A Charleston Lament

fog_289967177

photo by Anielik / Shutterstock.com

by Marg Herder

I wish I could make the world safe
For people
Black people
LGBTQ people
Muslim people
Impoverished people
Incarcerated people
Mentally ill people
The list goes on and on
It’s almost too much for me to bear right now

But to do that, I have to wish I could
Make the world feel safe for so many people of cultural privilege
Because it’s their fear that drives them
To wound and kill the rest of us
It’s the subconscious awareness of all they withhold
That leads them to fear we want to take
all they have
away

I want them to know there is enough
Enough food
Enough air
Enough water
Enough love
Enough

I want them to know
They don’t have to guard what can never be theirs

I don’t know how to keep fearful white men from killing black people
Whether they do it with a gun in a street or in a church
Or they do it with a signature in a statehouse
There seems to be no end to this reactive and dangerous sense of entitlement

I don’t know how to keep LGBTQ people safe either
Even when we get away from the people who hate us
We still carry the memories of their shaming words and actions
We try to create our own communities
Our own spaces, to keep ourselves safe
But those who would harm us reach into those
Through their physical presence and the media, sure
But through the endless emotional flashbacks of our own invisible trauma as well

I am convinced that this is the lesson of Gethsemane
Not Jesus crying humanly about his own impending suffering and death
But rather Jesus’ awareness of the depth of the intractable ruin of us
The universal suffering of the other who threatens the status of the entitled
just by being

I think we must create some way to rest in the illusion of deliverance
Because it’s the only way to continue
Those creative enough to do so must place hope prominently on the hill
So others can believe in it

I call out to all who have this creative ability
Fearlessly come forth with your truth
No denials, no platitudes, no false reassurance
Come forth and teach us
To find rest in God’s illusory promise of equality and justice

And those of us who know the truth of Gethsemane, especially
Have to find some way to dwell emotionally in Her embrace
Even while our hearts and bodies continue to be battered
by the harsh realities of this earthly sojourn
Even as logic clearly indicates that this fundamental and immutable misunderstanding
of privilege and the other
Cannot be resolved

Marg Herder is a writer, audio artist, photographer, and feminist spiritual seeker.  She currently serves as Director of Public Information for EEWC-Christian Feminism Today. The primary focus of her creative work is exploring the connective tissue between incarnation and spirituality, especially as it relates to issues of gender and LGBTQ justice.

You may also like...

Comment policy: ESA represents a wide variety of understandings and practices surrounding our shared Christian faith. The purpose of the ESA blog is to facilitate loving conversation; please know that individual authors do not speak for ESA as a whole. Even if you don\'t see yourself or your experience reflected in something you read here, we invite you to experience it anyway, and see if God can meet you there. What can take away from considering this point of view? What might you add? The comments section below is where you can share the answers to those questions, if you feel so moved. Please express your thoughts in ways that are constructive, purposeful, and respectful. Give those you disagree with the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are neither idiots nor evil. Name-calling, sweeping condemnations, and any other comments that suggest you have forgotten that we are all children of God will be deleted. Thank you!

6 Responses

  1. anita says:

    instant tears…spirit moving…emotions rising
    thank you for your honest words
    much love to you

  2. Marg Herder says:

    Oh Anita, thank you for your kind words. You are one of the creative people who “fearlessly come forth with your truth.”

  3. Marg, I am delighted to see your name as the author of this wonderful article.

  4. Tiana says:

    Thank you Marg. Your poem was thought-provoking. You touched on all issues, thank you. So much is going on in our country, our planet and within the consciousness of individual who think there is not enough for everyone. Your poem reminded us that there’s
    enough love. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *