Justice is Love’s Surname

Survivors get to decide what they do with their story.

My daughter reminds me of this when I complain about a particular rape narrator who seems to be exonerating people who actively refused to value her need to be heard over points in a game.

What I would tell if she answered my email is:

  • Describing your rape in sexually explicit details obscures the message that rape is always about anger and power and objectifying the victim. Do not give potential felons a script for how to commit a crime.
  • Why exonerate anyone who has now or in the past facilitated rape culture? Anyone who actively compensated for rapists needs to be called out and fired, not hugged and beatified–no matter how many teams he or she has taken on to victory.
  • What happened to you has and will happen to a lot of other people–male, female, gender non-binary, old, young, non-consenting. Don’t sell all of them out by sanitizing or excusing deeply broken human systems.
  • Don’t unwittingly hand potential perpetrators a script for rape. Whether or not you realize it, when you tell a story where no one has enforced negative criminal or civil consequences for raping you, you are not changing rape culture.
  • No victim of rape should walk down the road you have. Every person deserves incisive rules for sexual safety. We need to change those rules.
  • Most victims chose or are pressured into silence. They should not have to fear the stigma of being a crime victim who speaks out..

…but they are, and as long as they are, your message is not enough, whether it is what you say or don’t say to a group of athletes, or what you tell the mother of a rape victim

By not answering her at all.

The Harrowing of Hell

We ask liturgical questions, why must the dead pretend they are anything else, here in the depths of the world where we have waited so long? We resemble our former selves, only shadows now, constructing chalk outlines of the world which has gone on without us

When he breaks through we watch in awe, chalk outlined arms raised, like children who must be helped into

The clothing of this beautiful



He has found a little stream, dips his feet into the water away from all the others. When I ask him about all he has lost, he shrugs as if to say

Lost wife

Lost country

Lost king

Lost friends

But he has new friends now, even among the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren of his erstwhile wife.

He recites these my-life-for-yours words as if the man who wrote them had written them for him…

….He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. [18] The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty. [19] A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. [20] A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. [21] Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. [22] Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing , and obtaineth favour of the Lord . [23] The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly. 24] A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:

…there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Let us wait here, darling

Until he comes.


Days before the Passover lamb, John the Baptist mends her long robe, pours oil over wounds with words which make sense only to the dead, faith the fire we warm our hands by,

Let me in, let me in says the moon and the wind, let me in to the stillness of everlasting, as even now the children begin to

Lay down their outer garments, their palm branches, as we all sing, hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

We are close now, so close .

Eulogizing Joe

Methuselah lived 969 years, which means that at just over 100, my grandfather was a spring chicken, as lifespans go. That notwithstanding he got a lot done. Married, participated in at least three wars, fathered children, buried some. Lost a wife, found another, called me his oldest unmarried granddaughter for as long as it applied.

I loved him in all his iterations, in all his familiar imperfections, but I know Someone who loves him more.

The One who is the Road

The All and Only

Road Home.

Psalm 116