I am invisible. I sit in the back of the classroom, forgotten, ignored, overlooked.
I pray at the rear of the church. Like the publican, I crawl forward when it is my time, beating my chest as I go, ever-aware of my transgressions, of my need for mercy. The Pharisees sit in the front, their eyes never falling upon me in my silent torment, thankful only for the service I provide, for the false security of their supposed righteousness it buys.
At night, I can smell an inferno I left behind years ago. The images of charred flesh and boiling blood are more real in my dreams than they were in real life. I don’t get to rest in peace. But the church goes on about its business; reaping a peace they have not sewn.
Its members rest soundly at night, far away from the true cost their quietude extracts from the bodies of people they would like to forget. So secure are they in their beds at night that they do not even recognize the peace they have robbed me of by going in their stead to the field of battle. Ignorance is not bliss, it is murder.
Where is God when the Church falls silent?
in the warm blood that flowed down my wrists?
in the stilled breath, trapped by a garden hose, in my lungs?
in the carbon left upon my trigger finger?
in the frigid waters that broke my fall?
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow – Lam. 1:12
God have mercy on u.s., the church.