I am a worrywart, I fear. More like a sensitive dear one with an outdated notion that there is truth to the ideals found in the “It’s a Small World Ride”, and this is almost all we need.
My kindergarten was collaged with Franciscan Nuns singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”, while we may or may not have recited, “I Pledge Allegiance…” We constructed Japanese kites big as boats and watched a mama horse give birth to her foal. I love drum circles and Nag Champa incense. I love Coconut Grove in the 90s. I love my sweet, naive belief that in simpler times, one could travel the world without incident, that two single girls could backpack through Morocco or Nigeria, dock twin camels in Marrakesh and dream of being more than a flight attendant or secretary. Picture the world in late-afternoon poolside sun of vintage Conde Nast travel posters, a good ol Tom Collins, war nowhere on the radar. This is what I want—just drifting on limoncello and catamarans through the isles of Greece. Might as well as earplugs in. You see, I am a romantic, a rapturous Stevie Nicks-meets-beatnik in a CNBC world. Not even nostalgia and marketing can deny that there are tides of war, waves of unrest and the tunneling of political change. Whole maps have been changed. Whole people groups wiped out or desired as such. I could weep over this. And I do. It is increasingly hard to hide.
All of my sadness over nightly or late-breaking news is what usually drives me to pitch my tent under a rock. And it is quite easy to be unaware, barring Facebook notifications from friends. Damn, I do not want to see the rolling news of the terror of childbrides. I do not want to admit that Nigeria’s Boko Haram has taken more little boys to shove blades and guns in their smooth hands. To make them do their killing. I want to scream, “Stop posting children being burried alive!” My heart cannot take it. What can I do?? It is just me and my puny little blog about my rosy-cheeked sweet kids and our freaking snails! Being keyed-in, being aware is scary stuff. I just want to have pretty nails and believe that our G-d has truly got the Whole World in His Hands.
I admit it, most days I would much rather look up mothering memoirs or wavy-hair hairstyles. I’d rather watch four year olds crumping than learn of the next disaster. It is this sadness that would like to devour me, make me cry hours on end, and worry hopelessly for my young children who are simply learning to share. I would rather bathe in the ideology that all kids learn to love, buy into the priority of Thoreau, or simply feed them ice cream. Don’t show me toddlers being trained in Gaza to kill Jews.
This is the rub of reality on our bedtime songs. Sometimes a real news feed interrupts the sprinkles and Peter Pan singing. Sometimes the boys aren’t found alive and nothing is alright. Sometimes a Rabbi is shot down on the way to synagogue in northern Miami; sometimes the sing-along is the Mourners Kaddish. Sometimes I remember that my prayers can meet and mingle with others. Sometimes my heart takes to the sky.
And life always goes on, triumphs in song. In the peace of a next soothing shower, in the physical reality of sunshine the very next day. In the blessing that each life means something immense and no kindness is a waste. That my little multi-generation snails have another broad leaf of cabbage to ravage. That there is meat on our bones.
All this movement under roof. Over floorboards, in and out, closing doors. (My little one has even given himself this job. He gets so mad when we are not yet finished in the cupboard. He simply wants to shut the door!)
There are signs of life–silent expressions that melt my heart like a pat of softened butter and syrup, colliding; explosions of laughter, riotous tickling and sweet conversation ascending like prayers. Their feet, soft, their hearts, sound. I get the awesome job of moving with gratitude and instilling love. Forgiveness. Passion. Poetry. The words that last on a tree; the good fruit, a young man and strong woman. The flower fades and moves away, but seeds carry the genes of forever. It is G-d’s word that will stay.
This is how we champion. We don’t look away, but cling to truth. Hold on. Speak promises loud enough to remind the deep, the small, whimpering faith that gets caught on sharp things.
We are going nowhere He ain’t.
All the cliches come skipping back and I suddenly sing new songs. Suddenly world winds of ideas come for how I can perhaps, maybe, oh I sure hope to, inspire change and freedom for families and women and itty gorgeous imperiled children that are so far away, and yet only a flight or two. Everything is in reach when your heart wants to touch, when it decides and remembers that eyes open doesn’t only mean fear, but a decision to look and think, choose anger, choose power, choose standing up for the glory of life, the glory of children who could have their own songs growing up.