Do you remember that summer? Our children were all the same age. It was the summer of endless sun; lazy golden days spent under the dappled shelter of the huge tree in my garden. Can you recall how we picked daisies and made them into chains, placed them in our babies hands, and crowned their scented hair with their simple sweetness. We held our babies close and inhaled the milkiness of them hidden in necks and behind ears.
Baby breath kisses, sticky hands, little toes gently tickled. Laughter, first words, first steps, tears, smiles. These moments were so intoxicating so intense we became drunk on love. We thanked God for our blessings, for our womanhood our children. Heaven had briefly rested with us in that garden, it had become our very own Eden. We dared to dream our children’s futures, this would be a new world full of promise, a new generation to begin a new better world for all children. These were truly days of wonder and joy, we placed them in our hearts as all mothers do.
I saw you yesterday, one of those awful social occasions where people look through you as they speak, eyes constantly darting around the room, vacant smiles. A charity ‘do.’ I don’t know why I went but I’m glad I did.You were there, at the back of the room, you had your back to me, but, I recognized your long black hair, there were five other women standing with you. You would be my oasis in the strange desert I found myself in.
I heard you Alison, I heard you. You said those words, words I never thought I would hear you say.”Gods chosen, sacrifices must be made, these children will not have children, the end of a generation. Gods will. The new kingdom. Gods chosen.” Your voice was so steady, so calm, spoken with the conviction of one who feels righteous in that conviction. Sure. Determined.
I backed away, made my excuses and left. I lost the courage to face you, to question you. Now I have to ask you, what happened to you where did you go? What happened to the Christian warrior, woman of love, fighter for all that is good, advocate for all women everywhere. Mother, wife.
What about our sisters in Palestine? The mothers, the grandmothers. These creators of life, dreamers who, like us , sat under trees, had golden days, dared to dream dreams for their children; like us felt God move between and through them. The god of love and life and babies and mothers, our God, their God.
When did it become all right for their sticky fingered, sweetly scented babies, to lie bloodied and broken in a cold grave, to give no more kisses. No more softly spoken I love you’s.
There is nothing now for these women – these families, but broken shattered dreams. No more summers, just endless darkness even on the brightest day. All possibilities gone, dreams shattered. Nothing left.
When did you leave Eden behind and willingly walk towards the gates of hell? What made you choose death over life, hatred over love? When did suffer the little children turn into let the children suffer? When did the God we felt move between and through us in those golden days become the God of hatred, of bombs and the stench of bloodied bodies.
Do you remember these words? “Forgive them, they know what they do.” I hope it’s true, for you, please, let it be true.