...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, March 24, 2003
      ( 11:55 AM )
Blowin' In the Wind - the Answer, that Is.

I have been reading through many blogs this morning. It seems like there is a lot of feeling of loss - loss of innocence, loss of understanding, loss of certainty, loss of faith. It's not surprising in times like this. I read body and soul this morning with a sense of kinship (not to mention admiration for the usually wonderfully-written thoughts). It really can be a bipolar experience - the shift between grief and sadness and anger and cynicism that seems to be in a constant cycle with me these days. I can't say it's unfamiliar - I felt the same at various times in my life. I can't define what I feel as a loss of innocence, though. Before P and I married, I experienced a tremendous personal and professional loss, and it happened through an incredibly horrible act of political violence. At the time I thought that I'd been innocent up to that point, and it had all been suddenly blown away. P said to me that it wasn't innocence I'd lost, it was a sense of clarity. And I pondered that - and realized the wisdom in recognizing the difference - but couldn't quite find it in myself to understand that difference when it came to my own feelings.

Later, when P and I together experienced, early on in our marriage, the terrible loss of a child not yet born, but formed enough in my body and in our hearts to have been named - I thought I'd again lost my innocence. In the midst of my grief, I thought to myself that I would never again be fooled by the Universe that there is ultimate Good.

When time brought that soothing mist that always eventually softens grief, I thought again about my own innocence...and I wondered if there truly ever was any inside me to begin with. If there is actually innocence in humanity - or if we fool ourselves into thinking that there must have once been, because that softens the blow when we happen to see the worst of humanity exercise its strength in front of our very eyes. Is it that each time there is loss or each time we manage to catch a glimpse of evil with our own eyes, our innocence is subsumed under that negative experience? Or is it merely a wish for innocence that is chipped away, bit by bit... only to reveal to us (if we are looking) that we have at our core a divinity - and that is what we have been trying to protect all along. If we as human beings knew at a constant conscious level that there is divinity at our core, how could we survive living on a planet where other humans who deny that divinity's existence and commit acts against humanity that we cannot fathom?

Instead, we cover our core with a sense that we must have started out innocent somewhere along the road and when that innocence gets beaten down, while it is devastating when it happens, in the end, we survive it and somehow pick up some sense of it again. But if we acted as if we were divine, and we saw the divinity in all of humanity, then the overwhelming pain of watching evil happen before our eyes in all manner of ways that humans commit it against each other would be unbearable. In our own ways and for many different reasons, each of us has been numbed a bit to the evil, and so our pain, though piercing, is survivable for the most part. And we have learned to cope. We look for reason. We try to live with the questions instead of the answers. We try to focus on things larger than ourselves, on those needier than ourselves (or some of us translate our pain into rage and commit the very acts we once found horrible). At the same time we have felt that a piece has been carved out of our souls because of what we have seen, we are filling our souls back up by forcing ourselves to believe that even in the darkest moments, something good might happen. I think the resiliance of that belief comes from our divinity. And I am so grateful for it.

In the last few days, I have noticed a marked change in the Kid's behavior. My son is 10 months old next week - and he thrives on his routine, on the familiarity of the things and people that surround his life. We are moving this coming week into a house, and our apartment has become a warehouse of boxes and things that are stacked and ready to go. At the same time we've been packing, we've tried to keep his room intact and his routine as normal as possible. In the midst of all this, my brother (who is also the Kid's godfather) is in the middle of the events occuring in the persian gulf right now - and though we try to distract ourselves, we are inevitably drawn to watching or listening to the news. And I worry. And I wonder what will happen. And I try to brush away those what-if-the-worst-happens thoughts. I try to hope that my Brother, in his own deep sense of morality and sensitivity, and all the rest of them will not be psychically scarred by being a part of this action. I think the Kid senses it. He sees his material world changing, and I think he knows that his Mum is hugging him a lot tighter these days, and I'm sure everything seems so uncertain. His tummy was upset all day yesterday, and he was uncharactiersitically clingy - grasping my trousers in his hand even as he sat next to me on the floor and played with his little piano. I feel so bad for him - I wish that I could make his world easier and more reassuring right now, but I can only hold him and promise that everything will be back to normal again soon. And for him, it will.

Then I think of my own world - the way that the politics of the leaders of my country have affected the lives of every human being on earth, and I wonder. How can it ever be back to normal again? And what are my limits to "normal" anyway? How far will I let this go - until the world that is left for my son's generation is destroyed? What do I do now?

courtesy of Bob Dylan:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

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