Yesterday my husband and I – like many of you – were under “house arrest” as far as Church goes. The notice from the Church came in time to tell us that because of efforts to quell the spread of the deadly corona virus/COVID 19, we should have “Home Church” until further notice. Apparently we’ll also have “Home General Conference,” too, where the Quorum of the 12 will be preaching to the choir (although the Tabbie Cats will have recorded their hymns beforehand.)
After a recent rereading of spooky old classics, I reached a disturbing realization: Maybe Edgar Allan Poe’s scary, creepy characters aren’t as odd as he meant them to be. In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe’s narrator describes Roderick as tortured by sounds — except for certain stringed instruments. If Mr. Usher …
I had paradoxes, divine contradictions (like justice and mercy) and Rainer Maria Rilke’s words on my mind last week as I went to the Chicago Temple. [R]esolving the tension requires a supply of love that comes from beyond ourselves, provoked by the tension itself. If we are to hold the paradoxes together, our own love …
A few months ago, I read an article about a Palestinian woman injured in a car accident who could not breastfeed her nine-month-old son. He refused a bottle for seven hours, screaming with hunger, his aunts desperate. Then a Jewish nurse arrived for her shift, and volunteered to nurse him. The expression on the faces …
That feeling of helplessness. You know when you watch your baby sister, seemingly frozen in midair and about to skin her knee on the driveway? You’re too far away in your seat by the living room window, so you wish for God to cushion her fall with his mighty hand. That is the easiest kind …
I’m not feeling merry. Festive has fled, and while there is tinsel winding its hairy way around the lounge room furniture, I’m counting down to the new calendar and year that sparkles and glitters just a few days away.
This year has been a beautiful mess. Difficulties have kept me company and awake more nights than I’d like to consider, and answers to prayers have left me furious. I’ve made some friends this year (a miracle in itself) and I’ve been blindsided by generosity and danced myself giddy at opportunities. It’s been a beautiful mess of a year, no doubt about it.
And if someone else wishes me a merry Christmas I may not be able to stop myself shoving their Santa hat down their shirt.
I don’t want a merry Christmas. I would like a merciful Christmas. I want one for dear ones, first off. For two friends in particular, one who is weathering the first Christmas after the passing of her firstborn son, and one who is gathering the silken, sharp hours of her mother’s last Christmas. I want a merciful Christmas for them both, softly delivered like countless hugs and tears melting in the neck creases of loved ones. I want the mercy of a solid nap for them, of belly laughs and clasped hands, of whispered words lifting the weight of their bones, lightening strikes of joy, peace or even generous forgetfulness, all of it shoved determinedly into an odd little parcel then slipped in their pocket.
During the passing of the sacrament I decided to prep myself for Sunday School by reading the scriptural passage we’d be studying. Isaiah 54. That first verse caught my attention in a visceral way:
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”
I know many women for whom fertility issues are a great source of anxiety and grief. My own three children were hard to come by, but relative to those who want children but can never have them or lose them early I can only imagine the heartbreak. And, given Isaiah’s setting where being barren (even though it may have been the guy’s problem!) was deemed “shameful”, the problem was exacerbated by that unjust layer of societal disrespect.
Note: While I personally believe that the situation of the woman in John 8 is potentially more complex than consensual adultery, the account is probably most powerful if that is, in fact, what it was. There she is, in the center of the hostile crowd—a woman, taken in adultery. Her actions obvious, the law clear. …
I walked down the stairs from the newsroom as my eyes brimmed with tears. In one day I had found myself discussing a cold murder case, prescription drug abuse, and a lawsuit. My head swam with hard facts, but my heart ached as I mulled over the details of others’ tragedies.
When I got home I silently curled up next to my husband in bed. He asked me what was wrong. I opened my mouth in response, but I couldn’t form the words to describe my confusion. It was silent. He asked again. This time, tears came as I stumbled through my explanation.
An hour of my morning I had passed talking with a detective about a murder case. Details aside, a man had been murdered and the case had gone cold. From what I’ve been told, he has a sick mother who hopes to discover the truth before her own passing. He was also the father of five.
Justice and Mercy walk into a bar.
Justice overhears a customer order “another Shirley Temple, please.” Barkeep reminds the customer that he hasn’t paid for his last two yet.
Justice grabs the customer by the collar, yells, “You can’t pay your bill? You’re outta here!” and kicks him out the door.