A Laugh

Temma was laughing last night. I awoke to her laugh–a sharp intake of air accompanied by a little shriek–a giggle that doesn’t last long, but when it does happen is usually followed by another and maybe another. Who knows what brings on these laughs? When I heard Temma in the night, I recalled our Pentecost celebration from the day before. In my sermon I had spoken of the word “conspire” meaning to breathe together. I asked us all to take a deep breath together, following with the declaration that we had started a conspiracy, and to continue breathing in the Holy Spirit to continue the conspiracy of love. (This thought borrowed from the author, Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book of sermons, Bread Of Angels.)

I suppose Temma could be laughing in the night because of Pentecost. The absurdity of breathing a conspiracy. Temma is a conspirator, for sure. Her laughs, a sharp intake of air with someone or something inside of her or out. Who knows what she is conspiring for or against? With whom or for whom? I can feel so far from her and so connected with her at the very same time. She’s a channel for other people’s pain, and their joy. Especially her dad’s, I think. She leaves a shadow, a reflection, like the baptism of the Holy Spirit leaves a mark. It doesn’t wash off or wear off. No matter how hard I might try, she will not let me go. I’m marked forever now. She has marked me.

Tim and I recently saw the film, Disobedience. I sat and wept at the end. One of the main characters of the film, asks her husband–she pregnant and he about to be made Rabbi by the very close-knit religious community they are a part of– for freedom from their marriage and their religious community. She pleads for the freedom to pursue her identity, her sexual identity, her love, her spiritual identity, her identity as a mother. Her husband grants her “freedom.” I was torn apart.

Temma has marked me. The church has marked me. The religion I grew up in, my God, the Holy Spirit, my baptism, my marriage, my vocation, all have marked me, hemmed me in behind and before. I will never be “free” of these. There are times when I thought my freedom meant to leave them all behind. And there are times now when I’ve felt more freedom in my life than ever before. Like water, a channel, like the Holy Spirit, running freely between a rock and a hard place, washing the stones, changing them, by little and by little. I am free to be part of the conspiracy.

 

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