Thursday, September 10, 2015

my nineteenth nervous breakdown

Life, though, is not all baby perfection and rolling green hills.

While I continue to try to eat food and not throw it up, to raise my kids and be loving and not start talking about Kim Davis -- because the absolute value of my contributions to our collective dialogue about What Should Kim Davis Do is always zero -- someone else's kids are horribly dead. Kids whose skin was as soft and whose daily newsfeed was as hilarious and whose lives were as wholly essential as the skin and newsfeeds and lives of my own babies.

And I do, I do all the things -- the hospice nursing and the regular nursing and the snack making and the birthday gift buying and the breastfeeding and the driving home at night -- despite the fact that I actually can't.

My whole thing these days is death: preparing for it, reimagining it, being present in its face. But sudden, violent deaths, deaths of children, kind of destroy everything I think I know about myself and the things I am doing. All of this, the baby-having and caregiving: it's great for me. But we also live in a world in which your children can be ripped out of your arms and under the water and away, forever, while God just effs off somewhere, for all the good He seems to be doing. So now what?

This is another side of the multi-faceted coin called No Really Kim Davis WHAAAAT that I just keep slipping back into my pocket to consider another day: there has got to be a more nuanced and creative way than literally to approach the Bible, if we are going to look to it and the God it's proclaiming at all. because the Bible is saying:

The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all

and Abdullah Kurdi is saying, "I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die." 

I also have been reading that story in the gospel of Matthew in which John is sitting in prison and sends a messenger to ask Jesus: "Are you the one who is to come, or do we look to another?"

Yes. That. Because you're saying your kingdom is ruling over all and I am looking around like, all of this? 

I can believe that one day there will be something for Abdullah Kurdi besides what he's waking up to today, but my kids are alive in the warm, dry rooms that surround me, and I also believe that I will one day see them grow up, that they will watch me die, years and years from now, and attended to. And as long as my belief in God's kingdom is predicated on those other beliefs, I don't know if it means anything at all.

For my faith to be real, I have to keep going back to these things -- to look straight at the world as it is and work out my salvation in the face of that. To not get lost in the comfortable avoidance of donating money or protesting the war and believing that that is in any way a response to the specific lives that have been destroyed this summer. And then, to find a way to live as if a "God's kingdom" is at all possible here and now, as though backtracking to check on someone else's dying patient, sewing my son's first day of school bag, buying purple birthday orchids, mean anything.

Existentially, pretty inconsequential. 

Clearly, my prayers for Syrian refugees avail them none of what they actually need, which is: a different situation, a different life, an undoing of the past few weeks of this one. God will do what he wants and people who see some kind of cosmic favoritism in the whims of our global economy and the violence it generates -- well, the less I think about those people, the better for us all. But I pray anyway, because by praying I can at least affirm that they matter. And because maybe if I set aside time each day to incorporate them into my life, even in my imagination, I might become a person capable of a response even marginally less useless and hopeless and self-involved than the one I seem stuck in now.

Tomorrow -- or, the next time I get to a computer: links to all the people better positioned and equipped to prevent more horrible losses like those of the Kurdis, and ways you can support them.

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