What is a good friend?

Yep, I know-who?

Bear with me.

Ten years ago we discovered that our adopted son had molested some of his siblings and their friends.

I went to my friend and asked him what I should do and he said,

The truth will set you free.

So I told people the truth

Church

Work

Neighbor

Community

Family

Truth

And most people stopped being our friends.

So not who, what

A good friend never leaves, never forsakes, never hides your sin, but doesn’t abandon.

Jesus is a good friend.

What is Love

What is justice

There were times we all faced this extreme solitude of the truth. People who had been out friends could not risk the chance that we were contagious.

But Jesus was always there, the sojourning older son, back from afar, standing on the other side of the street, in sight of the house, I-am-here-darling present with us

never alone because

What a friend we have in Jesus

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Blown apart

The hole in my chest has opened up again

Opened up

The whole in my chest is blown apart

Blown apart again

The tree abandoned by the river asks for something

Water or some proof

Some proof of all

made whole once

once again

Eurydice

She lames her ankle on the descent, finds her ever-less-corporal-self still bound by grief and pain as the light cotton shift falls to her feet

You must shower, girl, leave all the light behind

And enter into this entirely different kind of

Love story

Walk ahead, don’t look back

Never let him know how much it costs to stay

Inside the dark box of the bet he lost

For both of you

Dear Friend,

Within a month of each other, several things happened–

  • A beloved family member who, like you, does not believe in God, said that if I believe in Hell, I should be trying to convince you of its reality and horror all the time.
  • Several states, most notably Georgia, passed pro-child legislation restricting abortion and received fury for it from people who regard abortion as categorical maternal right.
  • I read about a doctor who received NIH funds to carefully, (without anesthesia because it would adulterate their tissue “donations”) extract babies in their second and third trimester whole in order to use their prenatal livers to revive adult livers.
  • And a single wasp stung me above the left eye.

I know how much you believe in abortion. I know how little you believe in God, yet I believe that the first abortion happened when a literal and real woman (like you and me) murdered all of us with a powerful and deadly choice in a garden we call Eden.

She made a choice, we make choices

As women, as mothers, as friends

To intervene for either life or death.

I believe in a literal hell, literal hells, already clearly delineated in our history of meat shields in steppe conquests, gladiatorial death matches, the ridiculous and deadly crusades, the Inquisition, bubonic plague, and in our case the body of every one of those meticulously harvested prenatal humans, old enough to live outside their mother’s wombs long enough for the doctor to use their pieces and ignore the sum of those parts.

Because livers are so necessary to scrub the toxins in the blood…even the flooding, momentarily excruciating wasp toxin.

You will think it strange that I thought of you and others who do not believe in Hell when I reeled into the pain of that single sting. I thought about how terrible it would be not to believe in the soaring truth of 1 Corinthians–“Oh, death, where is thy sting?”

No accident I write this to you on Father’s Day. When I lost my father it was so devastating–how could death have lost its sting if that single death hurt so much?

You know what I believe–I will see my father again one day, because Jesus took the real sting.

Catastrophically painful, eternal, and all of our faults. Sometimes no bigger than a wasp’s sting in the dark, or smaller than each prenatal human’s carefully extracted extinction.

But there in the Cross–

Our hell, our iterations of hell

Whether we believe in them or not.

Dear, you will and always and eternally be, dear, very dear to me.

So much so that I would risk your real and legitimate anger if it might spare you the measure of that incomprehensible Corinthian sting.

Oblígate carnivores

For months now I have walked carefully, gingerly, with the rocking gait of the elderly, infirmed, or, in my case, feet surreptitiously lamenting for the loss of the whole–

broken heart

crepe-fine skin

Liver, spleen, lungs, and stomach all exposed

As the obligate carnivores we tended as children stalk the house now

Grown

Larger than life,

Pacing hungrily to and fro

As we eye them in dismay

Their pets now

I want

I want rudimentary shelving in the wild backyard for the Walmart canoes

I want an art table

And an extra large button-down shirt with flecks of paint already on it

I want a shelter for the sun and shelter for the darkness

I want the trees to grow up around us, ramparts

And the tiny praying mantis to have a disproportionate number of siblings

Rain, so the river can rise above the exposed and naked roots of the

Already. Dying.