There's a lot of stuff broken in the world. It's easy to see that in the Big World, what with the CIA shooting blender meals up suspect's asses with Dr's approval, the UN running out of money to feed refugees in Syria, and moms who kill their babies. And while all of that and more is horrifying, its all sort of "out there", and pretty easy to compartmentalize as "things that will never happen to me, and that I can't do too much about, -sigh-"
But the busted up world isn't just "out there" and no one is offering immunity from all the sad and broken coming into our families, friends and ourselves.
I've been ever so slightly taking it out on Brian in the form of neediness and unrelenting snuggles, snivelling and whining in his ear to please not leave me... or die... He's been largely tolerant, patting me and saying "there, there" types of things while every so patiently reminding me in the gentlest of flabbergasted terms that he's not persuing a sexy relationship with anyone at the local grocery store or during his early morning forays to the pool where he swims lengths with a hairy jumbo sized panting man.
But its all around me folks, and this isn't news to you because many of you are living it. You're figuring out how to hire lawyers and divide mortgages, and maybe kids. Or you're sitting in the hospital with your babies and feeling every shade of helpless. Or wondering when you'll land up in the hospital with your kid (or husband, or old dad, or....) Some of you, my friends, feel like there's a giant sign on your head that says "Shit here" because that's what your boss is doing. (or your son, your husband, your sister...) Everything feels tenuous and incredibly fragile, and that sense of invincibility is way gone.
We are meanwhile working hard at our day jobs because the plumbing broke and the car payments must be met. Plus there might be a mediator to pay for, or some extra dollars to sneak into a secret account for when its finally time to leave the guy that shoves you up against a wall and calls you a fat bitch. Or you accidently ran over your smart phone and need to rustle up $500 to pay back your Mastercard.
There are Pots of Gold to buy for the piano teacher, and your cousin's baby died so your'e trying to figure out how to navigate family Christmas. Dad keeps falling and not remembering and every time you say good-bye at the door, it feels like you're leaving your preschoolers alone at the top of the stairs with sharp knives, and a pot of gasoline bubbling on the hot stove.
Your kids want to know what you want for Christmas and all you can think of is- I DON'T KNOW but I need: Time, and I want a couple of trips to get out of endless winter, and, hey some version of world peace would be nice. And you feel like a first class brat for being depressed about something as mundane as cold, knowing full well that you're living a very privileged sort of existence, what with the utter lack of masked snipers in your immediate neighborhood. But a couple of trips or one would be so nice, and way more doable than helping your friends with broken hearts and broken children, and you recognize that you're selfish anyway, so may as well say it out loud.
The Christmas tree just looks weird this year, and you catch yourself thinking- why do we do these strange things? Bring in a living thing to watch it die by twinkle light?
But we do. We practise our traditions or make new ones to accomodate our missing holes and shattered parts. Like trying to ensure eye contact with the Wal-Mart employee while paying for the chocolate oranges and Disney Frozen socks. Remembering that she's a person with her own family and plumbing, her own fears and wishes, and take the time to ask if her customers are being nice to her today? Are her feet sore?
**(but I'm not nice to the people who phone me to offer to sell me things. They are not real people. They are monsters. Do Not in any case, phone me with any sorts of offers. Also- DO NOT come to my door to sell me meat off the back of your truck, or try to talk to me about a home security system. In that case, you have recinded your right to be a human. You no longer have feelings or any human characteristics, as far as I am concerned).
I'm at the awkward part of this blog post now, where I should turn this gloomy ship around and offer all kinds of hope and Bible verses, but all I've got is "love your neighbor" and some awkward, non specific version of peace and good will toward humans.
I'd like to offer concrete advice for how to heal some hearts. How to rescue the kids. How to make love last for really real next time so that nobody dies or leaves. How to fix that disorder, that cancer, that weird kidney thingie. I'd like to be able to tell all the kids that their dads won't die until they're at least 92 and I'd like to tell the old men that its ok to stop taking their pills and go ahead and die. I'd like to tell the young moms that their next baby won't die in or out of utero and that their other kids are also immune. From all the bad things.
But I can't offer any of that without becoming hopelessly cheesy and full of bull crap, even though I'll stubbornly hold onto the conviction that God is good, and that Jesus' words of loving one another with casseroles, mittens, wine, and tears are definitely the way to go. (slightly paraphrased version of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the imprisoned). Sometimes the people we love are in different kinds of prisons than the one Peter lost his head in, and I think we should visit them there too.
It's too bad that we can't save each other. Because its what I would like to do.
So, my loved ones, and the ones I don't even know but I'm rooting for anyway- Let's decide that love wins. That it rises to the top, past the scum of the ones who leave. Past the pain of the ones we've lost and the ones we're losing.
But because the pain is so real and so deep and so awful, I'll try not trivialize it with pat answers and trite words. It's hard work to keep deciding on love, even when we want to hurt each other and we'd rather crawl under the covers with a box of wine in one hand and some nice gin in the other.