watched her husband and several children
hacked to death with a machete.
Her remaining children are fatherless
also by machete
a living “lesson” from the perpetrators to never forget
that this could happen again.
Yet instead of nurturing vengeance
instead of nurturing bitterness
she looks the murderers and maimers in the eye
“I forgive you.
You have shattered my life, but you will not shatter my spirit.”
She is able to say this, and believe this,
because she received a gift from the church.
The gift of truth and reconciliation.
A process that brings deep awareness of hurt and injustice,
yet extends the transformative power of forgiveness.
A real power that takes the tattered pieces of a fractured reality,
and makes hope rise again.
Yet here in America,
we are coddled.
We have conversations about hypothetical scenarios
of robbers who come to steal possessions, and maybe life.
We have constitutional amendments that justify our beliefs
about what we would do to those perpetrators.
We don’t believe in forgiveness.
We don’t believe in hope rising from the ashes of death.
We don’t believe in resurrection.
We do not receive the gift from the church
of truth and reconciliation.
We baptize our hatred,
we baptize our justifications
we marginalize the teachings of Jesus,
we call our beliefs and justifications
try as we might,
marginalize as we do,
stories like hers never go away.
They bubble up from seemingly hidden places,
searing stories of a Christianity
that is not defanged, declawed, spiritualized into oblivion;
unlike ours, her Christianity looks a lot like Jesus.
We are coddled, lost.
We can be Christian again.
It is not hopeless.
God resurrected Jesus.
God can resurrect us.