Parking Garages & Boobs

On my way to protest for peace, I pulled into a parking garage -- as I have every Wednesday for a month. It was the second time this week that I had ventured into a parking gargage. I had been forced to park in one the night before because I was late. As I pulled into the garage this second time, I breathed deeply. Parking garages have become scary places for me. I have forced myself to imagine the things that transpired with my brother a few weeks ago. It was in a parking garage -- a deserted parking garage -- where he affixed a hose into the interior of his car. It was here that we was found suffocating himself of carbon monoxide. Each week, as I have parked in this garage, I have thought of my brother. I have gazed at the view from the top floor of this garage and wondered what my brother saw. I wonder what music he was listening to and what he was thinking about.

Perhaps it is morbid to have these thoughts. Perhaps I should be concentrating on his safety and the fact that he is home rebuilding his life. Perhaps I should rejoice -- and yet, I'm struck by the fact that I'm called to understand how anyone could feel at a given moment. I'm called to listen (even when I'm not able). I'm called to be attentive to those things that others might not want to hear. And in listening, I believe my call is to celebrate both the highs and lows of the human experience. So, my mind wanders in the parking garage. And I try not to cry.

Next Sunday, I will be preaching on Psalm 137. This familiar Psalm that reminds me of the aftermath of 9/11 has an ending that the Lectionary and my own mind omit. This lamentation for the little ones heads to be dashed among the rocks. Not a pretty picture. Not Christian, one commentator says -- but I wonder if it's part of the human experience. This is a text that laments grief. It's a song of displacement and longing. And anyone that has lost someone they love knows that grief is an experience of displacement. It hurts. You feel like an alien in a strange land -- where there are emotions you are supposed to have but somehow can't claim. You want to hang up your harp. You can't find a song. You just want to weep by the river.

This is where I wonder about those little ones. Couldn't this also be an expression of grief? Perhaps not the healthiest of emotions to express -- but isn't it true that it happens? Could dashing the little ones heads against the rocks be like my brother's plight on the top floor of a parking garage? Could it be the same pain that I felt only a few weeks ago as I took the steps toward getting a mammogram? I wonder if this pain is part of the human experience. Excuse me. I know it is. I know that this is part of the story too. And yet, I wonder if I can share my part of the story. Do I dare preach about my own fears of cancer and what this means for my grief? I wonder.


Songbird said...

I wonder if the line about the little one's heads was the worst thing the psalmist could possibly wish on his/her enemies? It is certainly part of the human experience to feel anger, even hatred, and it's also certainly not pretty.
You are so brave, my friend, facing what is not pretty.

cheesehead said...


more cows than people said...


Magdalene6127 said...

You are brave. Preaching the truth is called prophesy. Blessings, (((PP))).

erica said...

Prayers and thoughts coming your way from out here.

Part of grief is always anger, isn't it? I have a friend whose grief process involved getting mad at church.

Isn't anger safer when we can be honest about it being there? And, if you can find the line between honesty and bleeding all over the congregation (which I'm SURE you can), you are incarnationally modeling anger and grief.

God be all around you...