Lament for the Leavers and the Left Behind

There you go again, taking your leave,

Dreaming your big dreams for your big life

It’s good to dream, to live your dream, we wish you well


On the front end of yet another significant goodbye

Where I must be kind and patient, even when my heart is screaming NO

As I walk yet another one through the process of leaving,

Allowing them their feelings, affirming their need to know that time spent

Mattered here, it did, it does

Trying to hide my heart, my own hurt (though not very well)


So very hard to be left, and I think it must be hard to leave

This time here, a smallish but transformative mark on a personal history


I would rather be beaten with a stick then endure another goodbye

Especially this goodbye so close to the other leavers

This one is different, more intimate more painful than the others

You the gatekeeper of the hearts, abandoning your post

You said God leads you elsewhere

The sobbing one beside me say’s “I think God made a mistake.”

Did you God?


Probably you feel both bruised and blemished by this place

By these stories so dark they can drown the soul

And yet you must be indelibly marked with love from this sea of women

So deep and broad that you could swim in it

You take it with you when you when you go


You lost something

You gave something

We gave something

We lost something


The reciprocity of the leavers and the left

Someday I may too be a leaver but for now I am left, we are left

Another piece of the solidarity story that I want to give the finger


To watch her cry today, to watch her shake with pain, barely able to breath

I think, God take this cup and make it stop

I can’t watch this again, I must endure again

Like letting someone throw acid on my soul


You leavers, we will hear your names for years to come

Sought after, these women who know loss more intimately than most

Wonder where you are, what you are doing

If you are married yet

Why you don’t call

You made a mark, which fades eventually

The shadowed scar still present on the few who held you dearest

These beloved eternally hope for your return


I am not a fan of the leaving because I am the left behind

Among those left behind who may never have the luxury of leaving

Leave well or don’t, it hurts either way

Staying hurts.


It is at once hard to not run away myself and to not make the promise to stay forever

Or believe that I could never leave, be the cause of this much pain

I lament for the leavers and all that you miss because you are gone

And I lament for the left because of all that we lost with your departure

The memory of the left behind is long,  still we pick up and move on

With an ache in our heart where you were…

Where you are still

And will remain.



This safe place

I ache when she comes to work like this, bruised and swollen.  We all know what happened last night, she bears the remnants of the beating for some unknown, unjustified reason.   There is no reason in it.  Just another broken man, beating his broken wife, my dear friend, again.

Somehow, she finds the will to come to work.   She almost never misses, sick as anything, she will come to “be” here.  We dreamed of creating a safe place. It is…not perfect but certainly safe.   So many women, find it a safe place, a home of sorts, a place of welcome, respect and dignity, so much so that I have heard it often said, “if we were open on Sunday, I would come here”.  For this, we are thankful. And we are broken, that home for so many of the women of Sari Bari is still not a safe place.

So, my friend, our sister, she makes her way to work beaten or sick or sad, she steps toward safety, toward love, toward community.   She makes her way toward a safe place, our shared home and workplace to find welcome and comfort; a place where her wounds both physical and emotional are tended.  She is a unique gift to our community. She loves with a strength that I find difficult to comprehend, a deep well that springs with mothering care, forgiveness and compassion.  She is undoubtedly one of my hero’s, a woman I follow after, want to be like, to be able press forward,  even in pain, and still love with abundance.

I don’t want to her to stay with her husband, I desperately want her to leave, for her know her own value, her own strength, to be able to see herself, as I do, as we do, who sit around her as she stitches the finishing touches on most every blanket and scarf that comes through for final quality control.  She is our finishing artist, our faithful friend who feeds us, and mothers us and holds us as we hold her.

Until all places are safe, we press on…