God is breaking my heart at every turn.
1. On Monday night at 9:00 I went to Target to get some food options in for Monk's lunches. While there, I encountered a mother, her friend, and a baby girl--hardly a toddler, just big enough to stand in the cart and cry. Which she did. Wail. Not a temper tantrum cry, but a heart-wrenching, hold-me-Mama, grief-stricken, lonely cry. Her mother was utterly, viciously indifferent, even cruel. At times screaming back at her daughter (as the adult friend laughed) in mimic of the baby's cry. Around the store I caught the eyes of other women (all women) who were as bewildered, horrified, helpless as I felt. There was nothing I could do, I was convinced, that wouldn't further endanger this child. A confrontation of the mother, I feared, would only be taken out on the baby before the end of the night. I came home and wept myself--for all the unloved, inconvenient babies.
2. The next morning I parked in my spot at the seminary. There was a small basket of brilliant yellow tiny narcissus flowers on the ground just beside my car. I park right next the dumpster and wondered if they'd meant to be thrown away but missed the mark. I got out of my car and picked them up. It was drizzling rain, getting ready for another rainy season, January drenching just as we'd suffered last Friday. As I picked up the flowers (turns out they weren't real, but still lovely in their own right), I saw something stir in the dumpster beside me. I looked over and there was a man sitting in our dumpster. He was rolling what I can only hope was a joint and not something worse. "Are you okay?" I asked him. "Yeah," he said, hardly looking up. "Are you sure?" I asked. "Yeah," he said, not looking up from his rolling papers, "I'm alright." I took the flowers into my office and set them on my windowsill beside my Julian of Norwich icon. Now whenever I notice the flowers I pray for the man in the dumpster and the baby in the cart. It doesn't seem like enough.
3. The past 24 hours at the seminary we hosted a conference on Restorative Justice. The hopefulness of the gospel message was muted by the whiteness of the presentation, making the gospel ultimately unhearable. As much hope as was instilled in me was matched by the hopelessness of unreflective whiteness.
4. Soon after the conference, a psychotic homeless woman was forcibly taken into custody from in front of the seminary where she had been raging all day.
4. Came home to burgeoning gang members hanging out in the park across the street.
And that is why I say: God is breaking my heart at every turn.