the agony in the garden made personal

Please note: all names have been changed to protect the clearly guilty, despite this original event happening seventeen years ago in another country.

Last week Jesus allowed me to see him in a deeply personal way in the sorrowful mysteries. I have seen Jesus in all of the sorrowful mysteries, but this time it wasn’t a vision of the actual passion scene, it was personal for me. There’s very few places that have meant much to me, but I still remember Queen’s Park, where I hung out much of the time while I was homeless. But a particular day in that park has always stuck out to me, despite the amnesia I get from Dissociative Identitiy Disorder. Perhaps because it was a defining moment for me as far as the levels to which I had managed to stoop, but this day, I remember clearly, and I’ve written about it before.

Queen’s Park was a place with a wooded area which was kept up well so was more of a large garden of trees and shrubs. There was an area for families that had picnic tables and BBQ’s to cook some cheap steaks, bangers (sausages), or rissoles (a kind of meat pattie with vegetables). There was a children’s playground within yelling and viewing distance of the picnic area, and there was also just wide open space. It was a lovely park and there was something for everyone.

A few days ago, I was praying and meditatiting on the first of the sorrowful mysteries, the agony in the garden again. Instead of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane this time, Jesus was crumpled in the dirt in Queen’s Park, begging God to allow him to not go through such suffering for the sake of redeeming humanity. He was heaving huge sobs, pleading with the Father. He was ugly crying, and his tears were blood, dirt, and saltwater.

So while Jesus was present in the flesh in there in the garden area, Cathy was somewhere in the garden fucking a nasty white man for cigarettes, alcohol, or weed. We had already finished defacing and vandalizing the picnic tables with satanic symbols and “Hail Satan,” done with some Nikko pens and spray paint. Of course, we aren’t going to waste a good can of paint so someone was snorting the rest of the can.

In the open space I saw me, Blue, Calvin, Aaron, Brooke, Karen and Kylie, sitting around having a cutting party for no other reason than being bored. We had blades and pocketknives with dried blood on them dumped into the dirt beside us, several of us still with blades in our hands, cutting ourselves up. Blue, Aaron, and Brooke were smoking weed out of homemade bongs, and Aaron, who fancied himself a high priest of Satan, was going on and on about Marilyn Manson. We all liked Marilyn Manson, but we didn’t want a lecture while drunk or high. We would have run out of substances had the girls not made sure to keep the men busy. Not that any of us were old enough to obtain such things legally, but we didn’t care. When they threatened us with jail we laughed and said that at least there would three meals a day and blankets in jail.

So here we had all manner of destructive actitivies going on, all with my active participation, and there, off in the dirt by the trees and shrubs, was Jesus. He stopped pleading with the Father, and accepted his fate, the job he was called to do because he loved someone who was so hell-bent on self destructing that she was in a park with blades cutting. We were the outcasts, the misfits, the homeless teens of the city, with nobody to give a shit about where we were at. So fucked up that we would deface public property meant for children and families with Satanic graffiti.

The New Testament tells us of how Jesus hung out with the riffraff, and we were considered lower than riffraff. There were newspaper editorials calling us vermin and asking the city to relocate us. I’m not sure where they wanted to relocate homeless teenagers to exactly. Jesus, who was there in the park that day, he stood up, the tears still streaming down his face. I got up, I went to him, pretended to be his friend, and betrayed him into the hands of an angry mob. Unlike Judas, I lived to tell the story…

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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