Distraction. Pain. Confusion. Anxiety. Wave after wave, with no idea where it is coming from—I sit at my desk fighting it for what seems like hours but the clock tells me thirty minutes.
‘I am sorry. I have to leave. I can’t tell you why, because I don’t know. But I have to leave.’
Cool air washes my face from the vents, I press close letting its fingers find the hollows of my face as I sit in the parking lot. The radio–the music stops, people talk—there has been a shooting. My phone rings, ‘Did you hear?’
There are bodies everywhere, some shuffling, some under trees, on curbs, gathered in small huddles, most vacant, many crying. All dying—inside. Wondering why.
A man in the grass screams ‘Jesus’, ‘Repent.’ ‘This is because we are sinners.’ I want to punch him.
We buy pizza and two liters. Hand out Slices. Sit. Talk. Hug. Hug more. Talk more. A student brings out a guitar. We sing. We walk, find bodies. Find them somebody to talk. To hug.
What day is it? I don’t remember, but I do the only thing I can. Give hugs. Talk. Love those that are left behind, wondering why it was not them & why this happened.
“If we expect community relationships to be ideal, spiritual, friendly, and enlightened, we are seeking what we can’t even expect of our own minds. To want the company of others without suffering is unrealistic. But if we avoid close relationships, we will also suffer. In a wise spiritual community we acknowledge our difficulties and choose to help one another anyway. … if we understand community as a place to mature our practice of steadiness, patience, and compassion, to become conscious together with others, then we have the fertile soil of awakening.”
(After the Ecstasy, the Laundry)
(Welcome to Imperfect Prose. My name is Brian Miller of Waystation One, and I will be your guest host today. Each week, we gather together to share life. We explore or brokenness and celebrate our filling, our rebirth and new life. We are glad you are here, sit for a while and share a bit of your story.
The day of the Virginia Tech shooting, I was sitting in my office at the church, but could not focus, overcome with an unexplainable anxiety. After leaving I heard of the shooting and gathered a few friends and went to Blacksburg. The next several days we just loved on students who were in a state of shock. That is what they needed. A gospel in flesh, not one rammed down their throat.)
*painting by e.wierenga
won’t you join us, here for imperfect prose on thursdays? in which we walk each other home? (ram dass)
note from emily: a few things have changed around here: first of all, our logo, thanks to dear janae charlotte. (see button code in right-hand column)
also, i will no longer be working solo. there is now an “imperfect team”, which will be ever-expanding as we include others in the community like yourselves. people who have a heart for guest-posting and for ministering to those who link up.
because i have these four boys, under the age of four, i am unable to keep on doing this imperfect thing alone (which also means commenting on everyone’s posts) so with this in mind, i’ve asked: brian (of waystation one), joann (of ostriches look funny), tara (of pohlkotte press), brandee (of smooth stones), and suzannah (of so much shouting, so much laughter) to assist me in commenting and in hosting. every second week, i will alternate hosting with one of these fine people. next week, brian will be taking his turn. thank you for grace, friends… it’s the only way i could continue imperfect (which i’ve so missed) while continuing to serve on my family. love you.
1. link up a post (old or new) that you feel is ‘broken’ or ‘imperfect’ or somehow redemptive
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog)
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!