Well, will He?

A little over a year ago I wrote emails to Catholic official all over the state of Texas. Called some. Beseeched others. Got one response and one sympathetic conversation with a lady who said she would send along a message.

At the time I was deeply concerned because an international healthcare system with a Catholic identity was facilitating the expansion of a medical records system owned by a woman with very un-Catholic values.

I wrote the Vatican.

No response.

As Biden announces he has been blessed and authorized by the Pope to get communion and keep doing what he is doing, I can’t help but think that the list of bad popes is incomplete , and should include a few more, the guys who weren’t active felons or thieves, just cowardly or selfish or fooled by the allure of celebrity or power.

It raises two questions for me–when is a useless police department better than no police department? A bad police chief better than no police chief?

And more importantly–will Jesus find faith when he comes back? Will any of us have the courage to stand for peace for the vulnerable children targeted for destruction in their mothers’ wombs?

Luke 18:7-8 NIV

[7] And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? [8] I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Mary’s New Number

Over the years Mary would come and go. Often when she was gone for months I would worry she was dead. The time I worried about her the least was when she was in prison.

I counted how many numbers I had for her–eight, not counting the times she used her boyfriends’ or family’s phones, or the borrowed phones of the carceral state.

This time I decided to change my contact information for her from Mary the Beautiful or Mary the Precious to

The thinking was that this way I could keep track of how current the number was. This was a decision of pragmatism, acknowledging the ephemeral nature of my relationship to my daughter’s phones.

Now it just seems so darn hopeful. How could I have known it would be her last?

Hope springs a turtle

When Mary was little she would often whine and fuss, tantrum too, if I am honest. Sometimes in the midst of a good roaring fuss, she would ask for something extraneous, non-essential, and I would tell her hope springs eternal!

One day she quoted it back to me–hope springs a turtle!!

I changed the quote after that to her version.

Mary, today I took the girls to the river and a baby turtle, perfect and wonderful, swam to me.

Hope springs a turtle

Hope Springs…

The truth be told I felt I lost you when you were twelve. That was when I had to reckon with my desire to make you like me and your desire to not-be-that

I let something die to get us through. It was hard. I wanted you to be my girl, the way that people would tell us we looked alike, despite no genetic overlay to speak of.

We got through that

Survived

For years my prayer was just let her be alive, God, please just let her be alive

Come to think of it,

Still is

Urn for ashes, woman

Apparently you can buy anything on Amazon I think as once again I am in a club I don’t want to belong to

He says what do I do now without her? And I tell him, she is not there. That is not where she is

Echoing the conversations between angels and other Marys

I tell him what I would tell you, or me or anyone–a dog on the street if I had to–

She is eternal and the pain we feel is that verification that we must seek eternity

Seek the one who can

Get us

Past our terrible selves

Mary Joanna Lee

Mary was born on January 1, 1993. She was born to ________ and _______and is survived by _____________________________________. She had kids with__________, who preceded her in death by a handful of months, days, minutes, hours.

Her children are bright little lights, and I want to gather all of them to me, sing with them, raise them onto strong shoulders, proceed with them in a march more wedding than funeral, acknowledge that no life is actually just a handful of years, months, days, hours, minutes, things smaller than that, things that can only be measured by Hands torn for

For her, for me

He precedes us in life, in death, in life again

Walk out of that grave, girl, walk into life

All because of Him

Mary Jo

If I am honest, you were often a pain in the ass. Your attachment disorder meant that I was the primary target of your anger when you were growing up, which was not fun, but good for me.

I remember you when you were little, I remember the stress, chaos and exhaustion. We would look at you and Charles when you were asleep and say, they are cute when they are asleep.

find myself trying to construct an old play fort out of this gray day, the sky folded into the quilted tent

This is heaven, I tell myself, this is Mary, she was college-aged, after all. She could be here, Heaven could be this, the thin line between the realms could be as gossamer as time itself–

Yesterday you were among the living

And now I return to the prayers I prayed when I held you as a child, fierce ball of anger

Oh, God,

Make us real

Make us vivid

Wipe away the tears, the past, the unbearable

All things made new