“The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
“As I Walked Out One Evening”
~ W.H. Auden
There are some weeks where it is easier to be more circumspect than others. Then there are times when, as Auden’s poem suggests, “the clocks had ceased their chiming….” Real life gets in the way of quick and easy summary.
The MLK Jr. holiday afforded a beautiful day and drive out to Tomales Bay. In late afternoon the brilliant sky, the incoming fog and the dance between light and dark, color and shadow were our companions all the way to Stinson Beach. There, we walked the beach in our shirtsleeves then made a dash to the cafe for burgers and tea. A perfect day, yet a day oblivious to the hole that would tear in the fabric of the remaining week.
A local notable had committed suicide the next day. A friend to the rest of my family and an acquaintance to me, I had shared dinner with this gentleman’s son the previous Sunday. This same son, David, would find his step-father hanged in the back yard. One by one my children checked in by phone, anxious to process the chaos that was running through their hearts and souls. They had grown up with David and there is no family picture of a birthday party without David in it. For the past ten years, there are few holidays without David’s step-father at the dinner table.
During a time such as this, there is little energy to write of the hope and future that we have. It’s only possible to hang on to that hope. No blithe summary will do, no psychological evaluation is sufficient. The Scriptures are full of raw, naked expressions of injustice and hearts crying out to God. Throughout the Bible there are citations of pain, suffering and family tragedy. Today I cling to the hope that the God who made the Scriptures so blatantly realistic is the one who will step in and heal.