writer

E.S.S.A.Y.S on a Mad, Mad World

Each of us holds her own piece of truth and goodness inside. Every human is equally capable of doing good. Even terrorists first emerged from the darkness of a womb into the light and were embraced in warmth, swaddled and nurtured, cooed at, kissed. Every child is loved or nurtured by someone, in the beginning.

So how can a human get so lost? Sin is not inborn; it is acquired, developed, refined over time. Scratch the surface of any hater, and you will find vulnerability borne by love somewhere underneath. Salvation of the world, of the sinners, cannot be achieved by doing battle with evil. Sunlight is the only thing that can overcome darkness. Souls are not won like chess pieces. Strategy isn’t enough on the battlefield of ideology. Struggles against anything can only lead to more struggles. Strategy is useless when it comes to the spirit. Spiritual change can only occur willingly—this is the only freedom we all have.

So how do we influence the collective will of a would-be “nation” of evil-doers? Seems the whack-a-mole game isn’t working. Senseless killing will always spawn more of the same. Spending the borrowed wealth of whole continents to bomb, shoot, smash and annihilate an ideology can only assure more of the same, and more of the same, again and again until there is nothing left of our planet to save, and the evil turns in on itself to feast and spit. Sigmund Freud (I think) said a sign of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different result. Seems the world has gone mad. So the question we need to ask is, “Why?”

A thought or two. An idea that isn’t fully flushed out, obviously, but perhaps it might be, over time. A simple solution?—no. A long-term process, certainly. A bit too little too late, perhaps. Almost certainly. Anyway, here are my ideas, in their simple, un-flushed out form, scribbled in frustration.

Yes, we need to stop this madness; the beheadings; the kidnappings and enslavement. Young men and women from all over the world – here, too — are signing up, pledging their allegiance to malevolence.  You can’t fight evil, truly we must have learned that by now. You can only shine light on the darkness; expose the filth; show those in the darkness the truth.

Seeing the evil for what it really is, exposed to the light of reason, those stumbling about inside of the shadows will choose to see and embrace the light. Such is the wisdom of all religious traditions and philosophies. Salvation cannot be mandated; it must be chosen. Show the world what goodness and truth look like; educate the darkness out of the lost; remind the child about the innocence of the nurtured baby; remind the teen about the fun-loving child; remind the adult that he once knew joy and had hope. Stop the endless cycle of violence by turning things around, bottom up. Save the children before they lose faith. Spend the billions on schoolbooks, instructors, desks, uniforms, safe spaces for children to learn and grow. Stop the cancerous madness before it grows. Slice it out of the body of mankind with the sharp scalpel of knowledge. Share the past with the children. Show them the futility of war. Sing a different song—a harmonious one, where the dissonant solos of the world become choruses of glorious sound. Sing a song of love and unity, of praise for every man’s faith (for faith in anything is a reason for hope). Shut out the spreading web of evil by offering a web of community, stability, love. Save the world by saving the children, everywhere. Spend the money to infiltrate the sticky web where young minds lie trapped, cocooned awaiting doom of every sort. Slice the threads. Squash the spider of hate. Smother the children with kindness, nurturing, love, and hope. See, the information is important and good, but it is only the hope that will lift them out of the pit of darkness. Shine the light of hope; sing the song of unity; stop the cycle of madness; sell the idealists on a better ideal; share the wisdom of critical self-reflection, and be willing to burden some of the blame. Shame those who do wrong in the name of any god. Sorrow for those who have perished at the hands of any killer—theirs, ours, or a false ideology. See that we are all one, sharing this simple ball of blue and green, spinning through space, circling the same sun, singing to the same moon, touched by the very breeze that brushed the cheek of our enemy yesterday or the day or year before. Sigh in sadness for us and for those who share the very air we breathe. Send the air that has resided inside of your chest out into the current between us to travel past boundaries, borders, no-fly zones and battle lines to be drawn in identical sigh into the heart and lungs of the killer who was once a boy learning to tie his shoe; whose mother will mourn with as much sorrow for her loss as our mothers have mourned and will mourn their children fallen; the boy who lost his way; who might have been saved, taught, encouraged to hope. Search for a better way. See that the old ways are no longer working. Space is interesting, but what we really need to explore right now is here—on Earth, so spend everything to save us, here, now. See that we understand them, and they understand us. Serve goodness by doing better. Seek out common ground, and start from there. Speak of hope and understanding; speak of a loving God who does not promote hatred and violence; speak of universal truth—of love and mutual need; of service to one another. Share food. Share wisdom. Share hope. Stop the machetes and silence the guns with music, harmony, words. Sounds so simple. Sounds so right. Seriously, though, one way or another, these crazy, sicko extremist MFs have to go.

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Closure

It’s funny. I actually haven’t been doing these blog posts in the past two years–have been extremely busy with momming and publishing Macaroni Kid, first, in Northwest Jersey, then on the Upper West side through Inwood, in Manhattan. Life is completely different and much the same since I last blogged on MomPress. The unaffordable dream house is gone. I mean, it’s still there, but we no longer live in it. We’re back in the city–an unlikely financially motivated move that was decided upon in a rare moment of clarity amidst the chaos of mounting medical bills, heating bills, car insurance bills, commuter bills, missed mortgage payments and the like. It helped that it was not just us–dozens of homes in our old neighborhood were shuttered, abandoned, their lawns overgrown with weeds and covered with branches from storms long-passed. Most of them have no “for sale” sign–Who would buy a house that’s worth a quarter of its listed value? Many of them are covered with tell-tale door stickers and notes–warnings to pay or else this or that would be shut off…notices that this or that has been shut off…It’s an epidemic, foreclosure. Not JUST in our old neighborhood, but everywhere.

So we are here now. Starting over again. Older, yes. Wiser? Perhaps. Hopeful that we won’t go under again. Closer to work. Closer to opportunity. Sigh.

That old friend I mentioned in my last post–my old roommate from the 80s–was in town last night. Her band was playing a gig on East Houston Street. I rarely get out at night anymore and always feel guilty when I do go somewhere before the kids are in bed. But my husband was willing to stay home and man the fort, so I went with another old friend from my previous life –another who knew me as me, not as “mom,” who now appreciates me for who I was and for who I am, another ex-and-new-again New Yorker returning to the city to try her hand at hope once more. Together, we braved trains and miles of pavement to show up and show our support for the old friend who never stopped being who she always has been. Still a musician. Still slight, thin, perky, hopeful. Childless, husbandless, happy to make music and do her thing.

We were late getting to the gig–mis-estimated the walking miles–so she was already midway through her set when we arrived, standing awkwardly in front of the stage because there were no available seats in the tiny club filled with college-aged alternative music fans. I was three feet from her, but she looked right through me as she sang. It took me a few minutes to realize that she didn’t recognize her old friend and roommate–me. I was invisible–a mere shape with teeth–and not the shape she remembered, but now a middle-aged mom shape. She sang through her set, and I continued trying to catch her eye or get her attention with catcalls and applause after each song–surely she would recognize my voice from across the room where I finally ended up sitting with my friend when two tables got up to leave…Nope.

The set was over, and I presented myself, tentatively, to offer praise to my old buddy who looked about 20 and wore a short dress and cowboy boots. I watched her eyes widen as she realized it was me–not just a blob with a smile–her old best friend and roomie, changed, but here.

Wild hugs. Euphoria. Surprise. Excuses for not having recognized me at first–not wearing her progressive lenses while onstage, etc. And by the way, look who I am standing beside now–Now it’s MY turn to be shocked. Her ex-boyfriend from 25 years before. Stockier, less hair, a tired smile on his face. It takes him a moment or two to recognize me as well. Then a slow hug and catching up quickly, as he has to be up at 6:30 am the next morning, and it’s after midnight now, so he must leave soon. His son is 14. He works in computers. No mention of his wife, but my friend later tells me that he and the wife have “an understanding” of some sort, and he has joined social networking sites for other married people with similar “understandings.” Oh.

More later. Have to pick up the kids.

So…Where was I? Oh…

This is now three days later, as I posted the rest of the blog post, but it got deleted…

I guess there’s no real point to going on about visit. It was nice to see her.She looked fantastic. We went next door to a noisy Cuban bar to schmooze, then we had lunch at an Indian restaurant the next day and caught up. Brief. Friendly. Moving right along…