Tainted and Broken Vessels

Tainted And Broken Vessels

Luke 11:37-41″Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and platters, but your insides are stuffed with greed and wickedness. Foolish people! Didn’t the one who made the outside also make the inside? Therefore give to those in need from the core of who you are and you will be clean all over.”

I sit here crying, just crying, this morning. I realize I really do not belong any where–because the boundaries of age, religion, money, none of that matters to me, not the least at all, I frankly do not give a damn. I care about people. I sit here crying because I am afraid of being alone, and I yet I know we are born alone, and will die alone.  No one answers their phone, they text, email, hide behind their computers. I have a friend who has told me to call if I am sick, I have–no return calls, so I gave up, frankly they are too busy with their lives any way.  I get in a taxi and go to the hospital.

A prospective seminary intern called me “projecting” her fears of working with “those people,” and I responded bluntly, “I can not accept you, because “those people,” are my friends, and “those people are me.”

For God is found in our love for one another, pure and simple. If there is a heaven, an after life, we judge ourselves on the way we love one another, not God. We bring judgment on ourselves. It does not matter whether we or Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or anything–all is based on love.  I tell people if you “want to be saved,” than love your neighbor, period, for that is where you find God. I am asking some of the kids on the Haight for a question for the Thanksgiving newsletter, “What are you thankful for?” And their answer almost to a one is:”My friends, who are always there when I need them.” They have absolutely nothing, they are ignored, and hated, and yet see the value in relationships.

Last night around 9 my friend, Sebastien, who is 18, just out of high school, working in a pizza restaurant, and not sure where he is going came by. His parents are successful and are angry because he does not want to go to college. He was headed out with friends in the neighborhood. He took one look at me, and said, “I am spending the night,” I told him “no” and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “River, fuck, stop trying to cover things up, you love me no matter what a bastard I am, and I am staying.” He stayed.

Night before last I left a friend’s house knowing I was getting sick. I did not tell him, because I was afraid of what he would think,  and he thought I was upset with him, the one person I never get upset with, in the years I have known him, I have never been upset with him. I could not simply be honest, I was afraid.

The young guy who tried to stab me last year broke down Monday afternoon,  and said, “You are the only friend I have,” and I thought, “Two fuck ups, two of a kind.”

I have given Christmas gifts early to a good friend because I have had this fear I will not be here for Christmas.  The angel of death, depression, flutters around me. Right or wrong I just wanted to express my love early. 

What I know is that we are born and have encountered that love, beyond love, at one time or another, and seek it all of our lives. We let our fears get in the way, and those fears lead us to all sorts of destructiveness. For I believe that all of us, at our very heart were born to love, to care, but have been tarnished and blackened by sin, for sin means “missing the mark” –we have missed the mark of loving and caring for one another. We have missed the mark of opening our lives and letting our brothers and sisters suffer violence in our name, die on the streets, and die alone. 

Right now I feel broken, very broken, very much alone, I am crying, and I wonder why go on, why continue to live, for I have failed in life’s  ways, and yet I imagine Jesus telling us in today’s Gospel, “I want vessels that know by whom and for whom they’ve been made.” For when we can comprehend that we’ve been made by God and are called to serve all of creation we are complete. In humiliation, in our own brokenness we recognize that God is God and we are not.

People ask me for advice, to preach and help people “find Jesus”, to show people how to love, I was recently asked to teach a class on how to be compassionate–I laughed my ass off–well fuck that, I have nothing to offer. I have no words of wisdom. I am not very good at loving or being compassionate, my titles, my degrees, are all empty cisterns of someone trying to pretend, so fuck that.

Suicide and choosing to die, is never an option because I am not God, that is God’s decision.  I have gotten five college degrees, I have tried to have the right friends, and all too no avail, because I have no words of wisdom, nothing to offer,I am a fuck up, I admit it,   but what I can do is to continue to try my damn-est and to attempt to love each person that comes my way.  And when I enter that Great Cloud of Witnesses, my hope, and I hope that I will hear the words “Well done, my good and faithful  servant.” 

Creator Spiritus! Come, Creator Spirit!


River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




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