To Go Into the Desert

What does it mean to find yourself in the desert? What does it mean to have been there so long you do not recall if you were cast into it, led into it or walked out into it voluntarily…and maybe you don’t care anymore.

Maybe you were born in the desert and raised on the glorious mythology of the golden oasis only to learn that the oasis was crowded and made poisonous with the filth of too many seeking after too much…and so you left.

Maybe the desert is where you belong…maybe it is where you and others want to you to be…maybe all three.

The desert is a place where God needs to provide. There is no way through the desert without God. No survival without God. Whether you are there for six months or 40 years is entirely up to you.

I confess I prefer the desert to the oasis. I prefer the silence to the noise and isolation to the crowd.

How does one reconcile this to a theology of community? What does the desert have to do with community? Is one desert bound also ex communio?

I confess I cannot answer these questions…not to any level of satisfaction.

Sometimes I miss the oasis but really it is not the oasis I miss so much as the pedestal and so perhaps the desert is the best place for me. It is not community so much as it is the mountaintop I miss. To visit the burning bush and return with the voice of God and the tablets…the whole thing reeks of presumption and ego.

The mistake of the Accuser, that Satan, in leading Christ to the desert was in thinking that in the middle of the waste the need would be so great that Jesus would crumble and bow down. The mistake was the failure to recognize that it is in the dry places that God provides water and in the lonely places that God provides community and in the hot places that God causes the shade tree to rise up and offer comfort.

The mistake is to believe that the desert is absent of God when in fact the spirit of God hovers and moves as the breeze through the barrenness seeking opportunity to bring life.

It is from out of the desert that voices pregnant with having met God come and faces glowing with having seen God come, to bring with them a wisdom that is not their own.

I live in the desert for now. I love the desert for now. I will remain in the desert for now.

such a song

beauty turns to horror
when the song becomes the scream
and the throat begins to bleed;

so much for the joy;
it was injected into our veins,
and burned into our brains,
and now we are blind with stupidity,
and now we are blind with rage.

weren’t meant for better things?
maybe were meant for nothing,
maybe we weren’t meant at all.

our shit

we had things in the littler times,
we had things we called our own,
we made these cast off things our own;
sometimes broken,
most times used,
no matter – this press board, this garbage, this shit,
it became ours. it was our shit,
and we made it better.

but

it was still shit.
just because it became ours,
just because we made it our own,
just because we did the best,
the best we could with it,
it doesn’t change the fact that
it was still shit and we knew it.

don’t ever think that taking it in
made it better somehow.

 

filling spaces

i drive the long,
and i drive the empty
spaces between the places,
the spaces between the smallest places;
though sometimes i fly,
i fly the blue and sunbright skies,
the skies between the places,
between the largest of places;
left alone with my crazy self
thinking shutupshutupshutupshutup
to the non-stop that blurs my thoughts
running together like an endless train
of painted, purple unanswered questions
of unchallenged observations;

and so

i put on the music of the other insane
and listen to their pain/pleasure craziness
to drown out the familiar nagging
that screams louder and louder
when it sense that i, that i, that i,
that i am alone with it in the spaces,
the spaces between small places,
and the skies between large places;
until it stops trying to force me to listen
and it takes control of my hands
making me write and write and write,
because it cannot stay inside
for fear that the unexposed nerve,
the unlistened to cry,
becomes the closed forever door
of the one walking who had died

Penumbra

People.

Interesting creatures.

People look at other people and think they know them. They look and decide if they like or dislike them. Often people are indifferent but when they are not they are weighing and deciding about one-another.

The thing is though we way and decide based on externals. Even when we think we are digging into a person we are often not.

Sometimes we decide whether people like us or not based on their ideas and comments to and about us. Usually however these ideas are not about us but about our own ideas. It is like two reflections looking at one-another and thinking they know the real person…the source of the image, only to find later the image was not real but a dim inverted representation.

We do not know the people we think we know. We know what they show. We know the external representations of the internal like we know the dim, out-of-focus edges of a shadow.

mystery

mystery is not what we have not found
mystery is what we will never find
mystery is not what we do not understand
mystery is what we will never understand

mystery is being stolen from us
in small moments and in little ways
until we are left with the antiseptic truth
of a reality scrubbed clean of the divine
and left to its empty self
prostrate before its own golden image
full of an echoing indulgence
confused only by its puzzling lonliness

The End of Truth

How do we move forward when there is no longer any such thing as truth?

Of course there is such a thing as truth, what I mean is that we no longer accept truth any more in favour of our own unique perspectives and increasingly cemented worldviews.

There is no longer such a thing as fact or proof for in the face of such things people simply say “this has been edited/photoshopped/doctored” and sometimes this is, in fact, true.

And so we can now only act in the moment, reactively, as eyewitnesses. We can no longer be proactive. We can no longer respond if “we were not there” and soon even seeing things with our own eyes will no longer be enough in terms of burden of proof.

Perception is reality the old wisdom goes and today everything is perception.

Apres Moi le Deluge

The floodgates have opened and the waters that have been unleashed are only the beginning of what hopefully will be a movement for empowerment.

A few weeks ago the New York Times and the New Yorker both published significant exposes of alleged sexual abuse by huge Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. At last count more than 40 women have come forward with eerily similar accounts of meetings with the producer and powerful executive.

Since then a similar piece of investigative journalism by the Los Angeles Times spoke with 38 women who accused director James Toback of sexual harassment and assault. Since the article was published more than 200 women have come forward.

Something is happening. Most recently creepy celebrity photographer Terry Richardson has been blacklisted by Conde Nast and others.

For years now former child stars such as Corey Feldman have been warning anyone who would listen that Hollywood was rife with pedophiles preying on young actors and actresses.

How could such a thing, seemingly a public secret, have been allowed to continue for so long? Such is the way of power in the world and the impact that it has on victims.

So why is this exploding to the forefront now?

Well the answer is complex but one significant part of the reason is that courage begets courage. When one person speaks up about abuse and is heard it gives others the courage to step forward and so on until a movement, such as what is rising now, begins.

For uncountable people, especially women, have been subject to the unwelcome sexual advances of people in power (usually men). Sometimes they are subject to outright sexual abuse and assault and then all the baggage that goes with it like shame, fear and guilt.

Sadly what we are seeing is the tiniest tip of an enormous iceberg which is being laid bare by a powerful new movement that includes a social media component with hashtags like #MeToo to ensure people suffering in silence know they are not alone.

I know of what I speak and could tattoo #MeToo on my forehead for the years of sexual abuse I had to suffer at the hands of man in authority over me.

It’s not just a Hollywood problem. It happens everywhere. There are victims suffering in silence everywhere and abusers living lives without consequence. It happens in Canada; it happens in Manitoba; and it happens right here in the Pembina Valley – people in power and authority who have abused and are actively abusing right now – it needs to stop. It needs to be exposed.

I know from personal experience that coming forward and revealing your abuse and the abuser can be the most difficult experience in the world. But I also know from personal experience it can make a difference. In my case it took decades for me to come forward. When I did my abuser was still in positions of authority over the vulnerable. Coming forward put a stop to that. It held the person accountable.

More importantly coming forward can start you on the road of healing – it did for me.

I hope the flood waters continue to rise. I hope those who use power and authority to abuse others are caught in their wake, removed from authority and held accountable for their actions.

If you have been or are being abused contact the police or someone you trust. My only regret is that I never did so sooner.

I am here to tell you it can make a difference.

I am here to tell you it is never too late.

I am here to tell you that you have a voice.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone.

#MeToo.