Friday, July 15, 2016

We know how.

"I don't know how."

Searching. Searching for words. I've been searching for words for weeks.

(What a privilege, to spend time searching for words, when people are falling, when words are being wrenched out of their mouths, when breath is being wrenched out of their lungs)

Searching for words, and the words that keep echoing in my head all start the same:

"I don't know how..."

But that is a lie. I know how. We know how.


I left Jerusalem in the night. Loaded into the taxi with one last sip of Taybeh still on my tongue. And sat, clenched fists, sweating, the whole way to the airport.

Clawed my way out of Tel Aviv, escaping. Some can't. Most don't want to. Not forever.

A tightly wound ball of anger and hurt, lurching left and right through life until --
   -- five years ago now, can you imagine --
I crashed.

I had seen, had witnessed, the constancy.

The patient widows.

The prayers of feet and hands.

And I did not know if I could do that.

And I turned the anger inward onto myself.

And my mind collapsed.

"I don't know how."


2003. Millions of us in the streets, shouting, saying:

"Bombs lead to more bombs. Bombs lead to more bombs. Bombs lead to more bombs. We've got to find another way. "

Do you believe us, now? Do you believe us?

And polite, nice, lovely people saying:

"We don't know how."

"We don't know how."

We know how.

Enough. Disarm your hearts. Unclench your fists from around the weapons that became invisible to us long ago -- we only see theirs, we only see theirs.

We know how.


I have seen them:

the widows

the sorrowful mothers

going back to the unjust judge time and time and time again:

"Grant us justice. Grant us justice. Grant us justice."

I know how.

We've seen how.

I've heard the steady whisper,

felt the light touch of the steadying hand,

met that voice down under everything.

I know how.

Silence. Enough. Peace. Be still. Know that God is God.

We know how.

It's just that it's hard.

And guns always seem easier
    than the type of prayer we need
          revealed to us by the presence
               of persistently patient widows.

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