He Does Not Do What He Hates

October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ecclesiasticus 15:11-20

Do not say, “It was the Lord’s doing that I fell away” for he does not do what he hates. Do not say, “It was he who led me astray” for he has no need of the sinful. The Lord hates all abominations; such things are not loved by those who fear him. It was he who created humankind in the beginning, and he left them in the power of their own free choice. If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose. Before each person are life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given. For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every human action. He has not commanded anyone to be wicked, and he has not given anyone permission to sin.

Let me start off by saying this: “fear”, as explained to me by my own priests, Lisa and Richard, back at Saint Ann’s, is not really about “fear” as much as it is about deference, love and respect. Why not defer to the creator of everything? More than keeping us shaking in fear, God wants to remind us that our puffed of feelings of importance, pride, and power are inappropriate. We were created to be a cooperative. That word “fear”, as it appears so often in the Bible, used to be a barrier for me. With the help of Lisa and Richard, it no longer stands in my way.

I’d never read Ecclesiasticus, also known as the book of Sirach, before. It is one of those books found in the Catholic bible, but not in the protestant. When I came across that scripture in my daily reading, just two days after Arthur and Erik’s birthday, I almost cried with gratitude and relief.

When Arthur passed away people said some of the most bizarre and hurtful things to me. “Well, at least you have another one” was a common response. Really, there was a lot of truth in that. Having no children to live for makes a person want to abandon life themselves, as I would find out; but then, it was the cruelest thing I could imagine. “I didn’t have a spare,” I would often respond.

When Erik passed away, darkness took me down. The god I had loved and turned to was gone. In its place was an enormous, chewing mouth filled with blood and bones and growls of pleasure. Something awful had taken my sons.

In the years before motherhood, I read a lot about home birth, unassisted birth and breast-feeding. I was very interested in these subjects; but devoted to childlessness unless ideal circumstances arose. I spent endless time pursuing relationships that always offered more frustration than happiness; and ultimately left me holding the bag. It reaffirmed my decision not to have children until the time was right.

Arthur and Erik began to grow inside of me at a time so wrong that I couldn’t have scripted it. I was living away from my abuser; but he was still in my life. My peace was fragile and my mind was still in pieces. Because of his abuse, I had been starved down to a size 3. I could feel my insides like never before. I lay in bed and felt my babies. I thought I was feeling one baby and one placenta. In my fantasies, I raised a little feminist to never flounder after love the way I had done. I rubbed “her”; and I dreamed.

The ultrasound gave me a shocking surprise. I thew my problem on God’s shoulders and waited for the answers to come. Soon, I asked my abuser for space. He gave it because of his desire to manipulate the situation to his advantage, not because I had attained any real power with him. Nonetheless, I packed in his absence and, with the help of a friend, got the boxes to the post office.

I traveled out of Arkansas on the hand of God. Twenty-four weeks pregnant, I rode feather-light in an old Lincoln Towncar on an upturned palm. It radiated peace and love from beneath. I held tight to the wheel and breathed in the moist darkness. I ingested the best of Arkansas, a land I learned to love. I didn’t love abuse, and I didn’t feel at home in the South; but I felt at home in Arkansas’s wild places, land shaped by the same hand that opened the door to the cage She had become.

I loved my boys so much, as I drove. I wanted to raise my boys so very much. Almost as soon as I held them, they fell through an awful hole. I am still screaming down it, after them; but they are never coming back. I will never feel their arms around my neck. I won’t hear the name “Mama” in each sweet, little voice. This warm babe I have now eclipses the universe. For Arthur and Erik, I have to accept that all of that is gone. Horrific.

Who was God, then? An abuser? One to delight in my pain? Perhaps one lacking all power, unlike what we were told. Perhaps one not all loving: and what then? That was the worst scenario of all.

Two days after Arthur and Erik’s fifth birthday; I read those words: He Does Not Do What He Hates.

I concluded, long ago, that God had not killed my children, nor allowed them to be killed. Sanity required a leap of faith. I would believe that, somehow, this all powerful god really couldn’t stop what happened, or what is happening all around us.

We drown ourselves in beauty while all around is horror. What kinds of horrors will come from storms like the one eating the east coast, right now, for example? Why does God let this go on?

I don’t know; and that is a very unpleasant feeling. I have to keep pushing past it with faith in the things I know to be the truth, those things focused on by Christ. Love, compassion, equality, generosity, humility, the best of what unites us as a family instead of what keeps us apart.

In the things he taught, there is something that is more than words. It is a feeling. I know you know what I mean. There is that feeling inside that squeezes, that takes your breath and races your heart. It is the edge of knowledge, the edge of something profound. It races by, a rush of moonlight. Wispy-thin, we can barely describe it; but we know when it’s touched us, and after, we are never the same.

With our doubt and hopefulness, we never stop reaching. Sometimes, we nip the edges with our eager tips; but it darts off like a fox, too clever and quick to be caught by a clumsy, hairless things like us.

The Bible does say we cannot even begin to comprehend what God is all about; but it also says that he would never create hurt for us. He does not do what He hates. That is what I suspected, what I hoped; because in the dark days of God’s perceived sadism, I nearly lost my mind.

The message of Jesus is Truth. Equality, love, respect, servitude, the seeds of paradise. We have them right in front of us. The whole point is to answer the call, to say “yes” to paradise, from whatever perspective you may come. Focus on the ideals, the message, practice as if we are in life in paradise by learning to love and respect one another, right now. Break out, reach out, and dig in.

If He doesn’t do what He hates, then let’s do what he loves. He is pulling for us all the way, with that kind of perspective. It makes the message of Christ even more appealing. In a way, God’s approach reminds me of Positive Discipline.

Why, then, does life still hurt so terribly much? Arthur and Erik are in tiny, cardboard boxes. I have never been able to pick urns for them. I can’t touch the boxes, or look at them. My boy wants to pick urns. All I can thinK is, “Strengthen me, O Lord”.

While I’m praying, why not go on. Bring me closer to You, to gentleness and to truth. Bring me closer to compassion and forgiveness. Help me forgive You for what happened to my children; and help me wait for the answers I will never have on this side.

Amen.

Typical Washington sky. Bright and sunny with a threat of doom. I love it.