It was a horrifying dream. The girl came to the Christians, the Southern Baptists, so full of hope for humanity, and they cut off her hands and then her feet. All in the name of God. I woke up in waves of nausea.
In the dream, the greatest horror was that it was my story. I was the storyteller, and so this violence, this sacrilege, this horror came from me and was offered up to the community as a story through my presence and by my will. How could I do this? For hours, after waking, I felt troubled. Do I hate Southern Baptists? Do I feel the need to make them evil? And what does Obama have to do with all this?
Because, yes, Obama, was in my dream, bright as day, telling me to tell my stories to the people, and I knew he was hoping I would tell a story to inspire people to come together, to see and respect and appreciate one another, and this young girl in my story, she was the harbinger, the Second Coming, she was Jesus, and the Christians didn’t recognize her because she was telling them about the goodness in all religions, so they sacrificed her piece by piece in hopes that she would see the light or at least, through her pain and suffering become pure enough to be received by their God.
They didn’t even realize: She was their God. Incarnate. Again. And they did it again.
We did it again.
There is no separation: WE did it again.
In the dream, the story seemed to take on a life of its own.
I knew where it was going, only it didn’t go there. And the young people, the Christian young people who were in the audience kept leaving the room, withdrawing from the story and I felt I was failing and Obama was watching (which was very embarrassing, by the way).
And then I heard myself describing the violence, the dismemberment. And I could see it all in front of me as the audience could see, vividly, in their imaginations, the carnage my words had created. And mortified at the violence moving through me, I wrenched myself awake and lay on my bed, breathing in the darkness.
It’s taken me all day to look at this dream. I was first simply grateful for the young people who left, who had the good sense to get out of that room before the story turned ugly. Thank God for their boredom. Were these dream figures parts of myself I was protecting? Perhaps…
But the truth is, this is what we do, over and over again, we human beings– we kill God.
We kill God crucifying Jesus of Nazareth, and we kill God burning St. Joan at the stake, and we kill God gunning down Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi.
But that is nothing. That is only the surface. That is only the obvious. These tortures and assassinations are the large and dramatic murders. These are the public offerings, the end result of many many more tiny kills. For we murder the joy and sensitivity in our own hearts, and we murder the talents with which we were born, and we murder the tenderness which sprouts like new shoots between us. These are the real murders, the murders which lead to more and more layers of deadness. These are the kills which we pass on for generations, from mother to daughter, and father to son, and mother to son and father to daughter, over and over and over again.
All because we judge Life and decide what it is instead of forgiving it and allowing it to amaze us.
And so, my young girl was sacrificed at the hands of the Christians in her own name. Sacrificed in her own name. And isn’t that, after all, how so many of us dispose of ourselves, cutting away piece after piece of ourselves in a desperate attempt to make ourselves worthy, to make ourselves Holy enough…