Tag Archives: witness

Trigger Warning: Contains Profanity…

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I told myself I’d write a blog post today. And all I can think about is my dear friend’s father, who is dying. Less than a month and the stupid tumor has stupidly doubled and is stupidly squatting all over his pancreas squishing the life and all possibility of treatment out of him.

And I am remembering when my Dad died, suddenly, with a phone call and a word to finalize it. After eight years I can watch the actions of the day with something solid and apathy-like in front of me acting as a filter. And they are all there, this family. I remember them standing next to us in the room, exclaiming out loud when we told them, crying with us seamlessly as one family.

I remember this man’s daughter coming to me in my backyard and saying the only thing in the whole week that was any help at all. “What the fuck?” she said. Exactly. What the fuck.

And my siblings are driving up right now, managers notified, half days taken. Our only plan is to walk in and stand with them because we have been stood with.

I find myself wondering how different it is, watching it happen, not knowing exactly how many days you will have to live in this limbo. When my Dad died the world stopped. The suddenness of it was gratifying to my grief. And the whole church showed up at the memorial. How gratifying that was. It was as it should be. The world should mourn with me.

I know what they will go through. Yet, I wonder at what they are going through. I want to bear witness to the life. I want to bear witness to the grief. I want to bear witness to the voice of Mary in me that cries, “If you had been here, Lord!”

And I bear witness to Jesus’ own tears. Because that is how the goodness of God was proven to me in that week. He wept. When my Dad died Jesus wept. There was no trite pat on my head. There was no image of a “Footprints” meme impressed into my brain. Jesus wept. He was with me.

Even now, Jesus nods with my husband when he says, “This is fucked.” Yes, fucked up. This isn’t how it was supposed to be at all.

Even though Jesus knows better than anyone that the resurrection is coming, that Lazarus will be walking out of that tomb in two hot minutes, still he weeps.

What the fuck? This isn’t how it was supposed to be at all.

Mother Mary Easter Monologue…

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I was there at the start. Jesus was my firstborn son. Before his blood was spilled for me mine spilled for him. Before his body broke for me, mine tore for him. My son. His life changed mine first. I was the first miracle.

And how could I be under the delusion that he was mine? Angels announced his birth to shepherds. A star led kings halfway around the world. He was for Israel, for the world.

But who would believe? Doesn’t every mother think her first-born walks on water? So I treasured these things in my heart, storing away the portents.

I was there when every prophecy came true, born of David, coming out of Egypt, of Nazareth in Galilee. Every truth buried here (heart).

And when we lost him in Jerusalem… For three days we misplaced the son of God. “Didn’t you know I would be in my father’s house”, the words of God from my son’s lips. “He is not yours precious Mary, he is mine. Remember he is mine.”

We waited thirty years for his time. And then it came in a flood. Miracle by miracle adding testimony to the years of evidence, here (heart).

Hadn’t I always believed, me, the first apostle? He was the Messiah.

Never mine, not from the beginning. He was God’s to spend.
But when they nailed him… When my son let them nail him to the cross…

I watched him die, in agony, under a criminal’s shame. If his father above, Creator of the heavens, feels a shadow of my pain why does he not save him? Why?! I cannot bear it! I’ve changed my mind, God, select another. Must I bear witness to this, too? My heart is full, Lord, my heart is full!

I spent three days in a mother’s grief. And then we went to dress my son’s body for the last time.

There’s nothing that gets old about seeing an angel. I’ve seen two in my life. The first told me I would have a son. The second told me I had a savior.

Would anything less than falling at his feet, feeling the warmth of his life, the strength in his hands, his glorious smell, would anything less prove my son’s living to me? My heart is full, Jehovah God, my heart is full!

I had a lifetime, my son’s lifetime, of proof giving testimony. The Messiah had come. Death had been conquered by one sacrifice for sin for all time. Israel’s need had nailed him to that cross. My need had nailed him to that cross.

He was my son, he was my savior. He was never mine. But he was for me.

Biker Gangs and Meth Addiction…

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I used to do nerve conduction velocity tests for a physical medicine clinic. You calculate a nerve conduction velocity by running electricity along the nerve and measuring the distance. So, yeah, I electrocuted people for a living. I had a lab coat, a tape measure, and a lovely two-pronged zapper. I was very official.

You’d be with a patient for half-an-hour and, often, you’d end up getting the same patients back months or years later. In this way, I made a few friends.

One was a fellow who had been in prison and gone through a Christian recovery program. He was a round jolly man, with a pasty face, and the most horrible teeth. He was kind and funny and he told me some incredible stories.

He used to be part of a biker gang, evidently, a real one, not the kind of biker gang I used to imagine when someone said “biker gang”. He was writing his biography, brought it to me to proofread once. It was twenty-or-so loose leaf pages with atrocious penmanship and nonexistent grammar telling the story of a drug pickup that turned into a pedophile ass-kicking. Oh, that kind of biker gang! Yes, the real kind.

He often lauded his ability to ass-kick a pedophile, even in prison. There was some shit you just didn’t stand for. I can’t say I disagreed with him.

I don’t remember why he had gone to prison, but I do remember that his body was messed up from getting into a meth cooking accident. The meth being cooked had gotten into his suit. It was all over him, trapped against his body like that.

He used to do drugs he told me. But he was done with that now. He had gone through recovery. I was proud of him. We prayed together. I prayed for him.

I watched him leave one day and one of the providers appeared at my shoulder.

“You know what those sores are all over his face don’t you?”

“Yeah,” I said, “They’re the sores from when the meth got in his suit.”

“No,” he said, “You get those from doing meth. You have to be currently using.”

“Oh,” I said.

All this to say, I recognized the sores today on a woman’s face in the laundromat. She was there with a paranoid old woman and an angry man. They were a frightful trio whose presence totally absorbed the corner where they were sitting.

She walked with her head down.

And I know nothing about this woman except that she’s addicted to meth.

What would it be like if I walked around wearing my weakness for everyone to see? What if every loss of temper or self-control flared out in red spots on my face? Would I be less likely to give into the temptation if I knew everyone would be able to read it there? What a horrible consequence. I deserve every single sore she had, but, oh!, how glad I was they weren’t mine to wear! How fortunate I counted myself this afternoon to carry the consequences of my sin invisible in my breast.

For, I am the leper, the sore marked meth addict, the walking unclean.

Pity used to be considered a Christian virtue. It’s sort of gotten a bad rap. “Don’t pity me!” “How dare you pity me!” I don’t know. I think there’s still a place for pity as a virtue. I pitied the ex-biker patient. I pitied the woman. And I only feel grateful that God pities me.