Shibboleth

When Mary talks now on the Fisher-Price phone of loss, she speaks with a five year old’s falsetto. She is breezy, upbeat even, and we exchange pleasantries through the medium of her daughter’s voice.

Mary, the girls have your laugh, I try to tell her before the line cuts off. Mary, I always wanted to be your real mom, I tell her before the line clicks off. Mary, that last day haunts me. The girls talk as though you still have the giant carnival unicorn, as though you tucked it under your arm and carried it right through

The earth will soon dissolve like snow/The sun forebear to shine/But God who called me here below/will be forever mine

gather the souls

Genesis 12:5 KJV

[5] And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

My daughter has to do a slide show about very small souls, cupped in the hand souls, lost at sea souls, their tiny lives made consciously insignificant by human design alone

There are quiet, tree-lined lanes in the arteries of the capitals of the world where pretty twins play while their siblings become the interstitial jigsaw pieces of a world built without reference to

The souls they had gotten in Haran

What is a man’s soul?

And what will he give in exchange for it?

For what does it profit a man

If he gains the whole world

And loses his own soul?

Awake, Oh Sleeper

Little One says

Is mommy sleeping in heaven?

No, I say

She is wide awake

Dancing and singing

I wish I were in heaven

Little One says

No, not yet dear

Let us sing and dance together as though this were the porch and the lights from the house were burning bright

Stay with me here on the porch for awhile

We will dance and sing out

grief and hope together until

These ancient gates open wide

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?”

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