on truth and empathy until then
Her Brighton purse with detailed heart medallion clasp sits on the table, and she wears a quilted jacket in the warm Spring-time. While her daughter shops, this elderly woman to my right talks on her cell phone of what she’d like for Christmas, gives a lesson on her favorite jewelry-designer, details the day she had terrifying chest pains, and talks about the women from church who sit up late, alone, wasting time, watching night-time programs, can’t believe how many do it. She says, “So I stayed up late, and I watched.” A diner telephone confessional, in the loud whispers of those who wear hearing aids: “I can’t tell you how Much I love Tina Fey.”
On and on about Tina Fey and how funny Saturday Night Live is, her mouth moves, well-oiled, and whoever it is on the other line is so patient – must be. She goes on and on, covers a doctor’s visit, talks about the way she is, her un-maternal attitude toward others. She gossips, and whoever it is is listening, and finally she says, “Will you please come see me?” and then she goes silent.
I, myself, am here to write, and of course, I get caught up in bird watching. I’m in and out of my own dramatic detailing, my own list of just-the-way-I-am, and then a lady takes over the space, and she is messed up. She’s old and lonely, and I assume nothing more out of myself, except that God usually really messes up my expectations for the future.
I think about the way we are, people, strange birds. Beautiful Jennifer Knapp and this old woman, like they’ve finally been given permission to speak, and how it’s the people with no-matter-what ears who change the world, who go meet the messed-up where they are, who call them right names.
It’s just so good to be called Lover or Mama while we’re in the skin, to have a place with what we’re called – strange birds. So in this human condition in which we’re all stuck, until we meet eternal youth and grow out of our use for mirrors, let’s call each other the Good True Names and bear with each other, on the other line, in fear of death, in homosexuality, in all the ways we’re trying to survive. Speak the truth – yes – but just as important, let’s bear up and cast off fear, because no one is exempt from the burn that comes with living in people skin.
I’m so so thankful for my Jesus today.