Some mornings, I wake up to the news and don’t handle it well. That’s a really hard way to start the day. Darfur. Iraq. Suicide bombs. Refugee camps. Guantanamo. Torture. Miramar. Dictators. Military governments. Riots. Deaths. Trials. Secret memos. Election. Street violance. Identity theft. Indictments. War. Villages destroyed. Kids with no toys. Kids eating processed foods. Kids without insurance. Kids without parents. Kids without homes. One man’s hope is to take a second wife, so that he can make more boys to fight the terrorists.
All of that was in the morning news – the 30 minutes I spend cuddling with Mark in our warm bed as we gain consciousness. Usually, I think, “That sucks. I’m going to go help save some trees today,” and get on with my day. I get the day off today, so I have time to sit with the news.
And it SUCKS! I’m sitting here crying because I don’t know what to do. I don’t think I can do anything. I don’t know where to start. There’s so much that’s wrong with the world. I feel guilty – for my prosperity. for my warmth. for our food, especially the non-organic, junk food. for my general complacence. for not wanting to know what’s going on in the world because it hurts too much.
Two days ago, I finished the book Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s going to be with me for a while. Someone in that book dies while working to do good in the world. I haven’t experienced death much. It has a big effect on me. The death of this character and her story in the book makes all of the news so much more real to me. so much more human. That’s probably why I’m so affected by it this morning. I can practically see the faces.
The character in the book writes in a letter, “Here’s what I’ve decided: the very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the detroyers nor the destroyed.”
That last sentence has been stuck in my head.
As an american, I’m one of the destroyers, by paying taxes that subsidize wars. by buying food produced with poisons and wrapped in oil. by filling my gas tank. It’s depressing.
The character also writes, “Wars and elections are both too big and too small in the long run. The daily work — that goes on, it adds up. It goes into the ground, into crops, into children’s bellies and their bright eyes. Good things don’t get lost.”
So, now, I’m going to go for a walk. I’m going to visit a neighbor and see her sunflowers. I’m going to go get a few items for tomorrow’s picnic. I’m going to let the word hope rest in my brain and see what comes up. There’s got to be something in there.