Things That Can Go Together


Danielle Strickland tells a story about Pilar, a young woman who called her to join in a warrior song. It's time for women to rise up, be vulnerable, and strong!

I remember attending a funeral for Pilar. Pilar was 31 years old. She had a hard life. She was addicted to drugs and worked the streets to feed her habit. She was infectiously warm, open and loving. These are things that can go together.

The last time I hung out with Pilar was at a journey (a retreat) where I tried to highlight her hair. We played dodgeball in a pool and hung out until about 2am when she asked me to pray with her. I did.

And what to pray? I prayed mostly, for her to know God’s presence in her life. I hope that prayer mattered. I know the love of the weekend did. I pray that all of that love was deposited deeply inside her heart.

Her family was at the funeral. From a First Nations tribe – the funeral was in a catholic church but the things that struck me weren’t catholic – they were native to the place. The drums and the singing were powerful instruments. They felt and sounded like my heart on the inside. It was a militant wail they offered… a prayer, a cry, a grief. It felt like intercession to me, like the prayers of the saints.

And then there was the honesty. Pilar’s mother gave her and her sister up for adoption when they were babies. She made the trip out from BC to the funeral to be there for her daughters death. I guess it’s better to show up for something. It was painful. She was honest. She was open about her own struggles and her decision to give her daughters to her sister to raise. She was broken. And she was strong. These are things that can go together.

She called us to join her in a women’s warrior song. She led the charge. I was conflicted. How can a warrior song be offered from pain, brokenness and defeat? Is that the time to call for women to rise up? Shouldn’t we be weeping? But then I dug a little deeper. I dug to the place where my own honesty lives. Deep within me is a broken girl who ran away. And deep within me is a warrior who fights for life and justice.

These are things that can go together.

So, we all have choices. Hard ones. We all have history. Many of us difficult ones. But we can choose. And the choice isn’t always black and white. We can choose to live in a world muted from the pain of honesty and brokenness. A world that clammers after self sufficiency and avoids the truth. Or we can live in a place of transparency. We can know and acknowledge our pain, our insufficiency and yet call on another power to help us. A broken warrior who chooses to fight with another kind of strength. These are things that can go together.

It all reminds me of a man who cried a warrior cry from a wooden cross. He was a broken man, wounded, bloodied and poured out. His cry shook the earth and tore the veil and paid a price. His cry finished the work and the broken warrior made a way where there was no way. Death and life. Even in His new body He kept His scars. These are things that can go together.

I’m praying I learn to embrace and live the things that can go together. I’m praying that peanut butter and jelly have nothing on God and me.

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