Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two Things I've Never Talked About

I find that my rage against God and my unutterably deep craving for violent justice is undiminished by the passing of the years. Just submerged. I've been burning for the past hour with the memory and affect of a time of particular pain, loss, outworking of betrayal, and there's one slashing razor of a memory that just won't grow dull.

I was a really good father, but I certainly don't pretend to have been without fault. Almost always I kept my own damaged psyche to myself, but everyone, including of course my son, knew I was odd. I don't remember the details, but the only time I showed rage in front of my son was when he was 17, and I had been under attack for a few years, by then, unremitting, wave after wave, almost funny, from an impersonal, God's-eye point of view.

I was overwhelmed, and succumbed to rage and despair, and I was ranting to my son, probably actually hysterical. "God," I said, contempt dripping in my tone, "...sitting on his throne ... judging." It was actually funny, the eloquence. I believe, now, and then, in the God of Unanswered Prayers. The God of Mercy But Only After Hard Lessons, and the Mercy Is Only That the Lesson Was Learned. Thanks, God ... for nothing. After Hard Lessons, I want Actual Comfort.

During my rant, I kicked a laundry basket with a flailing leg, ungainly, undignified, futility making me clumsy and impotent. My son laughed, because it was indeed comical, and I turned on him and snarled, "Are you laughing at me?" Well, he was. But he said no. He has never lied to me. We won't count this as a lie.

I was pathetic. The way a burn victim is pathetic. We have skin for a reason. When it is peeled off, the wailing and limb-flapping is comical.

That's what my soul is like. I have not forgiven God. I can't say he is a liar, because I have not come to him, with a repentant and contrite heart. I would contend with him, and his shit world, of butchered innocence and unpunished horror. Well, it's a Fallen world, theology pipes up, and not God's fault. Indeed. Fuck our fallen nature -- these unclean and unmended vessels demonstrate their worthlessness by their inutility. But I think I need an actual angel to come and take my hand. Anything less, I'm too brilliant and incisive to have my mind changed.

My son was a sniper in Iraq. I've never talked to him about that.


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