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PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM
January 15, 2004
 
She had always wanted to turn her body into shrapnel against the Zionists, she said in her farewell video. Her husband didn't know she was going to do this. Her kids are one and three years old. Holy God.

I cannot scold her and tell her to look at who she'd hurt most, for God's sake, her own children. I can't do that because she's already dead. I can't tell her how angry her action makes me. Furious. At her. I couldn't have told her anyway, of course. I didn't know her.

It's just as well. Something in Palestine has upended and overturned the basic values of human life -- at least, I thought taking care of your kids until they can take care of themselves was a basic value of human life. Maybe I was mistaken. Maybe we're supposed to turn our bodies into shrapnel. Maybe I just haven't kept up.

This is hard for me, because I support her cause. The Israelis need to get out of the settlements now. Now. They need to get over their mythology about themselves now, and quit clothing their own imperialism on God's will. Now. They need to accept two states, yesterday. They need to stop bulldozing peoples' houses.

I think the situation there has driven people crazy. A young mother who thinks she's supposed to become a bomb? Insane. I don't care how normal she looks in her video. This was a young woman who had gone mad.

And was invited into that her madness by people who did not strap explosives to their bodies and set forth toward a busy checkpoint. People in charge. People who stayed at home. They'll have supper with their families tonight, see their children asleep in their beds. They're fine. They're in charge. They don't become bombs themselves, they talk other people into becoming bombs. Nice work, if you can get it.

Please don't write an eMo about the Israelis and the Palestinians, I scold myself as my fingers fly furiously over the keyboard. People don't like it when you get political. Your readers count on you to help them through their days with grace. Don't rant. Why don't you write something about prayer instead, there's a good girl.

All right. I will. It's what I need to write anyway, because my grief and fury are too immense for me to manage. There are many things like that: things too heavy for me to lift, anger too hot to touch, grief too deep for words. So how do I pray for this young woman, now dead, for her children who awoke this morning with no mother to fix them breakfast and help them get dressed and brush their hair? What do I say?

Sometimes it's best to say nothing. Sometimes it's best just to picture them -- her, demure head covering and her automatic rifle. Her bewildered children. Her weeping husband. Her mother. The people she killed, their children, their husbands and wives, their parents. The people who lured her into the terrible place from which this all looked like God's will. Picture everyone and breathe deeply.

It was not God's will that this happen. God is the author of life and never wills death. But God's love is never absent from any human event. Never. Not any. Not even the worst. The divine blessing was all over the terrible scene, full of love and lament, right away. Scattered among the body parts and twisted pieces of metal are the building blocks of what could become the healing of Israel, and in my mind I pick through the rubble and find the pieces of healing, collect them all, begin to build something. I picture the scene and try to see it the way God sees it. I lift it to God, every bit of it, every person, every man woman and child in it, the living and the dead. I sit with it until I come to the end of my imagining. Now there is quiet within me, and I don't want to scold the young woman. I can only love her.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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