in Tall Tales, Vive la résistance!

To Our Glorious Dead*

Recently a suicide barrier was erected on the Bloor Street bridge. It’s a monolithic structure of glass and cable and steel girders that look like crosses. They span the length of the bridge. Both sides. There was some outcry about building the barrier in the first place, something about the bridge being an historical landmark, something about the barrier being an eyesore. But the city went through with it anyway. There had been too much bad press about the Bloor Street bridge being the hottest spot to commit suicide in the city.
To me the barrier seems a sort of tragic memorial. Giant steel crosses speaking of lives lost and hearts broken. It speaks of a busy city, full of people, everywhere people, yet in the midst of it all there are those so overcome by loneliness that the find themselves on the edge of a bridge ready to jump into the Don river… or onto the highway below. The crosses mark an uncountable number of anonymous graves and unknown lives. It is not intended to be a memorial for those we wish to remember, but it has become a memorial for those we do our best to forget. That after all is why the barrier was built in the first place. Not to prevent suicide but to force it out of the public eye. “Take your life, but take it elsewhere.” And so they go and we forget about them. Not only in their dying but in their living as well. “Too needy, too raw, too broken, too awkward. There are professionals to deal with people like these. Not me.”
Yet I will call them glorious.
Not because of what they have done but because they are children of God.
And I will call them beautiful.
Behind the too eager conversations, behind the awkward silences, beneath the scars, they are the handiwork of God.
And I will call them Beloved.
On that final day we will be much more to blame for their actions then they. A child beaten, scarred and driven out, abandoned and exploited, jumps from a bridge. Will such a child be condemned? I think not. Such a child will finally discover comfort. Such a child will finally discover what it means to be home. Such a child will discover a God defined by love, a warm embrace and a gentle hand that weeps away all tears and heals all wounds.

*Taken from a memorial in front of Old City Hall dedicated to soldier who died in both World Wars.

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