voices inside my head

i signed up for facebook about a year and a half ago. actually, i didn’t sign up for it, mary signed me up. mary, a seminarian, who, like me at the time, found herself temporarily homeless, living on the kindness of a college chaplain. the chaplain, a friend of mine, has an extra room in her house and she let me and the wonder kitties come and stay for a month when i was between jobs and was done with my old lease and not wanting to resign for that part of town.

anyway…there i was, a brent house refugee, as were mary and her sister. it was actually a really fun time. we made a lot of brownies, played a lot of weird-ass, make-yourself-an-avatar video games, watched REALLY BADDDD reality TV (i mean, bridezillas is bad even by my standards). it was a lot like being back in college–no job (no studying either!), living with other women, figuring things out.

one night mary says to me “what’s your email address?” and i reel it off without thinking much of it. and lo and behold i am now on facebook. mary took the time to set up my interests, which she had figured out after 2 weeks in the same house with me and we were off and running.

here’s the thing that’s been interesting of late: i’ve connected with a lot of agnes scott college people. and it’s been really quite amazing. because as i’ve written here before–i don’t have the fondest memories of good ol ASC. in retrospect, much of that has to do with my own growing up, my own learning who i was/am and growing into my own skin. so i have steered clear of that part of my life for a long time. and suddenly, through the world of facebook, it is reopening to me.

perhaps the most delightful has been my roommate from my freshman year, jennifer. to see the things that have changed and the things that have stayed the same (geez louise, she still lists The Lost Boys on her list of movies to see for Halloween–she must have played the soundtrack to that movie 240 million times our freshman year!), in as far as one can tell via cyber space, is kind of wild. my memories–skewed and scattered as they are–still link back to her, our understanding of who we were, our growing understanding of who we are.

i remember, in the salmon pink walls of 214 walters hall, we lived without matching bedspreads. the dean had linked us because (i think) we both indicated we wanted someone who cared about religion–i suspect i checked that my christian faith was important to me. no doubt jennifer did the same. my episcopal and her more pentecostal backgrounds were undoubtedly different, yet we adjusted well. of course despite my request, i never, save one time, went to church the entire four years i was there, which makes the whole religion-matters-to-me-check-here box kind of funny in retrospect.

jennifer would keep this candy her grandmother had sent–wrapped in tinfoil, made of potato and sugar–the strangest flavor, yet profoundly kind, jennifer would share it. and while i appreciated the gesture then, i appreciate it even more now–for that candy was home, it was grandmother’s hands, it was love that was tangible and mailable all at once.

and so i read these posts–on my facebook wall, messages sent to my facebook inbox–and i can hear the voices of these women–back when we were just barely more than girls–i can hear them in my head. i think what’s amazing and exciting for me is how much i’m enjoying reconnecting, how much i like them, how i am, in some small way, getting a “do-over” for the time away, the times of living in fear and anxiety. and how the common thread of a few years in a small liberal arts space has shaped and formed us whether we wanted it to or not.

wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near and the world is about to turn

what is there to say today that hasn’t already been said?

i was, for the record, not in grant park. i wanted to be, but was wait listed. instead, i watched the election returns with friends and sent text messages back and forth between friends and family. i spent the evening with 9 voters and one little girl, who will turn one year old in 18 days, sitting around the room, eating chili, drinking margaritas and watching the world change before our eyes. we couldn’t hear the commentators over sadie’s cooing and giggling. as i watched this new life negotiate steps and yoga poses (girl’s got downward facing dog down to a t!), i was amazed at how quickly and how slowly the world moves.

i grew up in georgia, to progressive parents living in the heart of the bible belt. and about once a month, my grandmother would take me as her co-pilot to madison georgia to visit her aunt,my great, great aunt ollie. one day, grandma pulled the car over, off the road and we got out and stepped onto a field of cotton. my grandmother let me touch the white,non-processed, still growing plant and cut a few stems for me to take home. “this is what they grew on the callaway plantation” she told me. the callaway plantation, which her grandparents had lived and worked and owned. later, as an adult, i would visit the plantation of my heritage and touch the cotton that still grows there for display and wonder what it means to be descended from a slave owner.

so sitting with sadie and her cooing and her yoga poses, thinking of my grandmother, who’s dementia is so far progressed that she struggles to remember her name, feeling the memory of cotton running through my fingertips, etched in the bloodlines that made me who i am, i was, i am without words. the shortness of life, the amount that can change within a life span–the beauty and the mystery of that are overwhelming. and so i sat and watched as this country, which only 175 years ago allowed one human being to own another, which only 88 years ago gave women the right to vote, which 40 years ago was still in the midst of a movement over ones civil rights based on the colour of your skin–this country made a profound and transformative decision.

he is not the messiah. let us make no mistake on that. and the world still holds hatred and discrimination. but something happened yesterday. something profound shifted. and so the world begins to turn.

if you don’t know this hymn (for you good episcopalians, the tune is kingsfold, which we use to sing #480–when jesus left his father’s throne, where you get that great line: should we forget our saviour’s praise, the stones themselves would sing), it’s worth a read:

My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on the servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.

Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me.
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame, and to those who would for you yearn.
You will show your might, put the strong to flight, for the world is about to turn.


From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.


Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.

“Canticle of the Turning” — Lyrics by Rory Cooney (based on the Magnificat, Luke 1:39-56), Music: Kingsfold, English melody; adapt. & harm. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)