity, individually and systemically.

It’s right that my satellite soul which will always orbit around my faith, however flawed, weak or unapparent it might be on the outside, should feel the grief over such a loss. It is shocking. It is horrific. It was done, this act of passion, with a heavenly womb full of everlasting hope. Hope that reminds me today on this bleak depressing holiday, while I sip my coffee, that the violence will lose. All the horror and shock and injustice will be rolled away by hope and life.

I can’t imagine what I would feel as those women who gathered at the foot of the cross while Jesus drew that last breath. The devastation of that is something I can’t allow myself to feel because mentally I just couldn’t take it. Thank heaven I exist in the passage of time that I can see the hope more strongly than the despair, though that veil be thick.

Though we be confronted by violence, may we be met with hope. May it brace us for those instances where we are confronted by love when love is painful and makes us feel so vulnerable.

Confronted by violence

A racist’s confession and challenge

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I couldn’t have been more than 17 when, grasping the white supremacist flyer, my friend and I drove up to the gas station, pulled in and made our way to the pay phone. We didn’t have mobile phones in those days and besides, it was a higher call rate number. We brought out the flyer and dialed the number carefully, holding the phone between our ears. Some guy got on the line going on about the purity of the white race, yadda yadda yadda. We were titillated.

My yearbook from that year isn’t one I’d readily pull out to show off yet look at myself. The same friend and I somehow ended up privately sharing views on white supremacy, tagging SWP and other neo-nazi jargon onto each other’s pages. We each had friends who were not white and would have never seen them as lesser than ourselves, but for some reason we started entertaining the hatred, minus any specific face to associate it with. Perhaps it was because we’d both dated a guy before we knew each other who was all about the white power. He was also the only guy who ever hit me and was verbally abusive and, for shame, I dated him twice. But I think really for me, it was because I was angry at the world and at those black guys who wouldn’t listen to the word STOP, causing my friends and I to have to physically defend ourselves. We could have just as easily hated on student journalists, which they were, or high school boys, which they also were, but we chose black.

Let my 39 year old self be clear: There is no excuse for having SWP and 88 written proudly in your high school yearbook, surrounded by innocent messages of ‘Have a great summer, keep in touch!’ If I could have a do-over…

This isn’t something I talk about, ever. I was reminded of it when discussing the election with a friend who commented that his actions and those all too familiar words against women were in the past, and we shouldn’t hold it against him. I am steering clear of discussing Trump here, so won’t comment further on that, but I will say it gave me a moment’s pause, remembering my adolescent stupidity. And truthfully, as much as I try not to hold any prejudices against anyone now, I am still human and prone to doing so, but I am only too aware of this.

But seeing these reports and videos of the increase in racist attacks in the states, hearing people’s fears of being harmed, witnessing public figures both in Trump’s crew and those riding his coat tails say things undoubtedly reeking of racism, I have to let you know this about me. Because this behaviour cannot be ignored. For the sake of your vulnerable, impressionable teenagers and children and of course, for those who it would cause physical and emotional harm. You cannot pass someone up who is publicly declaring white power and that this is what will make America great again. Don’t assume they’ll go away. Let your children see you stand up and say this is not right, not acceptable, not what you voted for. Get out from behind your ballot (or lack thereof) and stand for something in your community with your whole self. Challenge racism (and all the other isms) as if your life depended on it.

 

 

A racist’s confession and challenge

Attributing due value and love

The 15th of October has been dubbed International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day as I was reminded today. The idea is very simple: Light a candle from 7-8pm your local time in remembrance of those who have been lost too young. I’ll be lighting two candles, one for Blueberry and one for Butterbean. It’s a nice way of paying tribute to these little ones who have had an impact on our lives though we never met them. It’ll be my way of acknowledging the dreams, hopes, fears, love and sore boobs I experienced. Each day gets easier but the loss will always be there no matter what.

Attributing due value and love

A neighbourly Valentine’s Day

WHEW! It has been a long while! Frankly I haven’t had much to say (believe it or not), at least not publicly so rather than bore you with my tiresome drawl I’ve kept things quiet. I’ve got a fantastic story to share now though!

As you may know, yesterday was the loathed/loved celebration of Valentine’s Day. I’m not overly keen on it myself but I married a romantic guy who likes it, so I do oblige. Having felt a bit detached from, well, pretty much everything non-work-related recently, I’ve really been missing doing little community things but I don’t really have the time to plan much or even get inspired to start with. Yet on Saturday in a huff of extreme life boredom, I had an epiphany: I would spend Sunday baking cookies for our neighbours in our block of flats. We’ve got a table in the foyer commonly used to flog off unwanted items, so the scene was perfectly do-able. Continue reading “A neighbourly Valentine’s Day”

A neighbourly Valentine’s Day

LOVE.

I was just getting an address from the only place we’ve got all our addresses consolidated right now: from our wedding guest list. I’ve got an idea about how to change that without going the dull address book route, but I’ll fill you in on that another time. I rediscovered this poem that we had put in our order of service. It speaks so well of unconditional love: the kind we should have for God and one another, romantically or otherwise. Bringing out the best in one another. I hope you dig it too.


“Love”


I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I Love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

© Roy Croft (1907 – 1973).

LOVE.

‘Alright I’ll Cave’ – November 2007

I dug this oldie up and dusted it off from Myspace. Hope you enjoy it…. he still makes me feel the same way!


November 20, 2007


I’ve had quite a past of writing about relationship woes… rather…. the woes of absent relationships. I’ve blogged about weirdos with hygeine problems. I’ve blogged about hiding behind racks of clothing to get away from dudes in pursuit. I’ve blogged about beat poets resembling Greek gods. I’ve blogged about hopes, dreams, what-if’s and pity-parties. And yet… I have avoided blogging about the current ‘In a Relationship’ status to save your stomaches from turning or to keep the ‘awwwwww’s to a minimum. Even now I’m going to take a few gulps of wine and divulge here that I have met someone massively awesome. *pause for effect and a bit of blush (of the wine sort)*

I’m going to spare you the details of how we met and just say we’ve known each other for about a year yet never spoke. Both of us were in bad places at the time and frankly, we weren’t terribly impressed by one another. Affiliations and work happened to throw us into the same boat at the end of the summer and finally we concluded that we needed to sit down for a good get to know you chat. Several coffee dates later, a few films, many more-than-bizarre conversations later, we decided that we should try this thing…. this thing called… ‘us.’ *cue Barry White*

Okay so now I’ve got this guy who I’ve grown rather fondly attached to (and hopefully he will comment at the end of this letting you all know that he too is rather fond of me hint hint ) in a pretty short amount of time. But I guess it’s time I jumped on my ‘I waited a long freaking time to be this happy and I’m going to tell the world’ bandwagon. *cue sweaty televangelist Vickie, feverishly wiping dripping brow with hanky while inserting grunts after every important point, beckoning the necessary amens in all the right places*

Ladies: I have found that having high expectations is perfectly fine. True- you won’t get everything you wanted. My Rob isn’t very handy at DIY. But then I am. So hooray I get to hang all the shelves in the future unless I want them to crash down onto the floor. I always thought I’d end up with someone over 6′. Guess what? Turns out that someone just a few inches taller than me is a hell of a lot better. I thought he’d have dark hair. Nope. And you know what…. I couldn’t have asked for any better. Sure he does make me want to beat him senselesssometimes but he’s a man, I’m a woman and our brains just don’t work the same sometimes (poor guy hahhaha ).

Okay, now for the sappy, this is how Rob treats me bit (because he’s been chomping at the bit for me to publicly share all this hard work he’s been putting into us- guys, this is your cue to get your notebooks).

– Rob likes to cuddle. I like to cuddle. We cuddle and he looks down at me and tells me things like “You look like a little eskimo”, “You’re so pretty”, and simply “I love you.”

– Rob goes into hysterical laughing fits because he thinks I’m cute. He just can’t take it. (who could!?)

– Rob gets 1000 free texts each month. A good portion of these are spent sending letter-by-letter messages or xoxo’s. He’s also become accustomed to texting me comic strips in the mornings when he’s on his way to university.

– Rob puts up with (and seems to understand) my silliness. I once cheered him up by pretending to be a turtle and demonstrating what it would look like for a turtle to kiss him.

– He has no adversion to talking about our grandchildren. He even brings the subject up himself.

– This past weekend I was not in a very good mood on Friday. He didn’t know this but he called to see if we could meet at Starbucks for a coffee date. I showed up, less than glowing, to find that he’d somehow secured purple tulips (my favourite flower ever), he bought me coffee, listened to my crap (with a great deal of concern), then bought me pizza for dinner, prayed for me, and was generally awesome. The next day he held me while I sobbed for no real reason, prayed for me some more, and was generally awesome once again. The following day he also took me out for dinner. (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things in there somewhere…)

– Rob sings me songs all the time. Sometimes they’re really silly, like comparing me to the flashing light on top of Canary Wharf. Other times it’s all I can do to not cry.

I don’t really know what I did to deserve this guy. I don’t know how he puts up with me. I really really don’t know how he can love me so much. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks sweetheart. You have the power of taking away my speech. 

‘Alright I’ll Cave’ – November 2007