Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Lamentation for Two Voices in Different Keys

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Lamentation for Two Voices in Different Keys

Article excerpt

Blessed are those who mourn..

Winter 2015

My disheveled perfectionist. You are very special indeed. I am constantly buffaloed by your severe intellect, which leads me down corridors of theology and politics, therapy and wound. I lose my balance all the time not just because you are so interesting but also because you are so fierce and passionate. So much intensity exists in you, tics are requisite to express the collision of longing and danger more than words or behavior could.

You are always the best and most appropriate; you are the soul who is good beyond measure, exhausting your heart and resources-not letting a child slip through your fingers until you begin to crack and crack and crack and you are invited to take a leave from your work. You do, so you can sit for your doctoral qualification exams, and get going on your dissertation, that is as soon as you finish your piece for a prestigious dictionary, which you cannot quite finish. "Perfectionist," I comment. "I have to make sure I don't leave a crack for them to get at me," you say. "So it's a protection for you," I state. "Yes." Time passes, it comes up again. "I have to protect them," you insist [she is referring to protecting Evangelical people of faith]. I look quizzically at you. "I can't have people seeing them as one-dimensional." "Would your Evangelical brother feel respected by your article about gays and the church," I ask. "Oh yes, he would love it. But he's afraid to let me influence his children. He is very careful when I am around them." "Still, the measure of your work is if he would respect it," I press. "Yes. Just about."

There is a picture in my office. It is the head and torso of a Chagall-like clown, so big for its space that his head is almost horizontal in order to stay in the frame, his arms are crossed tight over his chest, both to stay in the frame and to hang on tight to the large red heart he holds in the cage of his arms like a precious icon of love. You, Kelly, you too are too big for the frame of your capacity. You will be fair, judicious, and careful no matter what the cost. You will not do unto them what was done unto you. And there you have it. The madness of a woman raised as an abomination-oh, that is a heavy word-better dead than gay, tormented by a family and a church until you are forced out and you live homeless in your car during your junior year in college. You will protect the Evangelical community and hold your rage.

You have exchanged the uniform of bouffant hair and heels for shorts and plaid lumber shirts. You reach out to the gay community with words of comfort from your experience and the theology you have studied.

You walk 10 miles after our hard sessions because you immolated your body's resilience years ago-running, running literally, running figuratively, running from the terrible stake they drove between you and your God. And you want God back, particularly that God of passion and song and beauty that was the God of your childhood. But you are an outsider now. Your new theologies include you, but the heart of these theologies must seem small and pink and barely beating compared to the heart of the God you once held and worshipped so unreservedly in the conservative Evangelical community. You are grateful because I am both an insider and outsider; you feel I get you. Still, you shocked me one day with your hard cold voice that would not let me use the word "queer."

Spring 2016

I have been thinking about you. I have an inchoate image or sound as I think about you. I want to capture this sound image but I have not yet been able. So I shall go backward and forward, inward and outward like a darning needle and hope to locate something new and insightful, something that will open an impasse that maybe only I feel although I sense you are actually living it.

I am being so obscure. My mind can't seem to direct the needle. I am not sure where to enter the fabric of your experience. …

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