Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April of this year.
You asked about my relationship with God
now, and since it is a present fact, you’ll find it odd
I can’t answer you directly, but it should not surprise you
since even Jesus chose to use parables as a device to
communicate the indefinable. And I found a narrative
In yesterday’s BBC news, which seems to me to give
an image of my history with the One I still call Father
although this name is dirt for sisters who would rather
Say mother or abandon all this parental claptrap.
Doubtless a painter could make a painting or a geographer a map
of God, but as a lover of words I am stuck with stories.
“MatJames Metson was born to a family of artists whose mores
Meant never settling down. He inherited their energy and art.
When he was sixteen he loved a girl called Selanie and they were part-
-ners for a while until she was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter,
Naming her Tyler. When MatJames held her he knew he ought to
Share her upbringing but felt fear like a great load on his shoulders
And ran and kept on running till he came to New Orleans. Bolder,
He wanted to be bolder, but first he had to learn how to be. He could
Paint and make decorated objects using metal or plastic or wood,
Which were full of life and charm like himself as he grew, befriended
By people in the French quarter. He prospered, was happy until it all ended
With Hurricane Katrina, which tore the city to bits and left him with nothing
But his two dogs. A friend brought him to LA but he wasn’t coping
Alone in a tenement flat surrounded by rats and drug dealers
Empty, mourning his former friends, unable to put out feelers
In the city of angels to touch new life, he thought of killing
Himself, but even that demanded a process of willing
He could not provide. He sat blankly looking at a blank wall.
His phone rang and a voice said, hello, I’m Tyler. Oh, he said, all
These years I hoped you’d call. As they spoke, he could sense creativity
Flooding into him, once more he was plugged into the electricity
Of life. She said she’d phone again, he knew the load had gone, he’d
Run no more, but be a maker, and make himself a father she’d
Be proud of. She came to him and he to her and both delighted
To share the other with families and friends. And all that mighty
Surge of joy, he says, came from a phone-call out of nowhere
Into nothing, from his child.” You may think it’s a blasphemy
To tell this of me and God; that any proper theological system we
Devise must make God the saviour and ourselves the needy.
But I’ve only ever known a wounded God. The One who feeds me
now, I had to feed with trust and hope. Is this faith beyond the pale
Of decent orthodoxy? I think he is contented with my tale.