(Wednesday morning, Ottawa)
Morning newspapers are grim with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq – deadly all these days with bombings, with martial law. I refuse to read it most days – the news being little more than packaged indifference to atrocity. I am not sure what is worse, the events themselves or the fact no one really cares that they are occurring “over there”. Yes, yes. The world is not fair. But why, indeed does it have to be so unfair? So damaged, so angry, so far from love?
A friend of Joe’s is dying of something terrible and freakish – something that has been on my mind for the last few days – a twisted joke played in the midst of an already-terrible situation. I try not to envision either man – the one struggling to live against the cancer which is taking him piece by piece – the one who disappeared almost two years ago trying to find his lonely way in a desert nation* and wishing he could come home. Brothers who will not see the other now because of all the cruelties circumstance could muster. There is nothing in that but teeth gritted against the tears that threaten.
And so it is, the large atrocities of war, the small atrocities of living – and injustice seems knitted through it all. Love unreachable, connection impossible.
But I am not quite grim as all that really – though I probably would be without those who have been propping me up lately. Interdependence. Community. Connection. Friendship. For these facts I feel lucky, as though I am cradled against the worst of it for the fact I can make a phone call or ask for a hand to help me step out of the muck that threatens to drown me at times. At odds with my own life, I am struck by what I have to be grateful for while at the same time pierced acutely by what I have lost. Or is that the message? Do those states just go together like that?
These days I am not afraid of myself or my emotions – even as I traverse these dips and valleys. The other night, while grappling with something difficult and in tears, I thought to myself a prayer – “Please help me to feel this as it should be felt, and let me get through it just the same.” I do not desire to eliminate this heart – the one which has given me the gift of sight as much as anything.
I wrote not long ago about the sensation of containing everything – every emotion – and honestly, this has not ceased since I said it to myself. I feel giant. I feel like every breath takes in everyone around me – for happiness and sorrow both.
I am watching the first few flakes of snow here and in wonder at the fact I will fly home tonight to such a different caress of rain and salty air. (Perhaps this notebook is my only true home anyways). It is cold here this morning and I am aware of what lies between now and the local airport. At least I know that I will be met there by myself. As always.
* I don’t actually know where Joe is, but FBI reports put him in Syria about a year ago, so it’s where I’ve placed him in my mind for good.