Monday, April 27, 2020

May Our Tears be Translated When the Bell Tolls for Us

I just poured my heart out in a post on No Longer Quivering -- about an expression of grief about the pain what is essentially cognitive bias which ends up leaving us with the feeling of cognitive dissonance when reality breaks through our fantasy.

We see what we want to see as we begin our journey in life.  In high demand groups, we must take the diversity of the world and transmute it into a scheme of black and white.

I'd hoped that Jill Rodrigues would read what I'd written, so I refrained from using all of the terms that I normally would, and I appealed to Scripture to build a case.   After writing to her local health department about her glib attitudes about COVID19 containment measures, it seems that she did embrace something like the quarantine, but she wasn't observing social distancing as it has been described to the American people.

Then, rumors that Jill's daughter Nurie became ill started circulating after the family became strangely silent over Easter Sunday and Nurie Rodrigues' birthday.

Those of us who named Jill have been identified as "haters," but all I could think about was how horrible and damaging this virus has become.  If those children who some describe as "stacked like cord wood" in their home, how difficult it would be to care for someone sick while trying to maintain the quarantine.  Reports of delayed manifestations of strokes caused by clots in both the arterial and venous vessels in the brain have surfaced in young people who survived the initial lung symptoms.  I didn't think, 'We told you so."  I thought of the worst case scenario.  What if COVID 19 visits the Rodrigues home.

All I could think about was my own experience of when the bough broke for me and how devastated I was.  I ended up helping my church leaders facilitate the domestic violence of women and children there.  I still have trouble living with that reality for facilitating them and thus supporting (or passively participating in) the abuse of women there.  And I stuck it on the bough of cognitive dissonance.  And that was heavy enough to break the bough.

What if COVID 19 breaks the bough of the Rodrigues Family because of the cruel morbidity and terrifying death rate that it is currently bringing our world?  I wept and wept for a day before I could even bring myself to write.  I know what it is to see my well intentions turn into a nightmare for someone else -- especially those who are needy and vulnerable.  So to provoke thought, I created this image:

I wanted Jill to feel like there are people who understand what it feels like and how soul-crushing it is when that bough breaks.  How sad it would be if that broken bough sent a cradle to fall?

But as I write this record of the error,  the wrong picture appears in the NLQ post.   But just the same, I wanted to preserve the error because of what it illustrates about us as fallible people.

I think of it as another ironic example -- and an absurd one -- of how so much of what we intend can get easily lost in translation.  I want to do all that I can to communicate to Jill Rodrigues and those like her that we who got out of the school of hard knocks of the religion that she's currently following know how painfully hard it is to walk away from it and all that one invests in it.  For me, only a sad, violent tragedy would give me cause to stop shelving doubts so that I could see things more clearly.

Instead, my sarcasm (a means of coping with tremendous pain) appears in the process of posting those pictures.  It is another manifestation of a not so healthy coping mechanism that most textbooks on the subject call "release drinking."  It is just another escape from the pain of seeing reality as it is.

"Here, Lady.  Have a margarita and call it coffee."   But that's basically what we do.

But we are not islands unto ourselves, as John Donne wrote.  The bells that toll for others toll for us.  And in that process, many of us are misunderstood.  What we say and why we say it and what we do can become lost in translation.  That breaks my heart, too.

Just the same, I'm going to keep trying to get it right.  We are all broken people in search of a city that is a better one than our current home where pain visits us too often.  Good intentions become unlikely and unintended weapons that can become deadly.  And that is part of the process that changes us.

May what I write bring us all together, and may it show what it is to be poor in spirit.  But for grace, there go I.  And my the Holy Spirit continue to guide us away from spiritual eugenics of the Pharisee who was replused by the sinner and guide us by kindness, bringing us together into all truth.