“When I heard the news my heart fell on the floor
I was on plane on my way to Baltimore
In these troubled times it’s hard enough as it is
My soul’s known a better life than this.
I wondered how so many could be in so much pain
While others don’t seem to feel a thing
Then I cursed my whiteness and I get so damned depressed
In a world of suffering why should I be so blessed.”
Brett Dennen from so much more
A few weeks ago our dear friend’s Kat and Tom gave us a CD by Brett Dennen. For no particular reason, just that they thought we’d like him (don’t you love presents like that?) and we do like him, I especially love him. And he has been particularly helpful to be in the last week (Jo I hope that answers your question).
After a few years ban on intense, real life movies I decided that I should crawl out of my hole and go and watch one. I think I ended my drought more intensely than I should. Tuesday night I saw “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo”. I was invited by the one of the girls from the migrant and refugee department at work who had a free ticket and convinced me using the tag line “their stories need to be heard”. As you can imagine it was simply horrendous. It was a documentary and the woman who made it was there on the night. She had been gang raped herself and said, as the tag line did that she and these women want their stories to be told because until they are nothing will be done. So I sat through an hour and half listening to women tell stories of been raped by up to 7 men at a time, with guns and pieces of wood and anything else they could get their hands on. Stories of rejection after been raped as their husbands and families will no longer have them as well as the fact that many can no longer control their bladders and bowels. This has happened to literally hundreds of thousands of women. Such large scale rape is a strategy of war, a war that she believes is been fought on a large part due to the fact that the Congo has 80% of the world’s coaltan, a metal used in mobile phones and laptops. There were some Congolese women in the audience. One, perhaps two, who were sitting behind began to weep and wail half way through. It was a sound I won’t forget for awhile.
Then on Wednesday as I was still recovering Ryan somehow convinced me to go and see a film as part of the Mexican film festival titled “La Zona” or “The Zone. That was a bad decision. I can not say it was equally as horrendous as the greatest silence” but it wasn’t good. All about inequality and corruption in Mexico. How the lives of the poor are just traded for money and power and everyone assumes their lives and deaths will just go un-noticed. And for the most part they do I suppose except by their mothers and one of the last scenes of this film was that of a mother searching for her missing son.
I came home and listened to Brett Dennen:
“I don’t feel comfortable with the way my clothes fit
I can’t get used to my bodies limit
I got some fancy shoes to chase away these blues
They cost a lot money but they aren’t worth a thing
I want to free my feet from the broken glass and concrete
I want to get away from this city
And lay upon the ground staring a hole in the sky
Wondering where we go when we die”
Last week I bought a little sewing kit for $2.50. It has needles, thread, scissors, safety pins, buttons as well as some other things I don’t know what to do with. It was a satisfying buy I tell you what but the satisfaction of such a bargain was no where near enough to prepare me for the satisfaction of sewing up some of my ripped clothes tonight. Boy o boy is that satisfying. And fun too. Although what a little, old couple Martin and I would have looked like tonight, 9.30 drinking a cuppa, him asleep me sewing and listening to my new favourite Brett Dennen
After the longest interview of my life last night (2 hours and 15 mins) I have some time to take. So I am going home for an early start to the weekend. Hallelujah. It is going to be a good one.
“A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heores, but simply live each day with new hope, like children in wonderment as the sune rises and in thanksgiving as it sets. Community is only being created when they have realised that the greatness in humanity lies in the acceptance of our insignificance, our human condition and our earth and to thank God for having put in our finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of people is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day.”
Jean Vanier (1979) Community and Growth
For the last two years in October I have written a post about being tired and being a bit overwhelmed with life. See. And see again.
I am quite pleased that I managed to get through October without writing that post. I think no longer being a uni student helps not to mention my very intentional efforts to not be too busy. But alas I do not think I am going to get through November. I am tired. As the year comes to an end, I realise that I am very ready for my Christmas/January holidays. Time off work will be good, time off nominating will be even better (I am really hoping we are not expected to do much of that over Christmas) and time with very missed friends and family will be the best.
I also realise that perhaps I find pain more difficult at the end of year. Not mine this year (I really have had a very blessed year for which I am grateful) but that of those around me, of the world. The beginning of a year feels hopeful, there is energy around to try and make a difference. The end of the year seems more like waiting.
This year I have been involved in preparing liturgies for church so I have learned a lot about the Christian calender. At the end of year (as of Nov 30) we have advent which is about waiting, about preparing for the birth of Jesus. Then we have Christmas obviously about clebrating the birth of Jesus. And after that, 12 days after Christmas (Jan 6), we have Epiphany which is the day associated with the three kings visiting Jesus. This is the time to focus on our vision, on healing divisions, on newness of life. I have been thinking at some unconscious level (which has now become conscious) this calender influences me.
Learning to sit with pain. Knowing you can’t fix it. Knowing you can’t make it go it away. Feeling so helpless, knowing all you can do is just sit with people in it. And hope and pray. It’s not easy.
So now after watching many hours of TV and internet and Obama’s acceptance speech over and over I feel ready to comment. Not that it really has anything to do me but well that’s what blogs are for aren’t they.
I am happy, probably not estatic but very happy. There was still too many “God Bless America’s” and too much talk of the importance of “securing the borders” and helping the poor, struggling, American middle class for me to be entirely comfortable (I was much more comfortable with the “sharing the wealth” comment to the now famous Joe the plumber but I probably shouldn’t say that too loud) but I am hopeful for the end of the war, a willingness to work with other nations and better health care for poorer Americans. I am also pleased that there is finally an African-American president. Not that, that is the only reason he got in and that is good but it was moving watching yesterday a little story on a African-American family. Three generation of women told there story and what it meant to them. I cried. It is, if nothing else, very important symbolism bit just for America but for the world.
I also noted that there was no comment on where Christians were voting. Last election there was a big deal made about how conservative Christians got George Bush in based on “moral issues” such as abortion, prayer in schools, gay marriage and fighting islam. I don’t know but perhaps some more American Christians (as I am sure there were some last time) have come to see that these are not the real moral issues rather things like poverty, war and equality are and it would have been nice had that got some coverage. But alas it seems Christianity only gets coverage when Christians are behaving like radical right wing nazis and I think that’s a shame.
I am sitting in a tattoo place. It is Martin’s birthday today and he wanted me to get him a tattoo so I am. He seems to be coping thus far. I am not really so I am distracting myself by writing this. I am writing on the Iphone so it is going to take me awhile.
We have had a nice day. Went to church in the morning and then after we headed to fish markets for some garlic prawns kebabs. From there we drove across to Balgowlah for a picnic on one of the headlands overlooking the harbour. It was very beautiful but there were a whole bunch of magpies which were making me a bit nervous. After the picnic we came to Manly for icecream and now Martin’s tattoo. Scary but happy birthday my lovely.