The death and destruction department in Life's Little Reality Shoppe has a way of preempting everything. Last week, two sick parents and the death of my friend Deb cast a long shadow, until Friday's mass murder in CT.
How do people endure the unendurable? I've seen it happen, but it takes a huge toll, and many years before those left standing feel able to stand, let alone thrive. How is resilience even possible with so much energy spent trying to hide our fragility? What if God is as fragile as we are, and needs us to protect it? I know. We're fucked, right?
Maybe not. I suppose if we're to be God for one another (which I advocate regularly), the time is now. I've got plenty of faith, and some to spare, but I need to remind myself daily. Poetry, prayer, music, and small conversations - these feed me. The media frenzy that feeds the information junkie in me can drain my spirit. I'm susceptible to the repetitive stories of tragedy, mayhem, and trauma, so I turn them off. Better to wonder, sing, and pray; then go feed someone else.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow, thou art with me. Repeat all day. It might be better to call another friend, though, because some days that God looks mighty frail, and we need strong bodies to lean on.
I wonder what will help society to be kinder and more gentle? I wonder what it will take to make it as easy to get mental health coverage as it is to buy a gun? And, I wonder how can I not harden my heart? I've been singing In paradisum deducant te angeli... I've been praying Denise Levertov's Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus. Here's the last half of the Agnus Dei:
encompassing all things, is
has been tossed away, reduced
to a wisp of damp wool?
frightened, bored, wanting
only to sleep till catastrophe
has raged, clashed, seethed and gone by without us,
to awaken in quietude without remembrance of agony,
we who in shamefaced private hope
had looked to be plucked from fire and given
a bliss we deserved for having imagined it,
is it implied that we
must protect this perversely weak
animal, whose muzzle's nudgings
suppose there is milk to be found in us?
Must hold to our icy hearts
a shivering God?
So be it.
Come, rag of pungent
if something human still
can shield you,
of remote light.