Remembering Ghosts

Sometimes I’ll be reminded of Claremont; a book, a phrase, someone who was there with me that I encounter again after a long time. I’ll remember walking through the Biblical Gardens at the School of Theology, walking the Claremont college campuses and breathing in the warm desert breeze. I’ll remember watching my children playing in the runs and crevices of our ancient apartment  complex. I’ll remember meeting with friends in the shadow of the campus chapel to talk faith and grace and politics. Everything felt new then, new and possible. Everything was possibility and I drank it all in like I was constantly dying of thirst. We lived inside dreams and purpose and hope. Every day was forever.

Until it wasn’t. Of course. Maybe we need that kind of temporal deception, that feeling of lasting-forever to help us go on in the midst of constant materialist reminders that nothing lasts except for the sure repetition of finding new ways to die. I remember all these things, but only as ghosts that hide in the corners of my vision, never coming into focus. Even a glass, darkly, is a grace. But not remembering would be good, too.

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Yes All Men: Confronting a Culture of Male Sexual Violence as Men

Historical research recently revealed that Eliza R. Snow, possibly the most beloved and influential woman in Mormon history, was gang raped by 8 men in Missouri, during the height of conflicts between native Missourians and Mormons in 1838. Like everyone else, I was shocked and horrified by the discovery. I didn’t, however, expect the intensity of feeling that followed. Stories of rape and sexual assault are tragically common, and always have been, and that kind of ordinariness doesn’t often elicit strong outward emotion in me. But as the reactions on social media began to pour in, and I read about “Zion’s poetess,” and “our beloved Eliza,” and “the maiden of purity,” tears rolled down my cheeks and I realized that Eliza meant more to me than I had realized. Her words and her persona are all over our early history. I’d read several of her writings and two of her many poems are particularly meaningful to me. To know that behind all that she had experienced one of the worst things a human being can experience, and that she carried it with her for the majority of her life, felt shatteringly unjust.

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