When silence boils over and tears catch fire…..

 

Sometimes the grief sits so low in my voice
that I can only lift one finger slow to say thanks
and I must,
must let it twitch breath enough
into the heavy
until my heart starts to rise
to meet the moment
so that my life,
doesn’t close down
in a silence
that can
sink
me

if
I
don’t
grab hold the line
that the gratitude tosses me.
It’s in the thank you that the wind begins to fill me again,
gives me fresh eyes to see again the kind heart thumping grace into places grown thin.
Here I’ve landed tonight and I want to share this safe place I’ve pulled into for my soul to park
while healing prayers rise.

Feel free to share the space and rest here with me
giving thanks for

~ the big rip – the yanking off of this social band-aid
in not allowing us to cover over the wound any longer
with our hasty bandages,
grateful even for the howl of pain that shakes us to either look up and deal
or acknowledge that we choose to diminish
a bleeding human heart
(multitudes of them).

~ For leaders who get down on their knees
to scoop up the tears of the brokenhearted
and walk alongside to protect their voices,
even when those leaders must rise to protect the peaceful
in order that their voices not be
de-legitimized
by those who’ve gotten lost in the pain.

~ for voices that heal,
that respect our humanity even at our most broken.
Who refuse to demonize, to de-humanize – who hold fiery prayerful vigil in their hearts
for the right,  for the left,  for our leadership,
for people of color,  for people who are white,  for the oppressed
and for their oppressors.
For those who will not hate even though it cost them.

~ For those who keep a loving foot on each side of the political chasm.
For the bridge-builders,
the peace-makers
who perch that brave spot of tension
and reject assumption
in order to deeply listen.
Who are breaking up with being driven by agenda.

~ for
“I don’t know.”
“Help me understand.”
“Tell me more.”
”  Keep talking.  I’m not going anywhere.  Still here.  I’m listening.”

~ for every prayer rising
for leadership,
for solution,
for healing change.

~ For every heart that refuses to stop breathing hope
even when you lose it again and again.
God,  it’s so brave to hope again.
To defy disappointment and
take on hope
like a boat going down
in a storm of mercy.

And while I’m grateful also for wildly green ferns carpeting the forest floor
and the first little cucumber sliced warm into my salad
I will keep this back right now in this space
and sit instead with my white heart open to listen and learn
what my privilege may have not let me see.

“Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men.
It is the refusal to defeat any individual.
When you rise up to the level of love,  of it’s great beauty and power,
you seek only to defeat evil systems.
Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system,  you love,
but you seek to defeat the system
…..inject within the very structure of the universe the very strong and powerful element
of love.”
– Martin Luther King
(from his sermon “Loving your Enemies”)

Barbara Shallue, your name came up from the hat – big grin to send you some love.
One more giveaway this week – fresh new journal to share
Leave a comment and your name is in.

Healing the wounds of the unseen…..

026

I feel so full for my city,
even as a massive wound has been lanced and pain spills into the streets.
Charlotte is bleeding sorrow and anger and frustration and confusion.
over the disease of unseeing.

I grieve for the lives lost and silenced
because of a systemic blindness that builds fearful walls instead of seeing grace.
I feel again the white hot tears that I tasted when my own sons were shoved down on gravel
on an empty stretch of highway while police officers grabbed their tender wrists into cuffs.
They were the right color but the wrong flavor
for the rural tastes of the small nearby town that they didn’t skirt far enough
to join their friends in a field for an air soft game after school.

Their windows down, long hair flying and music turned up high on a lone country road,
my youngest, 14,  twirls his toy gun absentminded in the passenger seat
as a passerby phones in a false alarm.
Within minutes they are pulled by shouting authorities with guns drawn
who mistake my youngest son’s neurology for defiance.
He does not process quickly the clamor and shouting,
is bewildered why they have him on the ground.

In the chaos,  neither of my sons are seen.

I bristle at  the condescending severity of the voice on the line
who asks if I’m a parent who know my kids are carrying guns.
Can’t you even see the plastic orange tip on the end of the thing,  I growl
– of course I know where they’re going and my throat goes dry as I struggle to explain.
I bite down hard the angry stream of words that rises up inside,
fearing for my teenage sons who are still in their hands.

But they will come home to us that day.
No one is shot and I don’t bear in my being
a long history dark that has scarred my emotional DNA
toward badges and the people who wear them.
I know this is only a taste.

We call and arrange a face to face with the officers for early next day
-we want to make them see.
My husband and I sit across a wide table lined with defensive faces.
Their patronizing slowly turns to understanding as our quiet voices begin to paint
what they didn’t see.
We wrestle down our own defenses and lean forward to see the people behind the mistake.
We can feel the vast expanse between us come together
as we let our hearts go wide.
I was proud of us all as we stayed in that place
until peace was made.

dunes

And now my heart pulses hot grief for the man who was shot in my city this week.
Maybe plastic orange tips are harder to see when a black hand holds them,
or when a black man is too rattled to comply.
Was he just the wrong color or flavor?  I don’t know.
Won’t pretend to know the whole of his story.
Or of the young black officer who felt pressed to pull the trigger.
But the wound of years of injustice
was opened
wide
and
I see
healing
rushing
in.

~For the man who was shot down and for his family – for the all too many families before.
~For the man who felt forced to drop him.
~For those grieving another officer buried just this week
because he served a warrant to a hopeless man with a loaded gun.
~For those uniformed men who do abuse their authority and act out their distrust and fear.
~For my neighbor whose piercing wail still haunts me
because her son has been shot by a cop who must mow down her boy
because he waves a gun,  wanting to die.
~For the shaking and horrified officer whose job required him to oblige.
~For my black friend who hints that my white life must be charmed
in a way that says she doesn’t see me.
~For the places where racism hides still inside of me – places where I, too, don’t really see.
For all of the wounds of the unseen.

I see you,  Charlotte.
And even now I’m so proud of my city.
Of the healers and seers and helpers and peace-makers
that you won’t see on TV or a facebook feed.
But unless you see them,
you haven’t seen my city.

We are those who protest peaceful and work to see and respect the people behind the badges
even while we show up to let our stories speak.
We are tender-hearted public servants who fight back tears even while standing tall
to protect and keep safe the all of us,
making space for expression of people in pain.
We are many standing humble together to build
more than those who come to tear down,
than the empty-eyed inciters who have traded in their their humanity
to bleed out hopelessness,  like infection,  in our streets.

The healers and seers and helpers and peace-makers are of more powerful stuff,
living antibodies more potent than the poison can survive.
Healing is happening in my city.

010

“Means we use must be as pure as the end we seek.”
– Martin Luther King

Thank you for coming by to have a read.
For being a witness.
Your company here is bread and wine to me.