A Lament for My Daughter

By Katey Zeh

Last night I dressed you in the Hillary shirt I ordered the morning after the first Presidential debate. As I placed you in your crib, I kissed your sweet face and turned on the noise machine to block out the celebratory cheers that I knew would be coming in a few hours. We wouldn't want to wake you.

As you drifted off to sleep, downstairs in the kitchen your dad was cooking shells for taco salads. The champagne was chilling in the bottom of the fridge. The news was streaming, filling our home with words of "too close to call." I said, "Let's mute it for now while we eat. Let's enjoy." I painstakingly created an "H" out of shredded cheese and snapped a picture to post on Instagram.

Last night I sported my "I voted" sticker on the collar of the white pant suit I'd proudly worn to the polls to cast my vote for the first woman President. White, the color of women's suffrage. White, the color of supremacy and oppression, a legacy of racism that awards me and you undeserved, boundless privilege.

Through the night I watched in horror as these United States turned redder and redder. The color of rage, of blood. "Have another glass of wine, Katey. You'll feel better."

No, I need to feel this. Every ounce of this pain. The pain that I often choose to not see, now staring me in the face. I couldn't look away.

I took as much as I could bear. At midnight we part ways with our guests. Take the champagne with you.

I swallowed one of the bitter yellow pills my doctor had prescribed me earlier that day when I told him I couldn't block out the noise: the gun shots, the threats, the gleeful cheers of white supremacy and sexism and homophobia and Islamaphobia and transphobia, and the sinful silence from people like me in response to these horrors. The pill dragged me into dreamless sleep for a few short hours.

And then you woke up, singing sweet songs in your crib. Happily oblivious. Cocooned. I envied you. For the first time in your life I wished that I could pull you back inside of me and keep you there forever, the amniotic fluid muffling out the horrors of the world outside.

But instead I didn't hide my red swollen eyes from you. I let you see my tears, even though you can't yet understand their source. I want you to see. I won't--can't--shelter you from my pain, from my fear for you. For all our babies.

Today I feel my heart breaking open, wider and wider. Creating more excruciating pain, yes, but also creating exponentially more room within me for love.

Love wins. I do not know how. But love wins.

Katey Zeh is an expert in engaging communities of faith in advocacy for gender justice both locally and globally. With a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, she brings a theologically grounded, pragmatic approach to social change. As a strategist, writer, and educator, Katey inspires intentional communities to create a more just, compassionate world through building connection, sacred truth telling, and striving for the common good. She has written extensively about global maternal health, family planning, and women’s sacred worth. She has contributed online and print articles to the Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project,Mothering Matters, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service among other outlets. She is currently working on a book about biblical women and social justice. You can check out Katey's website (www.kateyzeh.com), follower her on Twitter (@kateyzeh), see her on Facebook, or email her.  

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