Saturday, November 14, 2015

being alive is hard, but oh, the fresh air

I went to sleep last night feeling so low, my skin thin, pricked easily by tiny irritants from the day I could normally tread over.  And then I had read the news, heard there was a bombing in Beirut, a city whose streets I've explored and restaurants I've danced in, whose food and people and landscape I've delighted in, a city which has taught me to see anew.  My friend Rebecca lives there with her Lebanese husband and Lebanese babies.  My friend Bethany just visited her family there, Syrians from mish mish orchards fleeing violence in their beloved land, trying to find some peace for their babies to grow.

I felt incredibly sad, I felt despair, I worried for the men, women and children whose lives were sharply interrupted by intentional chaos, the dead ones are the lucky ones my professor would always say, but not the ones left behind.  How would I keep living if that happened in my own neighbourhood?  How would I leave the house with my three small humans and face the world unarmed?  Sometimes I can barely do that now.

I woke to the news of the murders in Paris, a city I know only through other people's stories and pictures.  I want to hole myself up; I go to two birthday parties with my kids, so many small humans oblivious to the unfolding headlines, just finding joy in friends and sugar this very day.

At 23 I didn't think I'd live to be so old.  On days like today, when our grief is more apparent, more public, I have tiny, gentle flashbacks to moments I don't consciously remember, moments somewhere between breath and God, light and dark and light again.  I contemplate what would have happened if my breathing had stopped and these now ten years of filled to the brim with joy and sorrow life had not been lived by me and it had all ended there.  It sounds unhealthy doesn't it?  To think like that?  But I need to feel my vapour thin to know I'm really alive.  I need to remember my almost death to see everything else as the richest liveliest life to the full.

Whether its violence, car accidents, cancer, an earthquake or other unforeseen upheaval the question is possibly the same.  How do we choose love?  How do we celebrate life where it's rising up from rubble again?  How do we throw our seeds and look for tiny green coming out of the burnt, ashy earth?  How do we welcome another child into this world of weapon stockpiles and tell them its good to dream?  How do we loose the grip we have on our own weapons, on our desire to separate and be safe, on our inability to imagine a better way?

There is some space, between naiveté and despair.
It's not comfortable but it welcomes us to come, settle in and make room for the world.
It's that space where God ever is, weeping and wailing and dreaming again.