Editor’s Note: (meow) This post starts pleasantly enough, but I need to warn you that it might be a trigger of sadness or anxiety for victims of abuse, assault, or rape.
Preface: Hello this is HarveyCat, Lona’s sometime Bodyguard, Conscience, Accountant, Therapist, Public Relations Coordinator, and Editor. On a late night this last week I was somewhat discomfited because Lona was about 2 hours late in delivering the usual ration of kibble. I know I give her a hard time about not rendering the proper obsequiousness to my regal presence, but she really is pretty reliable with the victuals, so even I had to turn my head away from my favorite toasty warm avian surveillance post and see what was going on with her. (This is not easy to do in the springtime, the air has been filled with swarms of the invading hordes and their conspiratorial racket). I gazed backward over my shoulders and saw her leaning closely toward her computer screen, wiping the tears from her cheeks. I curled my self around and wandered over to her feet and snaked myself in and out of her ankles, she brought a moist hand down and started to stroke my spine. “What is going on Lona?” I purred. She looked down at me and smiled through the tears.
“Oh Harvey, you would not believe the beautiful thing I have just found.” Her voice gave that sound as if she had a little hairball caught in it, but not one that was ratcheting upwards forcefully, just a small little fuzzy hanging in the throat waiting for its opportunity. “It is a post on Gospel Isosceles, it is so overpowering, intricate, lovely and terrible.”
I know Lona had only recently found Amaya’s writings and they had captivated her. She had practically gushed to me over a shape poem about pregnanacy and the Holy Spirit, but I knew Lona was reacting differently this time, she seemed joyful, but also very sad. I sat down now at her feet, I knew what I had to do.
(Oh, by the way, here is the link to that gorgeous shape poem)
“So what are you now Harvey?” she asked, “Therapist, Conscience, Royal Highness?”
I was tempted to go with the Royal Highness thing, but there was a tremble in her feet that stayed me. “No Lona, today I am just your kitty cat, go ahead, tell me what’s on your mind.” At this point I did that thing I have been practicing where I jump up on to her lap, but in a silken smooth instantaneous motion. I just need to go ahead and mention that only other cats will appreciate how hard this is to do, it takes work to make it look easy. Anyway, I landed in her lap as if a feather had drifted down in a blink and settled onto her lap and started purring. “I’m listening.”
“Well…” she paused a moment, but I knew she was ready to talk and it started to just stream out from there. “I have just read an old post by Amaya called Let there be a repentant rapist.“
I stopped purring and became still.
“It is a deeply personal account of a date-rape drug assault she had suffered in the past. It evokes the empty hole that had seemed to grow outward as the drugged memory of the trauma seemed to collapse inward from the edges of her mind where the monster had been living. But she has found a way to expel it, to seek to become free. She tells how the Christ can swallow and transform one’s grief into shining light by a power that is both raw and delicate, but it seemed to require her to forgive that rapist.”
I started to bristle and answered, “Lona, no victim of such intrusion should have anything further required of them. The perp has no right to her forgivness, he had already tried to take that which was only hers to give. She shouldn’t have to give anything – including forgiveness.”
“Yeah, I thought so too Harvey, but that is just the thing, this woman did not have to give the forgiveness, she chose to. She had sought solace in Christ, and that led her to an imperative of having to believe that if the grace of Christ could apply to her, it should also be able to apply to the monster, that sick little shitless monster. She realized that if Christ could forgive him, so could she.”
I was still bristling. “Why should she need grace for this nightmare, she did nothing wrong, she does NOT need to be forgiven. Thinking otherwise only serves to place blame where it does not belong. And Christ is not like us, he is higher, supreme, he has something like the super-power of forgiving, how can we expect mere mortals to have to do what a God can do?”
“I know kitty cat, I know.” Lona put her palm firmly on my forehead and willowed her hand down my spine until I let my hackles soften, and despite my irritation, I knew she had been brought to a new place both strange and terrifying. “But she chose to do it, don’t you see, so that she could be free. She had learned the awful truth that the grace of Christ applied even to this shit, so she found that the power of his forgiveness would allow her to be free, to expel the monster.”
“It doesn’t seem fair,” I answered. “It is so hard to understand, it sounds painful.”
“It is, it must be unbelievably tough Harvey, but what was especially tender is what I had found in the comments section. At one point Amaya says that she was actually turned away from a victims support group because they could not countenance the concept of forgiving the attacker, it was just too painful. And that made me weep, that she turned to a group for understanding, and her revolutionary act of forgiveness was just too painful for them to bear. But by trusting that it would be possible, she could hope to free herself. She could be a soul who acted rather than an object to be acted upon, maybe she would be able to live again. Forgiveness does not mean that you accept what an attacker has done, or that they escape accountability, but it gives a chance to have the weight taken away, to have your heart changed to flesh from stone, at least that is what I felt when I read her account, and this leaves open the possibility that we all can live again, all of us, can be turned from lifeless shells, be made alive through the love of Christ to choose or be led into a better way. I was so moved I tore a poem out of my heart and had impetuously posted the rough draft in in Amaya’s comments section, but I have only now tweaked it and am ready to unleash it on Scattered Thoughts… but I have not thought of a name yet.”
A title for the poem come to mind, at first I hesitated – would she think I was being regally flippant, because I was not being regally flippant, I was actually serious. So I just said it. “This is not meant to be regally flippant, but how about calling it How to Find Shelter and Maybe even Victory from the Real-Life Zombie Apocalypse?“
Lona knew I wasn’t kidding, it fit all the parameters, it got to the core of what forgiveness can do, how it can make you live again. I swear, she always knows just what I am thinking, it gets so irritating, I mean sheesh, sometimes it is just like I am literally talking to my own self instead of her. She smiled, but shook her head and said, “I have it, I have it now, I know what to call it.” A few little clickitty-clicks of the keyboard and she sat back and sighed, and continued stroking my back.
Well here it is.
Lona says this is dedicated to Amaya of Gospel Isosceles and any others who bear some measure of the burdens of a violent world in their hearts. She hopes this is neither too painful or presumptious on her part. She told me to say that she does not think it gives any light on the subject, but is only a refraction of the light she has received from you, Amaya. Thank you
– Harvey Cat.
Troublesome Grace. (for Amaya)
Here we see that your
Freedom is more
Than some people talking,
It is the chilling truth
Sent out bravely toward the sky
The strong lament
Words thought not ever to
Be written before you die
Laid out on the page
Before you full of troublesome
Grace for one
Who for at least one night
And likely many
Years prior was
Yet you dare, if not to love
That grasping monster,
At least to allow that
Bitter cup of love
To pass the lips of our
Sweetest stranger to sweat
Upon the rocky
Garden ground of strife.
I can only sit tonight
In quiet trembling
At the thought
Of such transmissions
Through which a
Hungry undead corpse
May be imagined to contract
The chills and rigors of
That rare condition
We diagnose only
With a silent reverence:
– Lona Gynt April 2018
All rights resevered for text to Lona Gynt, April 2018. Except for Amaya Engelking of Gospel Isoceles, she can do whatever she wants with this.
Here is the link to her brave post that inspired my poem: