I meant to update the Friday before last, as has become my schedule. But then, as the first round of Kavanaugh news slithered through my day, I never got around to it. And then there were the testimonies. And the advancement. And the protests. And today will be the vote, and I don’t mind telling you that I don’t know when that is because it’s 10 o’clock in the morning and I still haven’t gotten out of bed because I can’t.
I have been doing a lot of grieving for my friend who died, and that takes energy. And there have been a lot of other occurrences that have been emotionally draining in the last month. But this—this blatant circus of partisan denial, this willful ignorance, this good ol’ boys club; I don’t have it in me to deal with that, really. A very small part of me envies my friend for having bowed out before this happened, which is not good.
If you are not in America, Reader, let me summarize: the current Republican president nominated a man back in July to fill an empty Supreme Court seat. That man has since been accused, credibly, by several women of sexual assault. A Republican Senate heard statements from the first woman to speak out and from the man in question. The man’s statement was belligerent, childish, and emotional. The White House then ordered a hasty and circumscribed FBI investigation that, likely, most people didn’t even read because it was released in the dead of night and lauded by the White House. The mostly-male Senate voted to advance this man’s confirmation. Today there will be a vote on whether to give this man a lifetime appointment to the highest court in this country.
I’m tired. I’m tired of expecting more from my representatives. I’m tired of how blatantly they don’t give a shit if ignoring the pain of others will advance their desires. I’m tired of the constant news cycle that makes everything infinitely worse. I’m tired of having to deal with the cowards who go online and attack women because it makes them feel righteous and brave. (Which, by the way, if you want to fight me on my not-at-all-attempting-to-be-gentle summary of this mess, don’t. I will eviscerate you in text and I do not care if you feel like God loves you better if you’re an asshat about this. I am too damn tired to be kind and understanding.) I am exhausted by the memories that I carry that have nothing and everything to do with this dumpster fire.
But the thing of it is, I’m also a pastor. And I know that I am not the only one who’s tired in my congregation. I know I’m not the only one with a mind full of pain, with a heart broken by the betrayal of those who are supposed to listen, with a soul cracking under the reality that I do not matter to those in power. I’m also a historian, and I know that humanity has always been trash and this is not necessarily worse than any other time, not least because we went through this whole thing back in 1991 with Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas and the Senate confirmed that guy, too, because fuck women apparently. So I know that I do not get to stay tired. I know that I have to get out of bed, and put on real clothes, and pray with everything in me to have the strength to look my congregants in the eye tomorrow and help them bring their broken hearts to God because I stand on the promise that God was with Anita Hill and God is with Christine Ford and God is with all of us who are silenced. God hears our screams and holds our tears and there will be justice one day.
The thing is, that day isn’t today. And it won’t be tomorrow, when I face my congregants and their pain. It won’t be the next day, when I have to talk to people who call this travesty a triumph because it paves the way for things they find more important, pouring tar over the bodies of those in their way. I don’t know when God’s justice will come rolling like a cleansing river. I don’t know when God’s justice will wipe away the tears of those weeping from the wounds of being unheard, of being mocked, of being forced, or forgotten, or used, or broken, or erased. I don’t know when God’s justice will remake this fallen world. But it will. I cannot bear the idea that this world is left to our own devices, we stupid and selfish humans who cannot see the God-light in each other even when it shines like a fucking supernova because we are so damn scared that more of you means less of me when, actually, the infinite compassion of God holds open the edges of the universe itself to make room for the entirety of who God sees we could be.
If only we got out of the way.
If only we listened to someone unlike ourselves.
If only we held the pain of another to be real even though we can’t feel it.
If only we actually sought to treat one another as God treats us.
If only we loved like both you and I matter.
Faith is not built on “if only”s, though some people might characterize it that way. Nor is faith built on certainties. I know very little about God and God’s ways, in the concrete sense. But I believe, in my bones, that God hears. And God’s heart is breaking, too, and God is having trouble getting out of bed, but God will because there is work to be done and rivers to flow and justice to be brought and tears to be wiped away and hope, foolish and overwhelming and immeasurable hope to hold tightly because the darkness has never overcome, is not currently overcoming, and will never overcome the light.
To this I hold, with everything that I am, because it is that which gets me out of bed. It is that which I will bring to my congregants. It is that which I will take with me into every vote, and phone call, and moment of determined remembrance that my friend’s way out was not the better way. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
May it be so, in these very dark days.
And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.” (Exodus 3:7, NKJV)