Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession.
I confess that I harbour hatred in my heart. It lies in my belly like a festering wound soaking up any love or compassion I used to have, and bleeding poison into my blood.
The one that I hate, Sanchez de Lozada, has never ruled Bolivia with kindness. The rich vulture, decked in fine feathers and perched in the entrance of his mine, he takes and takes. I have been but a worm twisting in the soil beneath his feet, but he had never stamped on me so I felt fortunate, blessed even.
Marita…I can barely speak her name. My tongue feels too large for my mouth, when I try to talk about her. My Marita. My child.
Her body…the job of identiying it fell to me. She was left on shallow cot, covered by a dirty blanket. I wish I could deny it is her body. I wish I could say that the disease eaten body was not hers, that it was some other father’s daughter.
She knew about state of siege, that she wasn’t supposed to meet with others. She knew about the strict curfew. She should not have attended that conference with all the other workers from the factories, mines and peasant unions. The police have a nose for those kinds of meetings. They broke in at midnight and arrested everyone.
So many things I wish. I wish I had told her not to fight. I wish I had ordered her to stay away from that meeting. All she wanted, all she asked for was just a little bit more money. A wage to live on, to feed her children, my grandchildren.
Had you not told me, Father, I would never have found out where they took her. What kind of government builds a prison in such an inhospitable and isolated place, insect ridden and rife with disease? She wasn’t granted a fair trial.
I confess that last night I held a rifle in my hands. I exchanged the wood of my hoe for the steel of a bullet. They came, the revolutionaries, that mourned Marita’s passing, and talked to me about justice. What has been done to us is so bad, so morally wrong, that it demands a response. If I loved Marita should I not show that love by standing up against those that killed her? I carressed the handle as I listened to soft seductive words, spoken in the firelight. If I loved Marita…
There is a longing inside of me to slam bullets into the foreheads of the men who conspired in the death of my beloved Marita. They are faceless. Men filling police uniforms and following someone else’s bidding. If I were to pull the trigger and wipe out another life…would that bring her back? There would be another family suffering the loss of a loved one. A utter waste of life.
If I do nothing, does that mean that I didn’t love Marita enough?
There is no room in my heart for forgiveness. I will not make room…not yet. I will not surrender my anger…not yet. This man was not created to bear such anger, and yet he is unwilling to let it go.
And what of God? Am I to believe as some priests tell me that Sanchez de Lozada is God’s choice for president? Am I to accept all that he does to my family, my Marita, as God’s will? And if he is not…why is he there? God is too silent.
I fear that I loved Marita too much. In loving her did I enticed God to take her from me? Did I love her too much and love God too llittle? Now I love no one! As I have lost her, He has lost me.
I know what you would say to me, Father. Don’t say the words. I don’t want to know about the testing of my faith. He may try us with one hand and sustain us with the other. I would like to say to God, if I dare, keep your sustenance, try me not.
You, God, have revealed my true heart…one full of sorrow and heaviness. I am broken before You. I am lost. Am I worth finding? I have to believe it is so. I have to believe that You would rather have a broken man than no man at all.
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