It’s been ages since I’ve blogged…not sure why. Sometimes it feels so futile. I’ll get my head all wrapped up in a particular topic and think about writing and then wonder what’s the point. Do your thoughts and arguments get reabsorbed back into your brain at some point? I know they’re all swirling around in there still, but I tend to just live in my own head rather than put my thoughts out there for the general public. Part of it is my desire to avoid confrontation, knowing full well that much of what I think and believe goes against what a lot of people I know think and believe. I’ve also seen the horrible troll comments on other people’s blogs and have no desire to be a part of that (not that so many people read this but still…). So I’ve been quiet, at least on here. My head is never quiet, though through meditation I am thankfully learning to control the whirlwind of thoughts from pulling me under most of the time.
So why now? Well, this week I’ve been finding myself enmeshed in the whole refugee crisis in Europe, juxtaposed with the ridiculous fight raging in Kentucky over gay marriage. In the past I have identified as Christian, and even though I’m not in a place where I currently support any one religion over another, Christianity still has its roots deep in me, with the capability to make me furiously angry and yet still see sparks of beauty (few and far between as they may be) in the work that some people of faith are doing in the world. I haven’t been able to leave the faith of much of my life entirely behind, I haven’t been able to ignore it like many other people do. It clings to me like a spiderweb when you walk through it, you never feel like you’ve gotten it all off.
Anyway. I spent a lot of time this morning going through web pages on how to help with the refugee crisis…I don’t want to be just one of those people who says “Yes, this is a terrible crime against humanity!” and then does nothing. That picture of Aylan is haunting, as is another viral photo of a dad clinging to his two children and crying out as they are rescued from the sea. I have never known that kind of desperation. Most people I know have not. And yet there are millions in the world who, while they may not be refugees, live in circumstances that most Americans never dream of. I bet most people aren’t even aware of it and if they are, choose not to think about it because it interferes with their neat and tidy lives (or it’s too much to contemplate in the midst of their messy lives…who really has a “neat and tidy” life, regardless of what their Facebook page shows??). I made a donation, signed a petition, emailed the International Rescue Committee’s Baltimore office about volunteer opportunities. I felt like I had to DO something.
And then…I made the bed. I wrote out a grocery list. I got the kids breakfast. I drank my coffee on the deck. And I couldn’t help but think about the absurdity of life going on in the midst of so much death. People are dying for freedom and I’m vacuuming my house. People are being abused and I am folding laundry. It seems insane! It’s something I always have thought (almost obsessively) about…I remember years ago, maybe in my early 20’s…I was driving home from my aunt’s house late at night, after babysitting my cousins. It was a gorgeous moonlit summer night and I was enjoying myself when, out of nowhere I thought “Somewhere on this beautiful night, someone is being raped.” When it’s a beautiful day and I think “Nothing can possibly go wrong today!” my next thought is almost always “9/11 happened on a gorgeous sunny day too.” A couple of weeks ago, a couple I knew from my time in Omaha was killed in a horrific car accident on a highway in South Dakota. It touched many of my old friends in a profound way, as these 2 people had been interwoven in their lives for many years. Last Wednesday was their funeral…and I was at a Motley Crue concert. I kept thinking “I am watching Tommy Lee ride a fricking drum rollercoaster and there is a funeral going on for 2 people who’s lives were tragically cut off.”
It bothers and disturbs me so much! And I think about it every single day. The reality of death, of sorrow, of tragedy, always lurks in the back of my mind at all times, like some sort of twisted photo-bomber, there at the edge of the frame. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t have these kinds of thoughts. I’m sure there are other people like me who do the same thing. If anything, the Internet has taught me that we are rarely alone, in our joy, despair, sickness, confusion, weird little quirks.
Maybe it’s that absurdity though that keeps us from utter and total despair. Maybe there is something in us, some evolutionary predisposition to carry on with the doings of life, even while death follows closely behind. You certainly can’t have one without the other. The whole yin-yang balance thing. Some people lean heavy on the “life” part, working very hard to ignore the possibility, the reality of death…while others I think get stuck in the contemplation of death, of the dark and heavy side of life, and find it hard to see hope or optimism in anything. Is it just our personalities? Our chemical make ups? A strange ability to perform intense mental gymnastics? Whatever it is, I hope I can find a good balance. I don’t want to despair, and yet I don’t want to–I can’t–forget the reality of the darkness that is out there, that is life for so many.
So I will empty the dishwasher. And I will write a letter to my Cambodian god-daughter who has been rescued from the sex trade. I will go grocery shopping. And I will plan my year working with my mentee Jasmine in Baltimore. I will take my kids swimming. And I will remember those, both near and far, who are hurting and desperate and grieving and seeking freedom. At least I will try.