Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little epigram-poem-thingy I wrote


Regret I
know is just a bone gnawed
clean of its marrow, best buried
and forgotten.  And yet
I regret.

Monday, October 25, 2010

And in the midst of it all....

It's just one of those days.  The weather is gray, drizzly, and sodden - glum in a way that only the rust belt can do.   I'm supposed to be working on my novel revision (which is finally going well) but I'm jumpy and can't concentrate because my sister in law (who has brain cancer) is in crisis.  So I feel guilty about not getting my work done (you know the drill) and heartbroken for my sister in law, her husband, her kids, and her big brother - my dear husband who has already lost one sister.

Yet....  when I went to let the dog out, waiting irritably in the rain while he did his doggy thing, I saw  the cups of the nasturtium leaves, a raindrop gem in each one, like transitory white star sapphires.  And in that moment I went from miserable to enchanted, running to get my camera, standing delightedly in the rain (while, in a nice turnabout, my dog waited impatiently for me to finish up my foolishness) trying to capture even a tiny bit of the casual perfect beauty nature made.

These are the things that save me every day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hate mail

(Advance apologies for the length and seriousness of this post! I won't make a habit of it.)

So I just got my first hate mail. And it was for writing a poem about the bible. Go figure. I was trying to explore the character of Job's wife whose only recorded words are "Bless God and die" (mistranslated later as "curse God and die"). Those are the words of a devastated broken-hearted woman. And what woman wouldn't be who had lost all ten of her children at once?

I was also writing the poem from my own experience as a woman who had lost two babies through miscarriage, both due to toxins in the water supply. After the first baby died, I had a D & C in the hospital under anesthesia. When they woke me I began weeping uncontrollably. They sent a nun in to me who held my hand and told me not to cry because Jesus had wanted my baby. I said angrily (only because I was still woozy from the drugs. Normally I would have just thought it.) "He didn't want it as much as I did!" So let's talk about God and Jesus and all those things I normally avoid because belief is such a deeply personal thing.

I believe in God. I believe that God is, first and foremost, love - my love for my family and friends, their love for me, and also my love of the stunning beauty of the world around me. These things are God's grace in my life, helping me get through the things that would seem otherwise unbearable.  What I don't believe is that God put toxins in the Williamsburg, VA water supply to kill my babies as a test or because Jesus wanted them. God made the water and the air, but man poisoned it.

Now lets talk about Jesus. I was raised going to church in that habitual not-deeply-felt Presbyterian way. I was baptised, I wore a gold cross through my teens, my mother read me the bible sometimes (and I cried my head off when Joseph's very mean brothers threw him in the pit). It was simply a part of my life. But then people started to tell me that unless I believed that I was born in sin and that Jesus Christ died on the cross for that sin (of being normally procreated and born to a woman) and if I didn't accept Him as my personal savior, I was going to burn in Hell.  Scary stuff, so I tried. I went to church and prayed hard to God and Jesus to show me the way. They never did.  So I remain what the right-wing Christians would call a "Universalist."  And I've stopped going to church because it no longer seems that church wants me.

But here's what I do know and believe about Jesus. He was a beautiful man who preached love and the loving particularly of one's enemies. In the parables, he taught us about the Good Samaritan (Samaritans and Jews despised each other) who took in the beaten Jew when the priest and the Levite left him to die on the side of the road. If Jesus were walking down a road today and saw, let's say, a beaten gay man (Matthew Shepherd or any of the other poor boys who died recently), he would have stopped and taken him tenderly into his care, put balm on his wounds, and tended him back to health with love.

If there is a Devil, it is hatred. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." I will try to follow his example; to not hate, even those who are hateful, and to walk this Earth in the grace of kindness and love, which I believe is the hand of God in our lives.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

National Coming Out Day: The thing that makes you extraordinary

Here is a really touching video made by the pop star Darren Hayes for The Trevor Project (a suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth). He says here, "The thing that made me extraordinary made me a target" and it made me think about all the extraordinary gay men and lesbians I know - people who are extraordinarily kind, extraordinarily funny, extraordinarily gifted in so many ways. And I wanted to say thank you to them, all of them, for being survivors even though they were targets. Because we're all "different" aren't we? And as I wrote here some time ago, when I met my first openly gay man, it was like a brisk and sweet-scented wind blowing away all those layers covering my own difference. If they could "say it loud, say it proud" then so could I. I see now that I gravitated to people who had felt within them some deep difference growing up and had learned to embrace it, so that I could learn to embrace mine. I still do.

My two beautiful teens who also happen to be gay, went through a phase of dressing in girly clothes, wearing make up, dating boys, twisting themselves into some idea of "normal." And they were completely miserable. I'm so proud of them for letting go of that, for having the strength to accept and embracing who they really are. Because they are perfect and extraordinary.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010