In what some consider heretical musings, dangerous thinking, playing with fire on slippery slopes, asking for censure,
I find space for questions unwelcome within either/or constructs of other people’s god.
I find insights previously obscured by certainty that stifled doubts along with creativity.
I find explorations and longings formerly restricted to a certain collection of words.
I find companions willing to clasp hands, jump, free fall, enjoy the vastness, the beauty, the tenderness, the wild wilderness that beckons within, that knows without seeing, that new life is what we’ll find.
Knob turned and door pushed open, asleep until newly spoken to and unable now to stop my own annihilation, transformation, re-creation into what is not entirely yet clear.
Unable not to shake the hand-me-down scapegoat god, the one we’re supposed to wait on to make things better or end it all
that absolves of collective work for change, keeps distracted, focused on individual charity that stokes self-righteousness, keeps tight control, as if parceling out crumbs to “worthy” individuals will set things right.
Sliver of sunlight piercing curtain gap, tired of being confined in this dark room, this dark tomb, reusing words that belong to other people, when what my soul longs for is the voice that speaks within, “There is another way, walk in it.”
Eye catches steam unfurling from my coffee mug in morning light, iridescent, driving kids to school no time to transfer to a travel mug as would be sensible to trap coffee and vapor inside, which would have prevented delicate tendrils capturing daybreak’s glow and that millisecond of my attention.
How much mundane exquisiteness we stifle with modern, sensible things.
Flights of fancy tethered to practicality and function.
Cities once tried to outdo each other with buildings more grandly architectured, more beautifully adorned, now they order mass-produced block building plans and bulldoze wild spaces to construct squat monstrosities with no thought to grandeur or beauty, human potential boxed in dull cubicles inside.
Functionality, efficiency, productivity, choking off time for leisurely enjoying the beauty of coffee mist on a Wednesday morning.
We aren’t supposed to let the pretty “weeds” grow where they sprout in the vegetable garden just because it’s nice to be greeted by their loveliness among the broccoli and turnips.
We aren’t supposed to take the long way home past fallow fields brimming with sunny yellow ragwort when the more direct route will get us to the next thing faster.
Yet I long to crucify utility, resurrecting beauty for its own sake.
Sometimes you think of that day when you heard a friend’s mom was telling all the parents she read they should use dowel rods to spank their children for the really bad sins and your stomach lurched and tightened because you already knew how it felt to have a wooden spoon broken over the back of your bare thigh and you thought of the bookends you made with your grandpa using some wood he helped you cut into triangles and two lengths of dowel and you imagined the weight of those rods and tried to calculate how much more it would hurt.
And you’d heard some say it takes a village but you don’t know what to do when the village parents agree to hit their kids with items they bought casually at the hardware store and tell them it’s God’s loving discipline and you know some kids don’t even get I love yous and at least you do and you try not to think of it and also try to be as good as possible or at least hide anything you think might be a really bad sin so that maybe, maybe, you won’t have to find out.
And then the day you see what the marks of a dowel rod spanking look like on someone else’s skin and you lose your shit and can’t stop sobbing, can barely breathe because you know in your gut those bruises look nothing like love and you swear to yourself you will never hit your own child with a wooden spoon or a wooden rod, no, you’ll only use your hand and only not-too-hard swats to the bum because that is how the indoctrination works to keep you from imagining there could be another way entirely and you think a gentler, less-bruising punishment is the only alternative because to be part of the village is to perpetuate its violence to maintain control.
And your heart breaks still knowing that your children were touched by even your toned-down version of the violence and you hate that you ever bought into thinking your responsibility was to control every aspect of your child’s behavior with swats or isolation or yelling or retaliation because these things were supposed to be God’s tough love and keep them from evil.
But you also think of the day that you realized that “Love is patient, Love is kind” were not just words for wedding days but words for every day and every part of life together and especially your kids and you and that guiding with patience and kindness instead of controlling with harm and punishment could be that other way entirely that you couldn’t even imagine when you were just a kid in a village gathering up pieces of a broken spoon from the living room floor.