It has been a long and interesting day. The Palm-Passion service was, as always, that sharp shift, that stark reminder that it all is marching ever so quickly and inexorably towards that cross, there's no denying. Here's the story, in all it's starkness. Here people, is what they decided, despite several options and chances to back out, to do to Jesus, this inclusive, healing, sight-making, life-bringing, beloved teacher. And here too is what became of those who purported to be his followers. "Nope, never heard of him." Gone. Fled. He is left to the soldiers, aided only by strangers. Pretty sobering stuff for a Sunday morning.
We read the Passion in four voices, we sang an anthem that is more contemporary than some music we usually do that I found very arresting. I had trouble not tearing up as I sang. Afterwards we ate soup together and I was aware that there is at least one among us who is in great pain. Pain that I cannot touch, cannot heal because the doors of this person's heart are closed to me, closed right now to us all. And yet she chooses still to sit among us. I don't know how long that will even continue. I fear for not much longer though I pray this is not so. She is in God's hands and only God is able to do for her what needs to be done.
After church L and I took a road trip. As always when I am with him, there were moments of great tenderness and sweetness, moments of great hilarity, and moments when I thought my heart would break. It began as we left town. I asked him if he had called him mom to tell her he was coming. "No," he said, "she'll be home, she's always home." "Oh?" "Yeah, she sleeps a lot." I asked him if this was true when he was a kid as well and he said yes. He then went on to tell me that the main thing is to make sure not to say things that upset her as that will make her sick. He told me he knows what those things are, has always known and is careful. Um-hmmm. I can imagine. I asked him what upsets her, and to her credit some are the same things that upset me...him fighting, him talking about his "moving to the Cities" (code for getting in trouble or worse), but there were other things, more innocent, that kids might share with moms without a second thought....that for him are landmines. When we arrived at the trailercourt there was a really scarey moment. He went up to the door and there was no answer. He looked in a window and his face went white....he said "wait here" and literally tore off up the dirt road to another trailer. A few minutes later he was back, looking calmer, and directed me to another trailer. Apparently mom had moved. She hadn't mentioned it. This happens. Once it happened, he told me on the way home, while he was "locked up" as a kid and he lost them for awhile. He had to track down his family. They forgot to tell him where they went, it seems. But today he found her, in her "new trailer" down the road. She is buying this one, not renting like the other one, so she can't get evicted. So I went in with him and was introduced to mom and his two sisters and his brother. They were polite but clearly much more interested in spending time with L than me so I left them to visit. When I picked him up later he said it was a good visit and that his mom thought I was "nice." Good, I passed! His mom is encouraging him to stay in town here, he says. She gets points from me for that. We talked about eagles on the way home, how he has seen them and their nests in tall trees and finds them very spiritual. We talked about places that are special, where the Spirit feels close. And we talked about his brother's limo and his sister's guitar, and low riders and art and making subs and what is going to happen next in his life. I told him I have not given up on trying to find someone to do an appeal and that there is always hope for change. And he said, "sure" but I'm not sure how much he really believes it.
And then I came home and took a nap.