Friday, December 24, 2010
My real worry is this: I'm not entirely convinced that I've headed down the right path - and now I'm now dragging my children along on this path. What if I mangled the whole path thing and now I'm skidding off to some forsaken end with no open arms and no chocolate? Ack!
If my faith is correct, this is just a test. I put my head down, fortify my soul with a good dose of prayer, and barrel on. On the other hand, if my faith is correct this could be a sign! And if I miss it I'm like the guy in the joke - the one where he's standing on his roof waiting for God to save him from a flood so he turns down an offer from a boat passing by, a helicopter rescue, and so on. When he gets to heaven he demands to know why God did not save him and God tells him -
'Wha'd you want me to do? I sent a boat, a helicopter, and you wouldn't allow yourself to be saved!' (In all my interpretations, God's a real comedian - I just have to believe that.)
What to think, what to do? Continue this life of mediocre 'success', building a little bit of goodness at a time, finding value and purpose in the few lives I touch, shrinking away from chances to do more on the possibility I might fail?
Or stop in my tracks? Find a need in the world and fill it? Really follow Jesus' path and risk every single thing in order to do some greater good? I'm chicken. I'm a total coward. I'm not sure I have the strength of character to do things like tell my kids we won't have gifts on holidays like these because we're off to Salvador to feed starving children and the real gifts for us are already here - good health, good humor, time together - so precious because we never really know when it all ends. But I'm chicken. And I like getting new slippers! Does that make me a total stinker?
I suppose it does when I know for sure that $48 could buy a desk for a child in an African school. I just saw that on the news last night.
So I'm literally lolling back and forth like a weeble wobble and I can't seem to reconcile and center myself.
But as I'm writing this I'm thinking that the whole thing is really much simpler than all this. A step back - maybe a few - and I can see that what Christmas offers me - what Jesus' life teaches me - is not the answer, but the possibility. And what I offer Christmas - what I offer God - is the genuine desire to take that chance to do more, be more, follow more closely in His steps down whatever path until I reach my rightful end - whatever that may be.
I may not get the whole thing figured out right now and that's o.k., because tomorrow I am reminded that the birth - the beginning - allows me a new beginning as well. And maybe each beginning brings me closer to the right place for me, the place where my abilities and my faith and my life all meet and matter.
So I stand on the precipice of this Christmas and I can't help feeling that my tumble forward is no accident, and not a pre-ordained step, but a choice. I choose this life and this path, flawed as it may be, with all my doubts and worries progressing along with me, firm in my belief that a faithful soul will find its way home, and so thankful for Christ's birth, because it offers me a chance, a hope for renewal and redemption and life beyond life.
Merry Christmas to you, and may God bless you and keep you always.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My holiday cards stunk this year. I've had a couple of good years back-to-back so the pressure was really on this year and I just epic-failed, like a slow-mow-bike-over-curb with kid-flying-over-handle-bar action thrown in to boot. I'm hoping most people won't realize it sucked because I put some extra distracting pictures of the kids on the front of the card, but chances are those who really know me will know. And I know. I hate that.
Produce shopping during the holidays should be video-taped and aired on late night t.v. as a blood sport. In the meantime, as far as I'm concerned if you're so old that you need to be bused to the store to shop with an attendant, you should be too old to ram me - intentionally - with your cart. So don't look surprised when I take your 4'2" self right to the holey-rubber mat with my own cart, sister. Two can play at that game and only one of us can win. You might want to gear up.
Speaking of - I've said it before and I'll say it again: dollar store sales clerks should receive combat pay for working the end-of-year holidays. These poor souls are so abused and hellishly overworked, they trade food breaks for cigarettes and Mountain Dew out of sheer necessity, and at mine in particular, they put up with me so many times a week I feel I should be paying rent. Of course, if I could afford that, I'd not be shopping at a dollar store, now would I?
So, as a giveaway, you'll note that I've been shopping. Ooooohhhh... spending? Garishly? Wantonly? Yes, for Pete's sake, yes! The 'holidays are too commercial nowadays' comment as a way of looking down one's nose at someone who's clearly in the throes has become so damn tired it should be comatose. I hate it! Buying gifts for people you love is not commercial, it's just nice. I've done all the modesty-adjustments I can, some re-worked things, home-made things, inexpensive things. But I'm still getting some stuff and that's it. I view it as an extension of kindness, a thoughtfulness, a gesture of acceptance and appreciation that - to me - is entirely in the spirit of the season. I'm not apologizing for it and I'm not feeling bad about it. Mostly.
Except in weak moments when I reflect on an acquaintance who has chucked his whole American life and moved to Haiti to teach children. So he is constantly blogging about the political unrest, violent weather, and other horrific circumstances that make it nearly impossible for him to get his kids to school much less teach them anything. All he asks for is prayers. GAAAACK! As I plod along the aisles at the dollar store looking for things that don't look cheap so that I can give someone some useless plastic thing as an indication of my love, I'm reminded that my acquaintance really gets it and I'm a complete clod. I hope he never reads this and realizes that I measure my own inadequacy by stacking it up against his greatness. Scratch that. I think I'll send it to him so he knows how amazing he is.
My husband's got a similar take on the whole thing - doesn't understand how coloring books and dolls and games mean we love Jesus - which intellectually I totally understand. But when he says it it sounds very scrooge-y and I hate it.
Moreover, I hate having to analyze my desire to celebrate holidays with some fanfare, some fuss and some material - shallow as it may be - pleasures.
Hating having to analyze it makes me hate the whole thing, which I really hate.
I always tell my kids not to 'hate' because it reflects poorly on them, rather than on the person or thing they dislike.
I hate when I can't or don't do what I tell my kids to do.
Speaking of which, are your kids ever quiet? Because my kids, no matter how often I tell them that movie-watching is not an interactive experience, can't contain themselves. At all. Ever. These kids talk non-stop. I've discovered this on day four of winter break. Truth be told, I discover it every time there are even three seconds of waking quiet in my house. Just thought I'd tell you. No idea where they get this gabbiness from.
So I'm feeling like this whole post is a bit of a downer. Perhaps some Nog'll fix me up.
Blech. Discount store Egg Nog is revolting!
I hate that.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This isn't the house I dreamed I'd have when I was a small child. Still, my home is truly a dream-come-true. My husband isn't the man I fantasized about. But he is the man of my dreams. My children don't look anything like I thought they would. They are more beautiful, more magical than anything I could have drawn in my head. This isn't the life, not the job nor the body or the economy I had wished for. Instead, it is a real life, a challenging job, an accomplished body, and an economy filled with opportunity for better days ahead. None of my dreams have come true exactly as I imagined them. But I am immersed in, consumed with humility, blessed inside and out for the great fortune that has befallen me. I know I don't deserve it. I am a thief by default, taking what I know must not be rightfully mine because I am just little, undeserving me. Who am I to have such a terrific group of kind, generous, funny and interesting friends? What do I give that in return I receive such acceptance and love, such devotion and patience from my family? How is it that God with all of his pressing and more important duties finds time to devote Himself to me, to my petty little prayers about things that bear no consequence, really? It can only be that I am a usurper, living a life of grace that I surely must be stealing from some other more deserving soul. If I am to be redeemed at all for such an egregious sin I hope it will come from my expression of a most deep and abiding gratitude. I am thankful for the warm reception with which each day greets me. I am thankful for the teachers who devote themselves to me and my children with so much honesty and integrity, for the neighbors I don't know and those, especially, that I do, for the waste collectors who take away my refuse and look for my son to say a kind word or share a smile, for the parents - sometimes grandparents! - of my children's friends, who befriend me with open hearts and homes. I am thankful for my mom who leads in every way by example, no matter how weary she may be. I am thankful for the goodness that surrounds me, no matter how hampered it may be by the noise and futility with which it is confronted. I am thankful for the dignity that comes with being able to share a meal with my family. I am thankful that I can share these words with you and I am thankful. Simply, plainly, truly, today and every day I am thankful.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
"I'm worried sick about the economic situation in Illinois and across the country. Everything from production of material goods to distribution of credit to long-term fiscal planning is a mess and seemingly getting worse every day. I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to worry.
"My profession is becoming extinct as an income-producing member of the job species. There are no proper rules in place to guide the new wave of real estate sales that's dominating the market, so the object of the game is a moving - sometimes invisible - target. I'm working harder and harder but accomplishing less and less. I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to watch it happen.
"I'm alternately panicked and indignant about our national security and the assault on our civil liberties. I don't feel like anyone's carefully balancing one against the other to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy are protected as fiercely as our border or our airports. Cargo doesn't fall into a separate category, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to be panicked and indignant.
"It seems that radicals are taking over the public discourse, making me feel like if I'm liberal I'm a socialist and if I'm conservative I'm a bigot. I'm none of those things entirely, nor is anyone I know. The media, our politicians and public servants seem to be portraying a false reality. And some people are making very important decisions based on this false truth. I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm just noticing.
"Problems abound, I feel sinking in the pit of my stomach as I watch vast national resources - ours and others' - tortured. My own hard work seems to be lost in the fray and my voice is hoarse from talking about all the things I think ought to be changed. My children are entering a world that I cannot compel to abide by some common system of morality, humanity, sanity.
"I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to allow circumstances to bat me around like a ball on a tether. I won't protest, won't balk a bit. I'm going to stand stock still and watch the whole thing unravel before me, hands in my pockets, a faint shrug in my shoulders. I'm going to watch you, my neighbor, my country, my ancestors' work and all that has gone before me flail, flounder and flush because I can't be bothered."
Is that what you're going to do?
Not me. I'm going to vote.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
My old boss is a complicated man. He's an immigrant to the U.S., the youngest of two sons of Jewish parents, separated by 10 years from his older brother. A fair helping of triumphs and tragedies took him from humble beginnings in Chicago all the way to a big-shot job with a fancy law firm in the city when I met him some (mumble, cough, 23) years ago. At the time, I was an obnoxious, big-haired, smoking 19-year-old with a nice sized chip on my shoulder. (No wisecracks please.)
We clicked right away. And when I say clicked I mean he could not believe he hired me and I couldn't figure out how to argue with him enough. At a point, and I'm pretty sure just to make me mad, he made my 'desk' the same table as the one that held the photocopier. I would answer phones and take messages while my notebook shifted slowly left and then clicked right with the motion of the copier pad. I never said a word, which I think irritated him to no end and eventually I got my own desk. Years later, I got a coveted window office when we moved to new space. We were both worried that other employees might be a bit miffed that I was getting such a prized space, so I agreed to take the larger office with the huge post in the middle as a compromise. Having had a photocopier table as a desk makes a person really appreciate any stable workspace. An important lesson, well learned.
(In a fun little twist of fate, I managed to sit myself behind a huge post at his wedding, so I had a broad smile on my face with more than one meaning as I enjoyed the event!)
During the years that we worked together, we learned quite a bit from and about one another. I'm not sure either of us has or ever will acknowledge how much. I was with him during so many long days and nights when he worked himself to exhaustion only to bear the unbearable degradation of ungrateful and merciless corporate clients. I was with him when no matter what numbers he produced, the numbers were never enough to feel some rest, never enough to feel finished with chasing numbers. I was with him when he juggled his obligations to work, children, wife, mother, brother and - with very little room left - himself. Often, that juggling act left too many important players unattended, or at least feeling so - though rarely work, and never, ever if he could help it, children. I was with him when he learned - grudgingly - that he would have to trust others in order to take himself beyond what he could touch, to what he could influence. That was a terribly difficult step and he required quite a bit of reassurance. For whatever reason, on many the occasion, I believe I was the needed steadying presence.
Just as I was there for him, he was there for me. He was there, to gently - some times very harshly - but always with the intention of teaching - correct me. He was there to give me a chance, when it was absolutely ludicrous to do so, because he believed in me. He was there when I met my husband, to give him the once-over before he gave his seal of approval. And he was there to tell me with full sincerity that he was glad when I announced that I was having twins and would have to leave the office.
If all that - all the memories, lunches, trips, crossword puzzles, and conference calls in between are not enough - there is also this. My boss taught me (and along the way himself) one of life's greatest lessons: why work matters.
I had always had a good work ethic; he and I share the same value system about this from our respective immigrant roots. But while I worked very hard, long hours, I always knew that the work and the money didn't mean much to me if I didn't have my family, my loves, my time at peace with myself. I think he didn't have this all figured out when he started. He was consumed for a time with the competitive nature of his work, with the ticking in his head of a clock he was racing, and to what end I'm not sure he quite knew all along. And he was terribly lonely, though he would never tell you that openly, and I think he felt bad for it given that he was married and had a warm, loving family and small group of friends.
We worked together for over thirteen years. Watching him grow in this sadness, watching him allow so much of his young life to crumble away while he worked himself so desperately was not an easy thing. And it made me ever so much more impatient for my life to be different. Of course, I wasn't quiet about it. I pushed him, nudged and nagged him, ordered him at times, to go 'get a life'! It was a long time coming, but with many signs and blessings along the way, he did.
So while many of the things that helped him achieve his success did not survive the trip, thankfully he did, and his children did - quite beautifully - and so did our friendship. He works now, but on his own terms, doing something he enjoys and far away from the hectic and hurry of the days we shared. He shares time with his lovely, talented girls and recently added a son-in-law to his family with much joy and celebration. I do hope that in some part, I was an influence in making this happen, but really, so much of it belongs to his new wife. On Sunday, I saw him wed his companion of the past ten years, a woman who simply radiates goodness and love for him. Their courtship has been a slow bloom, tentative at first, sweet, so down-to-earth and real. They are as natural together as sun and sky. That she has opened him up and made him really feel life - experience it with all the senses, even when its uncomfortable - is clear, and a joy to see. That he has given her the security, the steadiness and strength of a person who really gets it now is an equal pleasure. It was a long time coming, and not a straight-line path, but my boss found his way, and I'm so glad. Nothing but love could have made it happen.
And so it came to be that a sultry night on the city's river-front played softly behind the shimmer of an intimate wedding service this past Sunday, while a small group of close friends and family wondered in the power and magic - the endurance - of love.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
The impetus for the current discourse swirls in and around two topics: 1. the proposed Islamic center near the ruins of the 9/11 disaster in New York and 2. the proposed revocation or alteration of 14th amendment rights. Pundits and ponderers are batting the questions back and forth across cable news channels, over AM radio airwaves and throughout the paltry print that remains in any way relevant. No matter how elementary, these bluster-machines pretend their questions are massive, resounding elephants of truth tramping through the forest: 'Should the mosque be built there? In the shadows of the towers where Islamic extremists terrorized our country?' 'Should tourists be allowed to bring their pregnant women into the U.S.? Should Mexicans be allowed to do that?' No matter how unsavory or surreal the questions, our free society permits them - encourages them. There's no danger in the questions.
And as we've undressed the issues, we've had bad diagrams drawn and boring scholars expound and unfortunate theories traded. For a visual representation of the mess, picture the last day of a nominating convention when confetti makes its way maniacally up and around a vast arena, with no real direction, no purpose except to excite and distort. It's beautiful and chaotic and overdone. But not dangerous. Right?
Right. We're agreed until we get past the topic, beyond the questions and over the media-induced frenzy. Then we may part company. Because when I see injustice it's not just my moral self that reacts, it is my American self.
As an American I believe it is shameful and embarrassing that nine years after the fact we are still not properly caring for relief workers who rained down upon the disaster site in New York like angels from heaven. I am even more betrayed by the fact that we have not erected any meaningful replacement for the towers, the gape in the landscape serving as daily congratulations to the terrorists who created it. My American sensibility winces with real pain at the failure to remember our unity in the days that followed that disaster so that we could use that unity for strength against any challenge.
But nothing ruins me more as an American than the thought that we might prevent Muslims from building a place of worship and congregation near the site of the 9/11 attacks, simply because terrorists wearing masks of Islam participated in those attacks. Nothing could serve as a more polished symbol of ignorance about our own fundamental ideology than doing that. Except maybe revoking the birth-right citizenship of persons born in the U.S. without regard to parentage.
Traveling so far from our well-reasoned principles to a place where fear and extreme reaction control our policies would be a terrific step backward in the evolution of the American democracy. How? Please take a moment to think about what it means to tell a Muslim, a New Yorker, and a natural-born citizen of the U.S. that his place of worship is offensive or impermissible. Replace Muslim with Jewish. Tell a Jew, born and raised in New York, that his proposed temple near a German-American museum insults the nation. Replace Jewish with black. You get the idea.
And while you're at it tell my grandparents, who entered through Ellis Island and on make-shift boats from Cuba with nothing but hope in their pockets , that their U.S. citizen children, U.S.-born grandchildren and God knows how many American great grandchildren might not deserve citizenship here. Need to check their brownness... er their patriotism... uh, I mean... we'll get back to you on that. In the meantime, just tell your fellow Americans that American ideals work for us but not for them. There's equality under the law for me but not for you. No danger there, right? Wrong.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
There is frightful danger. The power of democracy is its truth - it's freedom and justice - it's acknowledgement of the self-evident. The danger is the lie - the contraint and corruption - the suppression of the inherent right.
It is a lie that an Islamic cultural center near the 9/11 site insults the nation. The truth is it upholds and uplifts the fundamental ideals of the nation because in the United States who you are is as wanted and respected as who I am. It is a lie that those born here do not deserve the right of citizenship. The truth is, the coming together of my Italian-American mother and my Cuban father to create me here in this unique place on earth is what inherently makes me American. If my dad didn't have his papers in order would I be any less so? No.
I understand the fear that others might perceive us as foolish and weak. We must overcome that fear. Our very existence is proof that, once experienced, freedom, justice and truth have no competition. Terror cannot replace them. Bigotry cannot deny their potency. Fear is no match. The danger of our democracy is not that we might make ourselves vulnerable by offering too much liberty or fairness. The danger is that we may not use the power of our majority to ensure that the truth speaks louder than the lie.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The first truth I experienced on that day was that, in fact, there is a God. He may not be what we imagine Him to be, or what we write Him to be. He may not be at all what we want Him to be. But He exists and my daughter quelled any doubt I might have had. In my view there can be no holier moment than sharing the birth of your newborn child with your parents and partner, expressing in vivid color and raw emotion the continuity of life, the flawless intent of nature, and the perfection with which a power much greater than ours executes the most complex of tasks. In every way Lucy was born into love and acceptance and joy and she has radiated that beauty all of her life. That comes from God. I know it.
Further to the continuity of life thing, on the day of my daughter's birth I was, myself, born into the knowledge that my life is a bond between those who came before and those who come after. As I held my baby girl and looked into her brand new face, I saw my grandmother as plain as if I were looking at her directly. I saw my father, whom I'd only seen once and cannot remember, but I know I saw him (see him) in her face. I saw my husband and me and I could feel my aunt's heart beating in my baby's chest, warm and excited and loving. I heard my mother-in-law's voice, felt my brother-in-law's spirit. I found my child's newness as if it were a story I'd heard a million times and loved for it's familiarity and comfort. She was meant to be because she'd been planned by the coincidence of our shared history and she would carry forward the life of our ancestors just as we all have.
As such, it became true for me that my purpose in life was to bring forward this little life. Nothing greater waited for me because this was great beyond comprehension. As I held her in my arms on our way to the recovery room I was consumed with fulfillment, more than I thought I could contain. I was humbled, realizing that at such a young age my life's purpose had been realized - and with a splendor and magnitude the likes of which I could not have aspired to much less achieved had I really been trying. Still, it was no accident that my unworthy self created this precious creature, it was instead what gave me worth and meaning, even before I knew it.
With this meaning I could see clearly for the first time. Which is why on the day my baby was born I loved my body for the truth it spoke to me in a language I had not heard since I was a baby myself. For most of my adult life I had loathed at least some part of my body, if not all of it, for its misshapen qualities or lack of some feature, or abundance of others. But on the day Lucy was born my body was beautiful. It was perfect and flawless and lovely. And what joy that gave me, what song in my soul. (Of course, that song has had a few choruses mumbled between then and now, but I know the words and I can belt it out if I need to.)
Lucy gave me truth and truth is peace and because of her and my Sam and my Sara I am a complete person.
That said, and in the interest of fairness, I feel it's important to share with you a few other truths that have become evident to me since Lucy was born. I think you'll agree every see has its saw.
- there is no greater fear in life than having a child. if you mess this one up there's no going back. for this reason all children should remain plastic-coated and carefully bubble-wrapped until the age of majority
- children object to being plastic-coated and bubble-wrapped, some quite vehemently
- apparently if you feed children they grow, a lot, so pace yourself
- the toddler shoe manufacturing business is designed to make shoes that are either too small or too big, but none that fit, forcing you to constantly buy toddler shoes to see if you can catch your kid's foot at the precise moment when the shoe will fit
- it never does
- pining for the day when your child learns to speak your name is no match for ruing the day your child ever learned to speak your name
- at about year six you learn to pine for the day when your child forgets to call your name for at least thirty seconds a day
- at some point you will once again pine for the day when your child calls out your name
- that point won't be when she's stomping off in a huff declaring that you 'don't understand ANYTHING'
- your child knows everything
- this becomes especially true the closer she gets to teenage years; if you doubt, ask her
- this rule does not apply when you ask 'God bless it - who left this here in the middle of the damn floor?'; at this point your child knows nothing
- your child will repeat herself a lot
- your child will repeat you a lot too
- the latter hurts more
- your child will grow and learn and mature at a rate that is alarming, at best
- her friends will grow too, learn other things, and mature at an even faster pace
- the latter hurts more
- your child will tend away from you in order to become herself as she gets older
- fight it, but not too hard
- eventually, she'll win that fight
- that's what you want
- even if you don't
I hope this assessment of the last dozen year's knowledge is helpful to you. It's certainly been knowledge that's been hard-learned for me, but well worth the expense of the education. The time has flown and, really, it doesn't feel like it's been twelve years since I held that warm, soft, breathing baby in my arms and felt that heat against my body and knew the truth of love in as intimate and personal a way as possible. I was overwhelmed then, as I am now, with the enormity of the task in front of me as much as I was with the sense that everything was right and all my life made sense. It seems really like it was just moments ago and yet seasons have danced by, days of smiles, rains and play, years of sorrow and joy and work. It's been so long and seems so quick. The definition of bittersweet, isn't it? And so if I'm left with one prevailing thought, it comes from a little ditty my son was singing to Lucy for her birthday. Set to a cheerful, bouncy tune, it goes
This is the birthday song.
It isn't very long.
I quite agree.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
The assessment in today's New York Times is that there will be enough votes to pass the bill. What's troubling to me about this is that the conversation appears to have turned. We are no longer collecting the most votes we can get based on the merits of the bill, just the bare minimum. The reasoning? Democrats are determining which members of Congress can be absolved of the responsibility to vote for the bill since it's expected to be the kiss of death during mid-term campaigns. Really?
So during the era-defining legislative battle of their lifetimes, our congressmen and women are standing firm and tall, carrying the mantle of justice forward with dignity and a sense of historical perspective, propelling the democracy into a new period of greater health (pun in tended) and sustainability, right? Uh, no. They're slouching and shuffling their feet, flailing, grinning creepily in front of microphones, and edging away from what they consider to be political quicksand. 'Honor and duty be damned. If you can get it done without me, please do, so I can keep my job.' Classy.
So I'm walking the kids to school today and my son sees an old soccer ball along the side of a building.
"Oooh! Soccer ball!! Can I go get it?"
"No," I tell him.
"Why not?" with puppy eyes.
"It's not yours,"
"But Maaaaamiiiii. You can tell nobody wants it," he pleads.
"Forget it. Not yours. Plus we're running late," I reply in standard Mom 'quit it' voice.
"But Maaaaaammmm. I'll go quick!" the volley.
"No," I say. "And why would you want it? You already have soccer balls," I remind him.
Slowing down, digging in, "It's a good one."
"No, Sam. And it's filthy."
"I can wash it," he offers cheerily.
"We're not washing it. And it's pink for crissakes. Why would you want a pink ball?" I march on.
"I could paint it!"
I smiled at my boy. Every obstacle had a path around, over or under. There was no deterring. He wanted that ball and he was going to challenge and overcome every objection. He is nine, after all.
Now, you and I both know that painting a soccer ball is ridiculous. It wouldn't work, first of all, and even if it did, it wouldn't last. I could have told my son that and he would have either been completely defeated or he would have kept up with a barrage of new arguments for his position.
This scene plays out on a much larger scale when it comes to health care. Some of us think its a great idea. Others, not so much. Our history tells of other occasions when this has been the case.
Famously, a few starving, ill-equipped farmers thought they could beat back the British army to take over a whole country. Sounds - what's the word - familiar? No, the word I'm looking for is ridiculous. It sounds ridiculous. Except it turns out they could and they did. However improbable, some of the most unlikely things in history turned out to be some of the greatest things that ever happened. Funny thing is, cowardice did not play a helpful role in this little battle for justice. It didn't help at all.
So having reached the tipping point in the arguments for and against this major reform of health care in the United States, some are arguing against and some persist forward. I'm tired of hearing how one political party is simply using tactics and maneuvers to get things done - all of which the other side has done plenty of times. I'm equally tired of this party or that serving not as real representatives of the people, but as sycophants, retreating or allowing others to retreat from truth and fairness in order to save individual asses. It's all shameful and embarrassing.
Our representatives need to give voice to the truth, however they see it, and then suck up the consequences no matter what they may be. And they need to hear you telling them to do so. Call your congressional representatives and tell them to do good for good's sake, and reassure them that we're willing to stand together to take the hit on the off chance we're doing something phenomenal. Tell them to have a sense of morality so that keeping their own jobs is secondary - at least - to protecting the people. Tell them to be Americans in the action sense of that word. For the love of Pete, tell them to stop being such cowards!
And for the record, I'm taking that darn ball home and painting it a flaming bright blue, just to show faith in the notion that we can instead of that we can't. I may be ridiculous, but I'm no coward.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I won't say this has been a good experience. It's been awful. I'm still somewhat sleepless and restless. I do not feel safe, despite my husband's and brother-in-law's valiant efforts to fortify the house against all evils, foreign and domestic. But then those toils, with hammers and ladders and Home Depot receipts galore - along with my brother-in-law's most generous gesture to help us pay for some of the expenses when he himself is in less than favorable conomic conditions - remind me how truly lucky I am to have such strong, loving, capable men to care for me and my children. I couldn't design them any better if I tried.
The kids have been putting on brave faces, with small exceptions made for tummy aches of unknown origins and quiet moments when the weirdness of it all seems to sink in. The dull and steady throb of guilt over how this has hurt my children is soothed, if at all, by the fact that snuggles and hugs have been plentiful - even moreso than usual - and mommy does seem to make things better, even though she's no idea how. I remember, in ways I hadn't for a bit, how delicious it is to sleep all in a bed, hot, tangled, touching and together.
I've mentioned this only to a handful of friends, really preferring not to answer and then re-answer all the 'how are you' type questions that are perfectly normal in these types of situations. The truth is I'm sick and petrified and wary and worn and I want to run, run, run away from all these screaming, railing, shrill problems that seem magnetically drawn to me of late. I want quiet and softness and vastness of solitude. I want the sun to soak into my face and the breezes of a wave in motion to rock me to sleep for a long, long time. I want away and over and none of this. That said, who among us could ask for better friends than those who rush over with smiles and gifts to distract from the gloom? What more could one want than just an understanding hug, and then a linger in the hug to make sure the reassurance was real enough to be felt after the embrace had ended? No more. Not for me. That was more than I could hope for.
Still, I am so sad and unsure. It has never been in my nature to dwell; I've always had a natural bouyancy so this period of mull and malaise is new to me. I have no practice in lifting myself up, only in lifting others. I'm afraid I just need some time this time. With that, I know I will find my new place, one experience richer and still hopeful. (cue organ music?)
My thief has provided an opportunity to re-learn, to re-discover, to renew. I am taking that in with some gratitude for the respite it provides from choosing not to see what is right in front of me. For that, and for granting me great confidence in my center - reminding me of something I have always known - that my greatest treasures are those that breathe softly and giggle profusely and sleep soundly (some whilst snoring quite loudly) in my bed - for all that he took that meant nothing and the great abundance he left behind that means everything, I thank him.