Recently a good friend of mine was talking with me about her son, a young man who is suffering a great deal just now. And his suffering is understandable; the list of wrongs someone has done to him is long. "He feels...he feels like he's truly been crucified," my friend said.
"You know," I replied. "I have this fantasy now and then. In it I'm having a conversation with Jesus and I say, 'Oh, Jesus, I want so much to be like you. I want so much to live my life as you lived yours.' And Jesus smiles and replies, 'Well, then you will want the crucifixion experience, won't you? We can arrange that.'"
My friend laughed.
But what if? I mean, I really don't believe Jesus or God or the angels actually orchestrate the painful experiences that come into our lives. But somehow mortality seems determined to make sure that most of us–-well, maybe all of us–-find ourselves in some awful Gethsemane and experience death in its various guises.
And what if, in some way we can barely see, even if we squint really hard or pray nearly all night, that it's okay? What if we have invited, or at least allowed--on some soul level–-the experience we now identify as betrayal, by a mate, a child, a parent, a friend, or maybe the uncooperative parts of our own bodies?
I think that most of us can appreciate the journey of Jesus, can understand how either in fact or in metaphor crucifixion leads to resurrection. So perhaps Jesus could just as easily put it in a more attractive way: "You want to be like me? Well, then, you will want the resurrection experience, won't you? We can arrange that."
Only resurrection doesn't come until after the Garden and after Golgotha. Which means to me–-and this only when I'm in my more sane moments–-that there is no circumstance in which we might find ourselves that is not an invitation to walking the path of Holy Week–-the triumphal entry into happiness, then the betrayal, the suffering, the death. Then the Resurrection.
Likely more than once.
Women know–-and men can imagine-–what is required for
birthing. So what if there's a bit of truth in this
You have come in
I will hold your hand.
And frankly, I can't wait
–CLP, Beginnings and Beyond
LETTER FROM JOAN OF ARC: A dear friend asked me to write a letter from Joan of Arc (the hero her Young Women had chosen to be their inspiration for the week at LDS Girls' Camp); another friend at Mormon Feminist Housewives asked if she could post it. Read it at http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=3246
RETREAT REPORT: The retreat my daughter Emily and I led for twelve fabulous women up Heber Canyon two weeks ago was above and beyond all expectations. Inspiration, sharing, laughter, tears, commitment, good food, and a reclaiming of our "barbaric yawp"!
INTERVIEW ON "MORMON STORIES": JJohn Dehlin, who does such great work helping LDS folk navigate challenging questions, has just posted on his "Mormon Stories" a five-hour video interview with me. We covered it all! Can't imagine anybody watching five hours of me, but I believe in history, and if enquiring minds want to know... http://mormonstories.org/?p=1091
SPEAKING IN CEDAR CITY: On the 21st of this month at 1:30 I'll be addressing 1500 incoming freshmen at Southern Utah University on "Widening Our Circle."
AT OAKLAND STAKE CONFERENCE: September 19th I have been asked to conduct a Primary Chorus singing my song from the Children's Songbook. (See page 109 of No More Goodbyes.)
BOOK I'M FINISHING THIS EVENING: Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Nasland. Probably the most unrelentingly rich book I've ever read. Also deeply enjoyed listening to (while scrubbing and oiling the kitchen cabinets) The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, a remarkable tracking of the fear of "the other" that haunts our beloved country.
So–-back to school! May your homework be easy. Or if not easy, then meaningful. And addressed with confidence and gratitude.
"You have learned something. That always feels at first
as if you had lost something." ~H.G. Wells