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Guest Writer Gurmeet: “Rest in Peace George Floyd” and “Unhealed Wounds”

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Image of still life “Rest in Peace George Floyd” by Gurmeet

Gurmeet is one of 8 creative non fiction writers in our Seastrand Story Group.  Here is her unedited offering in response to George Floyd’s death.

“Unhealed Wounds”

George Floyd struggled to breathe for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.  This 46 year old mountain of a man cried out for his mama with what was his dying breath.

While I was watching the callous murder of George Floyd something cracked deep within me.  Feelings of anger,sadness, abandonment and shame all entangled into a ball of intense helplessness hotly surged through me.

Nigger,black bitch,dirty hindoo,words I thought were long forgotten,resurfaced and seared my soul.  I have been negatively targeted in Canada,England and Spain because I am coloured.  Racism truly is worldwide.

Racism was blatant in the 1950s.  I was 6 years old when we moved from a remote logging camp to Victoria.  Our neighbourhood was what I refer to as low class/no class.  It was rough.  It was where immigrants could afford to live.

My mother, who I called mama, had an arranged marriage and came from India when she was 19.  My mother was illiterate.  I learned early on that intelligence and education are two very different things.   My mom was extremely hard working.   It was only as an adult that I realized that she was very intelligent.  Not only was she an excellent cook but she could sew,knit,crochet,embroider, and garden.  She raised 5 children without pounding them as some mothers around us did.

Seared in my memory is an incident that occurred when I was around 9 years old.  All my girlfriends were white.  This day my mother was walking down our street from the grocery store.  A group of boys began hurling insults at her such as a dirty hindoo.  How ironic.  There were some filthy houses in our neighborhood but ours was not one of them.

I froze.  My friends froze.  My mother didn’t see me.  She ignored the boys, kept her head high and kept walking.  My friends remained silent as did I.  I sensed that this would never happen to their mothers.

When I came home later my mother was busy making dinner.  We never discussed what had happened earlier in the day. That night as I lay in bed I was ashamed that I never stood up for my mama.  I felt very alone.  I knew I was different from my friends.

It is very complicated how the experience of racism has affected my life.  I have been denied jobs and opportunities. It has made me more demanding that the world be more equitable and just.  I can never be silent.  The possibility of discrimination has lessened but it remains a possibility

That little girl who was confused and ashamed has been forgiven.  The problem is how to get her to forget.  Now that George Floyd no longer breathes will it be easier for others to?

 

Pressure to Buy

White Store on Granville

“White Store on Granville” Phone Photo DS

Somehow over the past month, I find myself susceptible to ads coming by e-mail.  It is fun to peruse the various choices of the clothes that I could need; that I must surely need at 30% off the regular price.  There is even an end date to the sale adding a vague feeling of panic that I worry I might be sorry if I do not act now to procure those new boots, the tartan shirt, or costume jewellery for a nebulous social event.

When I delete the e-mails out of hand, a feeling of missing out assails me.  On the days when I take a closer look, and allow myself to browse; even after I delete it, I wonder if I should retrieve it from the deleted items file.  I know it is there.

On occasions, that have happened too frequently lately, I will print the ad and stuff it into my large black bag.  Under the guise of grocery shopping, I find myself at the mall.   I convince myself that it is good for me to mall walk in inclement weather.

Every time, I find and purchase something that would look good on me; that would go with what I already have in my closet.  Invariably something draws me back to the store.  The slippers pinch my toes.  I must return them.  This time I find the necklace that works with the earrings I already have.  Another loyalty card nestles into my wallet.

Habitually, I am called back to shop.  I have not brought the coupon.  The card was not validated on time.  Once seen, I buy the item anyway.

I add to my guilt load.  I purge with a flurry of deleting.  Intrusive thoughts arrive in my dreams like into my inbox.  The one that got away, the one that did not come in my size, is the Blackwatch shirt that would have made me look great.  I find myself actually grieving.

Renovations

IMG_2823“Scaffolding WVBC” phone photo DS

Perhaps the playing field is being relevelled

Perhaps postmodernism brings equality

After the fall of Christendom

A First among equals will re-emerge

 

Five hundred years after Luther

A new set of theses is on the door

Let my people go is top

Bottom reads my Spirit reigns

 

My house needs renovation

Cracks are on the walls

Nicks from the vacuum on baseboards

Leaks along the patio where

Water falls

 

My heart cries from the dug-up soil

Hardness is being enfleshed

Forgiveness is on my lips

A new thing rises

In its place

Gratitude for grace.

DS

Nativity

Christmas Window

“Christmas Window” Phone Photo DS

The rooms overlooked the city. The rooms with their coloured walls took my attention. As did the happy greetings from the others that morning.

So cup and cookie in hand we chatted about this and that of which we saw and felt. My seat was in the second row of the circle of friends. As I took in the surrounding beauty, I noticed a salt and pepper size nativity scene at my feet. It stood on the iron floor pedestal of the nearby lamp.

The location for the holy scene was so unusual but in keeping with the holy event. Was this not the same low-key of the Bethlehem appearance of the holy three?

Unseen by others my attention was drawn again and again toward the Christ child so low. It was a reminder to invite God’s real time presence into the meeting. If only I had realized it at the time.

 

Spirit of the Triune God

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 “Shamrock” Photoconceptual art 2014, DS

The three-leafed shamrock is the symbol of the Trinity for Celts.  In Celtic Christianity, both art and spirituality were used seamlessly as they went about their work.  One finds that the people made a point of acknowledging visual reminders of God in their daily lives.  As I enjoy this new shamrock plant I too am reminded to contemplate God daily, especially in remembrance of St. Patrick.  These are my thoughts today:

The Spirit’s main task is to bring salvation to sinful humankind (Grenz, 357).  He has been at work as one of the three persons of the one God since before time began.  He brooded over the waters in Genesis 1 in his role as Creator along with the Father and the Son.

There are numerous proofs of his deity in the Old Testament but it is not quite as clear how he is a full person as the Father and the Son are.  We trust that he is because of his work in the creating and sustaining the world as being that of God.  He is both similar to and different from the Son (Ibid, 371).

He is the relationship of the love between the Father and the Son.  He is the power behind Jesus’ ministry as shown at his birth, the beginning of his ministry and his resurrection.  When Jesus went back to heaven he left the Spirit to remind believers of what Jesus had taught them.  He filled the disciples with his power at Pentecost to bring about the new community of God on earth.  By his love and power he sustains them as they become witnesses for Jesus and build the kingdom of God.  The Holy Spirit brings about the new creation of the earth and heaven (Ibid, 377).  In the meantime he gives the ones who live for Christ a foretaste of things to come when he establishes God’s full rule in the world.  He is the One responsible for “engendering love for God” (Wilken, 287) and drawing humankind to God to find true happiness (Ibid, 273).

Theology for the Community of God, Stanley J. Grenz

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, Robert Louis Wilken