sad sad sad

A beloved children’s book taught our family the power of Koko the signing gorilla.

Koko signed a three word litany when her beloved kitten Ball was killed.

She knew the way of grief. She knew how to express it:

Sad sad sad.

I know the way of grief, but I struggle in these days with how to express it.

The money and power grab evidenced in the recently passed tax bill bespeak a nation made belligerent about being morally compromised. Folded into the removal of supports for college students and the poor is the agreement that our nation will now allow drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge.

Turns out there is no refuge from those who must drill drill drill.

The phallic imagery is intended.

There is a close race in Alabama between a man accused of drilling into the future of girls running against a man who sought to bring to justice Klan members responsible for the bombing of a church that killed four black girls. This is a contest?

Our nation’s president, forever caught on tape boasting of perpetrating violence on women because he is rich and powerful and can do as he likes is championing the man who has helped himself to young girls because a despoiler of girls is better in the halls of power than a Democrat.

And where are the people of Jesus the Christ as this is happening?

How are we speaking out against the violence against women and against the poor and against the earth and against communal compassion?

When do we become willing to explore the violence that has been folded into our faith narrative?

The raw power of “sad sad sad” is holy necessary work.

And, it is not sufficient.

Marge Piercy in her poem “The Art of Blessing the Day” puts it this way:

“…Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.”

Find a church or an organization or a people.

Cursing is necessary.

And, it is time to make this nation new.

too close

For a number of evenings I have been tumbled into a strange and troubling land.

Cooper and I have been watching “Mad Men”, the television series that details the birth of the advertising machine in the 1960’s. Through all the cigarette smoking all-day-long drinking woman squashing I find myself drawn and heartsick, both.

I am watching on television the generation that raised me.

The assumptions that speak through the dialogue are those that have bedeviled me through much of my life: The assumptions about the role of women, the “boys will be boys” catering to male privilege, and the insistence upon not seeing what is going on. All of those assumptions were in the smoke-filled air that I breathed growing up.

I watch the trim-waisted women desperately seeking meaning and the loneliness of the men. It seems both genders are engaged in a desperate attempt to avoid the realities of life. Their children are cossetted and kept safe from the world but they know the great world of the unspoken and they are uneasy in their cloister.

I find myself amazed at how much has changed in fifty or so years.

And I find myself amazed at the wounds that remain, subterranean flinches that make themselves known throughout the day as I encounter what is in the year 2013.

We still make assumptions that harm both genders (including the assumption that there are only two genders with no gradation between).

We still don’t want to have to see what is going on.

We still exalt those who can manipulate us best.

I don’t know if I can continue to watch the series. It hurts too much.

Oh my mother, oh my father, oh those of us raised in those days.

Is there balm in Gilead?