Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wailing Wall

The day before Christmas I bought myself a copy of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees for fifty cents in a Hospice Thrift Store. It was so good I couldn’t put it down, and it’s now one of my favorite books. (It's been adapted into a major motion picture, which I haven’t seen and probably never will.) I don’t read many novels, but this one caught my eye because I used to be a hobbyist beekeeper. (Bet you didn’t know that about me.) Here’s a blurb about the book from the author’s website (www.suemonkkidd.com):

In this New York Times bestseller, a young girl's search for the truth about her mother leads her to three beekeeping sisters who take her into their mesmerizing world of bees and honey and of a mysterious Black Madonna. A novel about mothers and daughters and the women in our lives who become our true mothers. A story about the divine power of women and the transforming power of love.

One of the beekeeping sisters, an emotionally unstable woman named May, took on others’ emotional pain so much she was easily overwhelmed by it. When something was troubling her, she’d write it on a piece of paper and put it in a crack in her personal “wailing wall” in her backyard. It was the only thing that seemed to help her cope.

If I had my own personal wailing wall, I’d write “Brent Davidson” on a scrap of paper and tuck it in to a crevice. Brent was a six-year-old boy who was brutally murdered after getting off the school bus one day while his older brother and other school children looked on. (Where was God?) Brent’s father was a sergeant in my  battalion—it’s been a dozen years ago now—and I did the memorial service. There are lots of other things I would write on scraps of paper—most of them too personal and painful to mention here. What would you write if you had a wailing wall?

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