I approach religion as something I want to live with (and you will say, "No, I get it, but why?"), and you approach it as something you want to make sense of.
An uncomplicated hymn for Jasper.
I want to say to Susan, "Your grandchild is with Jesus. And all the babies, too. And all the women who died from botched abortions because they weren't legal and safe. And all the fathers who couldn't get it together to be present. And all the children who ignored their parents. And all the parents who hurt their children. Everyone gets to be in the Kindgom of Heaven. The last, first; the first, last."
When I tell you that I am a Gnostic Baptist, it's not a lasting label. I haven't been anything long enough to safely (and sagely) say, "THIS I BELIEVE," with any sort of lasting conviction.
Mustard seeds are small, stubborn, and selfish -- which are also words one could use to describe me, as long as you also whisper "petty" under your breath, too. In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, we're told that faith as small as this can, if tended, if noticed and cared for, can provide shelter. My mother, saying, "Have a beautiful life," when that isn't the story I have ever told myself, or others, about my mother's love for me, was a shattering and obliterating piece of love and forgiveness -- given and asked for -- when I wasn't sure I deserved it at all.
Who were the homestead wives? Who were the gold rush brides? Does anybody know? Do their works survive their yellow fever lives in the pages they wrote? The land was free, yet it cost their lives. -- "Gold Rush Brides," 10,000 Maniacs A lovely woman whom I don't remember meeting emails me periodically to check… Continue reading Suffering, Part 1: Margaret
My mom is 73 this year, pocked with Alzheimer's, haunted by ghosts and it can be tough to suss out from her description how many are phantoms of the mind, how many are figments of her imagination, and how many, if any, are visitors from some past Other Side. If they have a message for her, it must be frustrating. She won't remember it. "Well, your brother Michael's dead," she explained to my brother. This was after she and I had talked on the phone.
I'm going to tell a story about her, and it's a Gentlemen's Agreement story where we're going to agree, thee and me, that I am telling you the truth.