My mother died last week

She was sick. The accretion of conditions related to smoking years ago and other things were taking their due.

John 20:1 NIV
[1] Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

John 20:19-23 NIV
[19] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” [20] After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. [21] Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” [22] And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Hidden Camera—Basketball

We met because our children played in the same basketball league. My son and his daughter were on a team where the coach was stretched too thin. I volunteered my older daughters as coaches and every week we tried to be there for extra support and practice.

One game stands out in my memory. The opposing team had ringers and parents so focused on winning that they badgered and heckled our team.

I approached one of the league officials and asked her to intervene. She refused.

Our kids lost and we comforted them with words about how hard they had played and how unfair it all was.

Now it just seems like a metaphor for all that was yet to come.

Hidden Cameras Prologue

It was at his youngest child’s birthday party that I saw what at the time was one of E’s distinctive “celebrity” qualities—he used his pitcher’s arm to lob a beach ball into the splash pad pour bucket—ball, plunk, fill, pour, repeat. The crowd of summer park goers reveled his ability to beguile and entertain.

At the time I took his boyish self-confidence as the contributing factor—he had an athletic gift and had been praised and admired for it for years.

Why not use it for harmless fun?

I look through all of this with grief and anger now. All I did not see or understand about him that day, who he had been for years, and what was to come.

Someone cares (for your stick figure family)

I saw a bumper sticker the other day which said “no one cares about your stick figure family.”

The message seemed particularly pointed and I have pondered it in it’s untruth.

We do live in a difficult and fragile world full of perils and violence and uncertainty. But Someone actually cares quite a lot for each of our stick figure family.

Jesus—

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2015%3A13&version=KJV

The burning paper ceremony

Ghosts should be

From the future—50 something you visits little girl you and tells her one day

You will be burning

Years of unopened letters (mostly official but some personal) all while the

The alarmist cock crows

Hey, you, I would say, look at these people

You will have a tribe

And this tribe you will have will

More than

Make up for the pain

What would you paste to doors of cathedrals?

Over a year ago we found out that a family we knew had been devastated when they discovered that their child had been the victim of rape at the hands of a former MLB pitcher.

The rapes were recorded and shared. There is strong anecdotal evidence that other children were harmed this way as well.

The local police bullied and intimidated the victim, made no arrest, and closed the case.

As did CPS.

The FBI ignored requests for help as did the office of DPS and the Texas Rangers.

Oh, and President Biden too.

I have begun to think about Martin Luther and letters pasted on the walls and doors of cathedrals.

What would you say or do if you were haunted by the damage done to one child? Dozens?

We are all abandoned houses

I can close my eyes and see the road, the house, the caged tigers at the roadside pit stop. I can see the cities and the precipitous bridges, the waterside parks and the places we have been before—with the very people lost to us now

What I would give to tell the mother to let the girl go

Like a beloved but hopelessly tangled kite

And tell the girl to just

Untangle toward the sun,

We are all abandoned houses

Without him anyway

When no one comes to save us

More than 10 years ago I decided to write a book almost no one reads after 2 years of fighting for consequences for Charles.

He had dodged mandatory sentencing when the local DA chose to not charge him with any of the more serious allegations against him—multiple, aggravated sexual assaults.

We had been lied to and our victims’ impact statements disappeared.

Only one of dozens of public officials I contacted tried to “look into” our case.

We moved and I told myself I should just expect no help the next time.

I wrote a book so that the story would be there for others. I warned people it was not a fun book to read.

A year ago a friend called me and told me her young daughter had been brutally and repeatedly raped by a former MLB player who began coaching children when he retired from baseball.

The victim told a clear story of assault, abuse, and video recordings of abuse. She has always struck me as a very truthful person. The story she tells is cogent and strongly suggests she was not the only victim and that other young girls were raped and their rapes were recorded and shared.

The local law enforcement never arrested the alleged assailant. He was never charged with a single crime.

The local FBI cautioned the victim’s mother that she should not bother the local police with the story.

Here was an outcry which strongly suggested multiple minors had been raped and those rapes had been filmed and disseminated.

Nothing happened. The alleged rapist still coaches children.

After Uvalde I called the head of DPS and his receptionist sent me to a voicemail of the Texas Rangers. I have had no success in trying to help this family. They moved to another state but the trauma and threat remain.

And what about all the other potential victims? What about the possible footage of the rapes?

What should we all do

When no one comes to save us?

All our fiery words

I wasn’t there

But I have taught my girls to write things down real good, even if they, in their goodness, leave out all the vowels I would growl and punctuate myself

Lately I have been absent too much– attempting to complete my hostage negotiator certification

— I envy the flyboy his reckless invectives

If only he were just

Overturning tables in the temple

Not just

Staging some unforeseen tantrum

I want to tantrum too!

Put my street prophet beard on and stomp and rant

Shake this

dying world down

Bedtime stories

She tells me to tell the bedtime stories

One about a little girl shouting at the top of the stairs and the other about that little girl’s once-upon-a-time daughter

Shouting from the roof

Beginning her long history of aerial protests

In an attempt to give her daughters more of her I find the news report which shows both their parents together at an impromptu arraignment, the way other orphans might re-watch their parents’ wedding videos.

This is all we have–bits of dialogue and local news

And the dogged belief that one day the truth must indeed set us free