Alyssa and I were best friends. She was my neighbor for three of the greatest years of my childhood. She even became an honorary Trotter Court Kid, despite technically living on Sulky Court. Together, our imaginations were free and beautiful and untamed. Fear had no place in our world of Lizzie McGuire dance parties, custom designed beanie baby sleeping bags (which my mother taught us to sew), and many, many sleepovers filled with laugh attacks and late night whispers about our fourth grade crushes.
I’m sitting in the mountains. Well, the front country, really. It’s been foggy all morning but I can feel the sun breaking through. It is warm on my shoulders. I took a new trail this morning and made breakfast just behind a graffiti’d water tower. I discovered a cozy little spot just off the trail…
Today, we march. Tomorrow, we begin/continue the grueling, slow, difficult work of creating a shift in our culture: a shift away from prioritizing our own comfort at the expense of others, a shift away from hoarding power to sharing it, a shift outside of our own comfort zones as we pursue the justice all humans deserve. Let’s get down to business.
You see, I can’t figure this one out. My anxiety doesn’t make sense if God is good. It doesn’t make sense to me that my best friend in the whole world would be taken from me at the age of 12 because of some dark disease called cancer. I don’t know why hearts break, why people break hearts. I can’t wrap my head around war and genocide. Around Aleppo, Istanbul, Cairo.
It’s Monday. Usually on Mondays I’m at work by 7:55am, drinking a cup of coffee, snacking on fruit (or more likely donuts), and getting to work on all the emails that have built up in my inbox over the weekend. Today, however, I woke up like a groggy frog, feverish and feeling like a bouncy ball ricocheted off the inside walls of my skull all night; so, I’m home, sitting on my couch, drinking green tea, rocking my Santa Claus pajamas, and my soul is breathing. Finally.
The Summer of 2013 treated me well: I got to spend most days reading books, writing songs, cooking frittatas and watermelon bars, teaching swimming lessons, watching Mary Kate and Ashley movies, and enjoying the magic of the sun setting over Choctawhatchee Bay as sail boats soared past me.
There wasn’t much for me to figure out. I had the perfect boyfriend. I had a wonderful, supportive family. I had big dreams and a means to accomplish them. And I had truly succeeded in college, socially, academically, and spiritually. I was on track to take on the world, and save it from itself.
After sharing about the woes the year had brought me, my beloved professor looked me dead in the eye and asked me, “Bethany, what are you most proud of from this last year?”
It is Mothers Day, May 8th, 2016. I am sitting on my couch in my underwear, drinking ginger peach green tea, with a sore throat and an exhausted heart. Since Mothers Day last year, my mom and I have been through a lot together, and sometimes I’m truly amazed we’re both still standing.
Yet the bishop’s words rang through the cathedral: being people of the resurrection means that we see, or at least strive to see, the image of God, the image of our Creator, the just and forgiving Lord, in our enemies, in those who hate us. I not only heard this preached in church, I saw it lived in the lives of the Palestinians I met.
I have a very well-formulated tirade against the culture of blogging – the false community it “cultivates,” the “look-at-me” attitude it encourages, and especially the fact that not everyone’s thoughts and opinions really are worth publishing to the whole world. So, here I am, writing a silly blog about how much I hate blogs. Why did I give in?