vendredi, mai 17, 2013

The way the story gets told...

It still seems remarkable that she doesn't have to stumble out of bed and find matching a matching tunic and leggings every morning.

Today, there is no one to wake up.  No one grumbles, turns over a few times, and asks that his light be turned on, the better to oil his transition from sleepy son to yawning student.  

What was were high school administrators thinking, to ask high school students to wake up so early, she wonders.

Without a child at home today or a place to be on Friday, she falls asleep again as the sun shines through the flowered shades that cover the sliders to the deck.

As so often when she dreams around dawn, her dreams are vivid, more Salvador Dali than Claude Monet.

She is in what seems to be a large parking lot, watching a reporter re-image an ancient civilization that once resided there.

Why then does it look like the New Jersey shore?

Waking and slightly disoriented, she focuses her near-sighted gaze on the cat who slumbers on the edge of the bed.  

Her almost-constant companion in the night hours, as polite and well-behaved in the dark as he is not during the light, he is her signpost back to control and safety.

Not this morning.

Instead, as she reaches for her glasses (she often falls asleep on top of them). she is flooded with panic.

Beneath the panic is anxiety.

Beneath the anxiety, disbelief.

Where is acceptance? Acceptance floats like a cloud across the sky -- glimpsed, then gone wherever clouds go.

Yesterday she had experienced resignation.

Today, in the exuberance of sunlight and shadow on the lawn, it is absent. Perhaps it never existed.

Instead, there is this blind fear.

Underneath all of her worldliness, she has always assumed that there is a straightforwardness to love.

Particularly in the love of a parent for a child.

Before she knew anything about the dangers of the outside world, she knew this, learned it in her mother's lap, her father's eyes.

Her own child, she cannot reach.  There has, oh terrible truth, never been a time when she could say that she understood the daughter whose path to adolescence has been sprinkled with deception, insatiable desire for material goods, and a hidden life she cannot access.

While there was nothing perfect about her upbringing, the truth that remains after all the tragedy and debris is swept away is love.  

But it is this love that her daughter cannot accept, whether it be from her brother, who has grown to mistrust her, or even her father.. 

Tragedy -- ah, that is land the mother knows.

For years, after her brother's untimely death, she awaited the next phone call.

One day she watched her mother write messages on a pad as she awoke from a coma.

The next day the hospital curtains were drawn, and the staff said: "we tried to reach you."

But this living purgatory and terror -- how does she accustom herself to the implacable distance between parent and child?

The wall. 

The gulf.  

The horizon.

Beyond it, there looms, she fears...nothing.

Just the incredulous recognition that she, who is wired to love, who gives thanks every day for the uncomplicated affection in her cat's eyes, who weeps for squirrels smashed on the road -- she is still  banging on the door of her daughter's life.

Look at me in the eye. See me. Let me see you.

She is, simply, a mother who has never been let in. Parent of an absent child.

Never. Never. Never.

lundi, mai 13, 2013

It's all about the text, says Lancaster Bible College professor

With modesty and erudition, Dr. Robert Spender of the Lancaster Bible College defends the historicity of ancient texts.

Gracious yet firm, Spender acknowledges how fast the world of Biblical criticism has changed over the past 100 years, but does not cede the game to colleagues on the left who chip away at the historical nature of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The dialogue will continue, undoubtedly -- one hopes that those immersed in study will continue to resist the temptation to caricature other impassioned scholars.