I've run out of outrage.
My deep reserve of grief is gone.
My rant cannot sound loud enough and yet my silence feeds the roaring river of tears.
I fear my prayers go unheard in a cacophony of hate.
My Faith flounders in fear.
My Hope weeps.
Must I resurrect my rusty sword of strength and steel it in the courage bred of outrage, grief, silence and hate?
But where will I point it?
Should I slice upwards toward a silent God, swinging quixotically against windmills spinning in the unflinching winds of time?
Will my angered soul attack forward with sharpened, biting words of dissent and vitriolic opinion in a blitzkrieg of righteous indignation?
Would guerrilla tactics be more suited to the splenetic fury of my blade, wounding here, gouging there, thrusting furiously at... what? The evil that deserves my parries is but an eternal and undying specter.
Would it be best to break it over my leg and fling it into the forge and hope for plowshares and wheels and cast frying pans and getting only bullets and barrels and triggers?
Should I tie a white rag to it and raise it in defeat, succumbing to the ugliness, accepting it, allowing it?
The same weapons are used to both attack and defend. My strength is well-hilted, its cross guard wide, its double-edged blade unyielding. It can suffer these blows. It has before.
But what is left to defend? I can think of no institution or hill-shining citadels that are worthy of this steel.
What is left to protect when Hope lies weeping and Love is left staggering?
Yes. I must protect those things that seem to be losing... lost?
I will defend Joy. I will stand in front of it, back turned if necessary, and slap away the arrows of sadness. Joy will be left unscathed, as pure as two boys in the surf.
As honest as a a team of baseball boys playing, and winning, in the haze and heat of a Summer Sunday afternoon.
The aggressive glory of a the blooms of the yuccas in the front yard - blooming for the first time in ten years - and the perfection of the rhododendrons will be left unspoiled.
I will defend the sunsets and the sunrises. Not the optics and light and color and angles of them, no, I will guard the door to the room where their memories are kept.
I will defend my Faith, and yours. Perhaps you could hold my sword as I cradle a cross a holy woman gave my wife - a Tau Cross, the cross of The Franciscans. A cross that came from Rome which Marci just received as I was writing this. A cross which will soon hang in our home. A cross that just now - and for every now hereafter, and every breath before this one - will keep my Faith. A cross that will defend me, even as I think I am its defender.
I will defend childhood and boyhood and sticks and dirt and wildness and wilderness and stones and seas and rivers and woods. I will issue the children wooden swords and paper hats and we will take on creeping reality and the weight of future with laughter, imagination and silliness.
I will defend Love.
Always and forever.
Thanks for stopping by.
Defend what is yours, raise your sword against the pain and fear and hatred we see all around.
Use Honor as your shield.
Love with integrity.
Shine through this damnable darkness, and, hey, at least unbuckle your scabbard...
... and, as always, Peace (I'll capitalize it today.)