19 July 2009

Berserkerin At Prayer

[A covered wooden deck, deeply shadowed. An ornamental cherry tree screens it from passersby. It's dusk; in and about the tree, and above the grass, fireflies dance. On the deck, the Berserkerin sits in a chaise longue, with the ever-present coffee at her side.]

Berserkerin: ✝In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit... well, I'm back.

YHWH: [listening, attentive silence]

B: And You know why...

YHWH: [listening, attentive silence]

B: Those poor creatures... You know the ones I mean. And You know it's not only the ones I know about in detail. It's all of them. Dying afraid, and in pain, dying to be devoured, dying in the air and in the grass and in the seas and on ice floes and on highways... dying in front of cameras, dear Lord Jesus, with never a hand lifted to help or prevent...! [recalling details silently] You know all about it... I know You know... we've been over this so many times.

YHWH: [listening, sorrowful silence]

B: How can You stand it? How have You been able to tolerate this for geological epochs? I can't bear it for twenty minutes, I run screaming to You and at You, I call You names, I've done that for the past forty years, time and again. How! Can! You! Stand! Seeing! This!

YHWH: [sorrowful] What makes you think We can?

B: Oh please. The fact that it continues? Hello?

YHWH: Child, you are right, it does continue. But it also continues past the part for which you mourn. You know that...

B: Yes, I suppose I do. It's the body that dies. The soul continues, but please. How can a soul endure such things and come to You clean or sane? Whether animal or human? To be subjected to [recalls details]... Lord, I fear for my own soul's sanity, just knowing such things happen. What of the ones to whom it actually, physically happens? Why is it necessary that this should happen at all, and so often to innocents, while the guilty slink or swagger away afterwards, licking their bloody chops?

YHWH: [gently] Now... should We not know precisely how a soul can endure such things? Have We not been part of every death, in dying for all creation? Yes, Child. We did and do and will until the end of Time be part of every dying creature as it dies.

B: [scornful] Easy for You. Look who You are.

YHWH: [chiding] Was it so easy? So easy that We sweated blood, in pure terror, at the thought of it. We knew what lay ahead. We already knew every. Detail. Of every. Death. That We were to be part of....

... Now. Was your birth easy?

B: [slightly taken aback] Probably not; I was premature, and incubated, but of course I don't recall... I can't, I was so new.

YHWH: [carefully, lovingly] There are those who do have birth memories, though they are rarely ever verbalized. It is not an easy process at all, being born. The loss of warmth, the terrible constrictions, the terrifying noises [children in the womb most certainly hear their mother's cries in labor] - the sudden cessation of umbilical life support, the imminence of physical death if breathing does not begin... think, child, about these things. And none of it explained in advance. It cannot be foreseen, it is not taught and understood. It must simply be endured, and gotten through; there is no appeal. Birth is a trauma; you know this; and birth is absolutely necessary, to bring body and soul together into the world of matter. Death, you also know, brings soul out of body and into the world of spirit. It is not Our will that either of these processes should have been as painful, as arduous, as they are. You do know that as well... We know you do.

B: [feeling the touch of a cosmic Hand, stroking her head lovingly] [quietly weeping]. But I cannot love those through whom these things happen. I despise them, and I can't help myself. I can't see what they do as good. Animals hunting animals, I understand, they have no choice. But the humans who do these things... not for sustenance... who through stupidity or indifference or laziness kill Your beasts, or set their own creatures in Death's path... and then run wailing, demanding pity for THEMSELVES.

YHWH: [Hand still on B's head] That, that is something else. Those are your chop-lickers, and that is evil. And We do see it so. But child, you know that this is not your Work. To deal with this is Our Work, and We do not forget, and We do not shirk, and child, We promise you, We are not mocked. Some who have done evil may be salvaged; that is Our Work. Some cannot, and We know you know this; and to deal with that is also Our Work. But you do not know which is which. Although you have done awfully well, understanding where the differences lie.

But remember Niels Bohr, child.

B: [sniffling] Who said to Einstein, "Albert, please stop telling God what to do."

YHWH: [smiles] We couldn't have said it better Ourselves. Now, child. You don't feel dismissed, or brushed aside, or told We Know Better, Hush Your Mouth, do you? Because your tears and caring matter greatly. They are part of the sacrament of mourning, the Rites for the Dead, in this world as it must be.

B: [with acceptance] As long as I can run to You to weep, and scream at You when I can't stand the weeping one moment longer, I suppose I shall weep as long as I must. Forgive me, that I so despise these people. Forgive my impatience with You. You know why I feel these things.

YHWH: Your healing is also Our Work. Can you trust Us to see you through?

B: I can, and I must. I forget every day that because You are Good does not mean that the world is safe. Forgive me for that, and help me in my unbelief?

YHWH: [kisses the top of B's head, and flicks her battleaxe with a tolerant finger] Added a little something to your Ephesians armor, child? Very well, We know why you need it, and We do not despise either it or you for keeping it close. Here is something you need more, just now. Remember this; it is absolutely true.

[B. sees then, in her mind's eye, the Holy Mountain, the Peaceable Kingdom, and Christ Himself holding animals tenderly in His arms, surrounded by others who are stroking them, tending them, loving them. He smiles at her. Beautiful animals lift up their heads and gaze lovingly at her as she weeps both in sorrow at their passing and in joy that they shall not be lost. And those tending them look up at her and smile. She will, one day, be among them. And not a few of them have battleaxes of their own, disused now, golden and bejeweled, hanging in places of honor at their sides.]

B: [in tears, whispering] Thank You.

YHWH: [gently mussing her hair] Your coffee is getting cold, child. We love you, and We're here. We will always be here when you call.

[A firefly lands in her upraised palm, lights up, and takes off again.]

[Silence.]

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