Hour 5: Suffer

You tell me the trouble with me
is I don’t know how to suffer
and I laugh and tell you
I wasn’t in line when God was doling out
talents for suffering.

If I suffer, I say, it is because I choose to suffer
when I stand for a just cause
like building a better school district, a confident child or a happy home
and I choose not to wear my suffering as a badge
for all to comment on as it trails behind me
when I walk to my front pew
in church.

You tell me your belligerence is mandated by God
because you are the head of the household
I laugh and tell you that’s okay
because, obviously, I have a different God
and she tells me I’m good
and you are an asshole
and that makes you so mad.

You hate it when I laugh.
“You are not a Christian wife” you scream at me
because I spend too much at Walmart or
because I need to sleep instead of iron your shirts
or because I want to teach my deaf child to speak
or because I breathe.

You hate it when I breathe.
You tell me I’m a leach on society
because for the time being I do not earn money
I only raise the four children …and you
and in my tired eyes, I recognize who you are
and it is not pretty.

Years hence I will not forget what you are trying to do
so I breathe in the scent of my children
and I teach them to love, to paint, to dream, to cherish each other
and to commune with God
on their own terms.

My soul sings but, oh,
how I suffer. 

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