18 April 2007

sometimes, all I can do is look up at the sky

spring white blossoms

These days, it's hard to write about the tiny details of my life without feeling a little guilty.

The shooting is so horrific: all those young people dead; a Holocaust survivor blocking the door to save their lives and losing his own; the sad haunted kid who killed them all, clearly in need of help, for years, and no one could do anything.

This morning, I was reading about it in the newspaper, not moving in the bed, no longer wishing for another cup of coffee. When I put down the paper, I let out a big sigh. Danny turned toward me and opened his arms. I snuggled in, and he held me.

That felt a little better.

There is so much suffering in this world.

Last night, on the news, they called it evil. They bandied about that word as though it is an accepted fact. After one more news story about it, I turned to him and said, "I just don't believe in that word."
"What do you mean?" he asked me.
"I mean, saying the word evil means believing that there's this quality, something beyond us, a quantifiable entity, for which we are not responsible. The fact is, we are all capable of cruelty. And if we remember that — instead of calling someone evil — we can find some compassion for the people who do these things."
He sighed, so deeply that he didn't talk for a moment. I thought, perhaps, he didn't agree. He was raised Catholic, after all.
Instead, he turned toward me and said, "I've been waiting to find you all of my life." There were tears in his eyes. "I've always wanted to meet someone who believes the same thing I do."
We held each other. That's all we could do.

Sometimes, in these hard times, all I can do is look up at the sky. White blossoms blot out parts of the blue sky. At least there is spring.


madre-terra said...

I feel funny leaving a comment where there are no others. Like I'm breaking up the purity of the blankness. Your other blog is always so full, so lush with interaction.
It is a great gift to feel complete with oneself. It is also a great gift to realize that you can expand that feeling to include another being into yourself and add them to your complete feeling.
I am so glad that you and James found each other. Many do and many don't.
To express yourself so completely and have your chosen so heartfully agree...wow.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful thoughts, beautiful post. Thank you.

madre-terra said...

It's nice to know that one can embarrass oneself on a national level.
His name is not James. I know this. I have read your blog for about 6 months now.
Your last name is James. His, the chef, is Daniel.
It's one of those things where I woke up in the middle night and thought, "What did I write?".
I used to wait tables. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and remember that a certain table had asked for Ketchup and I forgot to bring it to them.
I feel pretty dunce-like.

Anonymous said...

This is thoughtful, and compassionate. I agree with you, it's not about evil.
I was appalled at the news coverage and the adolescent bandying-about by newscasters of words to describe the boy: "nut job," "evil," "psychopath".... the truth is, he was mentally ill. The loss of life was tragic, horrific. But so also was his illness and apparent inability of his family and others to get him appropriate mental health care...and the thought of his lifelong suffering. And our culture's seeming addiction to violence- the continual showing of his videos. If anything it's a wakeup call to take mental illness as seriously as we would take cancer or other illness. Your comment was kind and lucid....thanks for it.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that it can be incredibly difficult, no matter how compassionate a person is, to really feel for someone who does something so horrific. Yes, he was mentally ill. But until you have experienced how a mental illness in someone you love or someone close to you can really affect your own life and the lives of others around you, you can't know how difficult it is to be compassionate ... it is so hard.

I won't tell you my story here, but I do want to open people up to the idea that perspective means a lot ... it really does. Before what happened to my family last summer, I could look at people and see the good in everyone. But for the past year it has been a true and utter fight to see the good. I want to see the good and I try so hard to see the good ... but sometimes mental illness can mask it so well that you would swear it's just not there.

I don't know; no one can know. I do believe that everyone should receive a benefit of the doubt. But, too, everyone should talk to someone who has really struggled with an illness in someone close to them -- something that led someone close to them to really, truly hurt them, even if not physically -- and try to understand. You can't see if your eyes are not open.

Jenna Lee said...

Thank you for this.
My same friend that led me to your site because she found out that she had celiac disease also attended Virginia Tech, and was in the building next to where the shootings took place, serving coffee.

This, for a moment, made me stop being so angry. And that moment, well, that moment is making a big difference.

Amanda said...

hi there
I know this is an old post now, but thank you for writing it. Your blog has been very uplifting over the last 6 months- I just got the official celiacs diagnosis...

As a survivor of the horrific events at my college almost 2 years ago now, this is the first time I've seen something written in the public realm about what happened that didn't bring me to tears/anger. Bad things happen, but we can't stop believing in the good in all of us.

Sincerely, my thanks again.