We Will Survive: DOMA, Texas, and Veterans

2013-06-28 19.09.18

What a week.

First, at home: I’ve been without Andy for the last three weeks. I’m ready for him to be back. Let’s just say, I’M NEVER LETTING HIM DO THIS AGAIN. We did fine, and we were with my parents, which was a gift, but seriously. I don’t know how single parents do it at all. I just really don’t understand it.

I was up late one night trying to catch up on everything.

The thunderstorms and thinking about the firestorms raging across my beloved Colorado kept me awake, though amazingly, all the children slept through. I’m able to to glance at my phone here and there throughout the day, but I mostly stay on Twitter, FB in a couple of groups, and try to scroll through my Feedly. So, I saw so much on Wonder Woman Wendy Davis, and read through all the articles about this incredible role model, for both women and men, and how she managed to filibuster for pretty much the entire day. I have to confess I needed to look up the exact definition of it, and ended up on the Wiki page reading through some of the history behind it. It’s actually really fascinating. Perhaps it’s compelling to me because it does give the “minority voice” a chance. Anytime there’s something for the underdog – those on the margins – I can’t help but gravitate towards it. Anyways, I had no idea that Texas had completely insane rules for it (i.e. no bathroom breaks, no leaning on the podium?!?!?). What really made me weepy though was hearing about the women in the gallery who stayed on. Just so inspiring and heartwarming.

All those women who hung on are heroes in my book.

Then, the defeat of DOMA was…I have no words. I’m elated. And I feel weirdly, really encouraged about humanity. The Deeper Story community provided some responses, and I appreciated a place for various perspectives.

Finally, I’ve had a hard time not thinking about veterans, for some reason. This open letter by a veteran who took his life is haunting me and then the smackdown Rep. Tammy Duckworth gave to an IRS contractor just blows my mind. Two very different stories – one about a veteran in despair and resignation, and another about a veteran who is making a difference despite losing both legs and almost an arm. Yet, the situations are quite different – I’ m certainly not comparing one person to another, rather the end result of both, and our response. The letter speaks volumes, and is an admonition once again about our lack of mental health resources, and especially for veterans. The incident with the IRS contractor also sheds light on just how little these veterans receive in terms of practical support. I think we pay a lot of lip service, and sprinkle in some nostalgia and sentimentality, but more needs to be done. I have a college student friend through UKIRK who is a big supporter of Wounded Warrior Project and Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock does some compelling work regarding the issue of moral injury in veterans’ experiences.

So, I’m all over the place. What am I trying to make sense of here? I’m loving these stories of survival. Thunderstorms always make me think of that first spring in Bloomington during a season of massive tornadoes all across the mid-west and south. And yet, those storms felt like drizzles compared to what I was trying to survive inwardly with the transition into parenthood and a new community. Thankfully, I found shelter and refuge, and our lives are intact – I know that isn’t the case for everyone, whether the storms are out there or in one’s soul. But, the other stories of those who weather these disasters, like Wendy Davis, who not only survived but provided a picture of resistance in her pink Mizunos and war veterans from whatever generation … all these speak to me about how difficult life is for everyone at some level, and again, the reminder that everyone needs kindness because we’re all fighting some battle.

My mind turns to the church wondering what it would be like to frame much of our ministry in terms of helping people to survive the day-to-day. Perhaps the language sounds too harsh, too bleak. But, maybe it would add a sense of urgency and transparency to how we would interact with each other holding up the reality that we are all truly vulnerable. No time for games or sarcasm, no needless energy spent on nitpicky criticism or bullshittery (learned that word from a Deeper Story conversation), no more.

All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique.
All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story;
to vomit the anguish up.
― James Baldwin

One thought on “We Will Survive: DOMA, Texas, and Veterans

  • July 2, 2013 at 2:48 am

    What strikes me about this is the urgency — particularly as that same sense of urgency was highlighted in one of my commentaries on this week’s gospel. Is that urgency about survival or resistance? I like both possibilities.

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