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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Butterflies and kittens:Lost in Bubbles

Lost in bubbles.

Don't try this at home. Not unless you happen to have a bath tub that is completely surrounded on three sides up to a height of about six feet.

Pour in a bottle of one of Victoria's Secret bubble bath. The entire bottle. And an ample supply of bath water. It's more fun if you are already in the tub as the cocoon develops. Allow bubbles to billow up as high and as full as possible.

You will become lost in bubbles. And it is pure delight. Lean back on a pillow and soak. And stay.

Lost in bubbles.

Of course, you can get lost in other bubbles.

Less worthy, not the least bit honorable. But even more tempting.

I torture myself periodically by reading the news from my old church. For the longest time they hadn't managed to join the modern era and have an actual web site with actual information on it. But now they do. And oh, my goodness, what a bubble.

I'm telling you, they are pooping butterflies and, like Dairy Queen, they not only blow bubbles, they blow bubbles with kittens inside (I actually find that rather creepy). It is peaches and marmalade. They are burping bunnies and farting feathers. What a place! Everything is wonderful!

Now. It might be viewed as churlish on my part to be disdainful of their delightfulness. It might be viewed as mean and short-sighted of me to not rejoice in their good works. A wet blanket. To be sure, it is wonderful whenever, and for whatever reason, people care for the poor and the refugees and the homeless and the sick and those in prison. It is impressive and blessed work. So of course, it's great to see all of these important ministries.

They write to each other about how wonderful and kind and caring they are, in thank you notes, for example. 'We are amazing, we are remarkable.'

And, one could add, "we are living in a bubble."

Judith Herman, whose book, Trauma and Recovery, is the seminal book about the topic, writes that all perpetrators require of the rest of us is silence. Silence.

As long as there is a tacit or explicit promise to say nothing about abuse and wrong, the bubble is sustained, billows up and grows.

One parish living in a bubble. A minority among them who felt a decade ago that they still depended upon silence, hated and attacked me because I made no such promise. I made no declaration to 'out' their secrets and blab either. But lacking a promise of silence, they put a target on my back. And shot.

Churchhill is famously known for exulting that "there is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at. And missed." (He wasn't the first to say it and I suspect he borrowed it from someone who was not actually shot at, either.) Because it is not exhilarating to be shot at. It is devastating. It is terrible.

It is traumatic. And, as I was reminded again today, again, again: trauma changes your brain.

The same people who are blasting rainbows out their ears today tried to kill me nine years ago. Because they were afraid. Of truth. Of a word. Of the unknown.

Jesus said, "you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."

Agreed. Just watch your back if you're the one called upon to announce it.

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