I Can’t Reach You


An auto-ethnographical work (as part of my Masters) describing how, in the context of Religion, experiences of conflict in Bosnia – Herzegovina, LGBTQ exclusion, post-conflict domestic violence and the challenges of the ‘missing generation’ in church has shaped my sense of call. .

I Can’t Reach You!                                                                

Glistening eyes, the disquieting dilation of her pupils in the Balkan sunlight offer a glimpse of the darkness of her solitude. 

My uniform offers no comfort or protection to this molested soul. Her vacant expression occupied momentarily by a simple narrative of her torment. 

Nosio je krst

He was wearing a cross. 

I gather my senses, suddenly conscious of what, in all innocence I represent. 

Innocence? 

The slim, cheap cross that adorned my imperialist neck offering a temporary proxy of a safety that I couldn’t guarantee and she would never recognise. 

Her glimpse of Christendom had brought a life of suffering, unrecognisable to my own. I wanted to comfort her, I still want to comfort her. I want her to know. 

I can’t reach you. 

Rainbows crying hope flutter in the breeze, Polemic against the background of exclusion and injustice. 

I sat with him, agitated by his discomfort as he perched on the cheap plastic chair in the damp basement office of the church. 

Upstairs, bright open space and the uproar of worship, gifts of love exchanged freely in the marketplace of middle class perfectionism. Down here, it was darker. 

I felt nervous. His mouth opened and upon his breath came a gift of trust, laden with the fear of consequence, adorned with the glittering jewels of hope.

Suddenly I was transported forever into another world, never again could I belong to the tribe named exclusive indifference. 

I can’t reach you. 

One of his wives shuffled forward, determined and strong. She knelt, and as she picked up the hammer to nail her forgiveness to the tree, my masculinity shrivelled into an abyss of shame. 

In the thick, staining dust of that chapel I witnessed a depth of divine exchange that I will never fully realise. 

Abused forgiving abuser, a single thread in a garment woven amidst the agony of pre- historic gender injustices.  

I listened; numbed as her husband, the pastor, sat outside with the other men, reminiscing. The War had brought them freedom…

I can’t reach you. 

One day I’ll reach you. 

One day the extraneous trappings will drop away and you’ll see his face. 

One day, the sleeping giant in my soul will awake, angry enough to overcome selfish indifference, narcissistic vision and the numbing exemplars of a bygone era. 

One day I’ll reach you. One day. 

Benjamin Hudd 2020

Categories: Uncategorized

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