Saturday, December 11, 2010

O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

"I am sitting at a table in Caribou Coffee, in Wheaton, Illinois, watching the snow fall out the window. I am sticking my hair in a bun, pen held between my teeth, absent-mindedly looking through Grooveshark for good tunes for the afternoon. I am doing my reading for my graduate Abnormal Psychology class: from The Clinician's Handbook. This subsection: how to look for signs of physical abuse in a child...

'...There are a number of common physical signs of physical abuse. Burns of all types should cause concern, especially cigarette burns...'

...And I am cooking with the girls, we are laughing and chopping vegetables and the radio is playing reggaetón loudly, we are dancing. I grab one's hand to lift over her head and twirl her around. Without thinking, I gently rub my thumb across the round mark on her forearm, just above her wrist, as I set her hand back down. Faded but still raw looking. There are more on her upper arm, there are more on her back. I've seen them, hoping she doesn't notice my eyes linger- as she chats, cheerfully, as she throws her shirt in her laundry basket and pulls on another one, as she tells me about her morning and what she's going to do for the rest of the afternoon.

I am used to them now, they don't turn my stomach and take my breath the way they did when I first saw them. I don't think every time I see them, about what they mean, about where they came from... they are a part of life here, and I rebel against that with every cell of my body, my brain, my spirit, but it is how you continue to do this work day in and day out. Does she think about those marks and what they stand for consciously, when she looks at her arm, dozens of times a day? Do those memories cross her mind, or is she content in the now, in her life in this house, where she is finally safe? Does that mark on her arm seem as natural to her as the scar on my knee I got falling off my bike when I was five does to me? If so, is that good? Is that bad?...

...I secure the clip in my hair. I order my drink and laugh chatting with the barista. I underline in the book so I can remember the details for the test, but I write Lord have mercy in the margin."

-repost from Feb 2010.

Abide: to remain, continue, stay. To have one's abode, dwell, reside.
is a Hebrew word which translates literally to,
"God with us.

"...o come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel."

1 comment:

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

I'm catching up on your blog with O Tennenbaum playing in the background and this one made me cry. Girl, you've got a knack with words.

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.