Monday, April 25, 2005

Black Ice

This is an excerpt from Lorene Cary's Black Ice that really resonated with me as I read it just now:

It was high-church at its best, and I knew it as well as I knew my mother’s voice. I ached with the sound and the sight of it. Distant gobbledegook at first, the seraphs, cherubim, and thrones resonated deeply now. How many times had I argued with that song? Why was it that this rich, rich school had to get dominions, princedoms, and powers to praise their God? Why were our worshipers “disconsolate” while theirs were “gracious” and “bright”? Who had told them that God was pleased with them? Was it the “goodly heritage”? Was that the proof of God’s love? Well, what about the rest of the world, whom they asked God not to forget? What about them? What about the dirty, ragged, cramped, stupid, ugly motherfuckers? When would they be crowned with honor and length of days? What made St. Paul’s so cocksure? What about the rest of us? What about me?

I cried then because the music was so beautiful and I loved it so, because loving it was treachery, because I had scribbled the words on scraps of paper and looked them up in the dictionary to learn them, because I could not bear to be so far away from a God who smiled on such exquisite praise. I have read the word of the Lord out God until my eyes burned like the very fires of hell. And still you have not found grace? Still not made Tillich’s “leap of faith”?

I wanted to leap right then. I wanted to leap into a big, big faith: as big as the sky on a black night, big enough to hold Ward A.M.E. and the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul within it. I wanted an infinity inside of me that could hold it all. I wanted to fly out of my skin, to leave it draped over the chair by the window and fly up into the welcoming night.

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