Saturday, October 11, 2008

Love and Anger

I just read the first draft of David's novel, which is about the struggle to bring the Kindom, and for book group I'm reading Persepolis, which is about the Iranian revolution. And so for the last week or so I've been very cranky and crabby and irritable and sensitive and wondering why... finally today I had a big wave of grief for all the hard-to-swallowness of this world and realized my irritability is probably just misdirected rage at injustice. I'm still haunted by the horrible parts of the life stories of the people I know in Nicaragua and so my grief today had some specific faces. At the wonderful school where I teach, each appreciation I have for a positive aspect of the education there is also like a knife of wonder: "why is every school not like this? nothing about these children makes them more deserving of a quality education, and in so, so, SO many schools equally deserving children receive fewer opportunities and resources in their education. If they go to school at all. And again, I am contrasting the two schools I taught in, last year and this year. Last year the children sometimes were sent home at lunch because there was no food to give them and hungry children can't concentrate in school. In my current school, one of our main concerns is how to more fully incorporate experiential learning programs into the curriculum. The contrast leaves me reeling, baffled, confused at this world I live in.

When I was done crying I looked for ways to respond to my grief symbolically as well as actively (actively is a whole nother blog post). David and I came up with these ideas: write un-naive wedding liturgy, read about the crucified Christ, go to Quaker meeting tomorrow morning, write in my journal, write a song, (pray). I also lit a candle, anointed my own forehead with oil, watered my plants, fed myself soup, read feminist folk tales AND......(and here's the inspiration for this post)

...listened to music compiled by the Iona Community from around the world: "Sent by the Lord" and "Love and Anger". I had gotten these CD's and songbooks for Christmas and what music could have been better today! They were so very appropriate and there is even a Nicaraguan song in there in two languages. It's so heartening to put faces to those building a better world. The notes about the songs, for example, are mindful of the ways wealthy worshippers can't completely authentically sing words written for poor Christians. In Spanish the words are: "We are a people who walks by the path of pain/ The invited humble and poor are of God" and in English "For the world and all its people we address our prayers to God/ All the powerless, all the hungry are most precious to their God" with the note "In the original Spanish, the text is very much the song of an impoverished people, and it would be impossible for most British worshipers to sing the words with full integrity. The English text attempts to keep some of the deep passion of the original but allow for wider use." There are some readings in between songs and one of them is a prayer that all peoples be fed, even if it means forgiving debt and seeing stocks lower, or if it means a reduction in dining choices for those who are not hungry. I turned toward the CD player in my kitchen and shouted "AMEN!"

I am even thinking of using some of these songs with my voice students (I have 2 now). I already gave "We Shall Overcome" to one student. :)

In a song I wrote recently, one lyric is "I hope they never leave off haunting me, the lives in other lands." I feel this grief will come and go in waves my whole life long, as someone who cares (as in David's song, every lament is a love song). But the encouragement will keep coming my whole life long, too. Here's to the Beloved Community, here's to calling in Paradise with song, and here's to imagining the better world we're longing for. Amen.

PS The title of the second album comes from a prayer wherin we ask God to use our love and anger to spur us to work for justice.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Yeah, I'm with you Rachael...this struggle comes and goes for me, thanks for writing about it. I appreciate the notes about singing and praying with integrity. That's important.

Love, Beth