Letting the Air Out
It was another summer at the lake. Family walking from house to house, deck to deck, and kids finding how easily noise from the lake surface carries into living rooms all around. And afloat in the murky water were the fearsome visages of a hammerhead shark, a killer whale, an alligator, and a gigantic pink flamingo. The flamingo was so large that if each animal was actually alive and the size of its inflatable self, my money would have been on the flamingo in a fight.
I enjoyed the closing days of my vacation swimming from shore to the floating dock, ferrying children to and fro aboard inanimate predators. Then I heard it: “Uh oh.” And the sight of my childhood friend paddling a flamingo built for four back to shore, one hand doing the paddling, and the other holding closed a hole popped in the flimsy vinyl shell, confirmed our fears. My friend’s daughter did her best not to show disappointment. In fairness dad was trying to retrieve a small dog from the floating dock when the puncture happened, but it was still a hard loss.
I remember the sense of calm, ease, and comfort I felt, even in the midst of wounding the flamingo. But more and more I find moments of calm are interrupted in my own life by the circumstances of others’ lives. I discussed on Sunday the sickening horror of Oscar Martinez and his twenty-three-month-old daughter Angie Valeria perishing while crossing the Rio Grande at the end of June. And I know well the pain many are feeling on behalf of those persons stuck in the migration process, both physically in detention, and figuratively as pieces in a game politicians seem bent on playing.
This coming Sunday in worship, The Legal Clinic will be with us to tell us more about the work they do and the ways they are helping those in this process. They will likely mention their anticipation in welcoming an attorney to their staff in August. For clarification, I am not that attorney. I am working on separate matters. But if you sense that you want to be with others concerned with these matters, all are welcome at a vigil to end human detention camps at the capitol rotunda on Friday from 4 to 6 pm. You can learn more about it here: Friday Rally Information.
This is a hard reality to face, and there is hard work ahead for change. There are times when the air will seem to drain right out of us. But part of why we need community is to ferry us over the waters filled with the predators of doubt, frustration, fear, and even rage. It is our family in fellowship and in faith, checking in, checking up on us, that holds the greatest hope for calm, for ease, and for comfort at long last for so many. And the care, the holding we can do for one another, honors in only the smallest way those lives lost before kindness could carry them clear of the troubled waters.
And so for fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, for all the children of the world, may peace come. And may it be soon.
Rev. T. J. FitzGerald