I’ve started and stopped too many times over the last week…the last month. It’s been hit or miss – my mind is full and at the same time, it’s like I’m running on fumes. I hear our (moms) reserve of brain cells never gets quite back to normal after having babies. I can certainly attest to that so far. But the ways I’ve tried to keep mentally engaged has always included writing and even that was lacking much of this month. So I’ve started drafts on many possible topics but have deleted most of them. Whatever energy I had when I originally saved them has dissipated along with my brain cells.
But it’s not for a lack of topics. It’s been an eventful month both personally and…at every other level. Everything from the continuous scandal involving Penn State and their administration to the fires raging across my hometown to what is happening in the Middle East in Syria and Afghanistan to the continuous mommy wars and pregnant CEOs to all the blahblahblah around men and women and sexuality to the presidential election to the God-awful shooting spree last week my mind is turning, turning, turning. In all of it, I keep thinking about what’s permanent, what stays, in other words, what really matters. Does it matter more that JoPa brought in millions of dollars to the school contributing to libraries, buildings, and an inspiring football program…or does it matter more that he presumably turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the rapes of a dozen boys right there in his building? Does it matter that these fires happen every year across the West, sometimes by careless people…or does it matter that they have burned down homes and acres and acres of land in my hometown…and livelihoods? Does it matter that an individual was bright enough to work towards a PhD in neuroscience…or does it matter that this obviously disturbed man who had access to an artillery somehow slipped through those cracks unnoticed and killed and injured dozens of innocents?
These are all very different scenarios. I don’t mean to compare them side by side but these are some of the strange questions running through my mind. What is happening at a larger scale around the world, not only in this country, but in countries where oppression and terror are a daily reality, all of it is hitting me a little more. Maybe because the babies are so much more mobile and therefore, more prone to injury and hurt. One day they’re falling down the stairs the next day they’re falling off a playground slide and then the next day they’re running to the mountains for safety. I don’t know. I too feel prone…to a mama-bear stance ready to lash out at any moment if anyone so much as crosses them or me. But, I don’t know if this is right or healthy. The brutal lynching death of Emmett Till in 1955 has come to mind often this past week. It isn’t the outrage at the horrific racism and the unspeakably inhumane act against another human being that strikes me. It’s the response of his mother, Mamie Till: “I have not a minute to hate. I’ll pursue justice for the rest of my life.”
“I have not a minute to hate. I’ll pursue justice for the rest of my life.”
Time is too short. I know this already. I don’t want to waste a minute on hate…or being bitter, or vengeful, or annoyed. I don’t want to waste time going through conversations in my head where I have a snappy comeback to the rude cashier or the driver tailing me too close. I don’t want to waste time on anything that doesn’t build up or give life. Because there are enough people in the world who are making that their priority. I want to waste time on what matters…in a good way, the kind of way that saves a life or changes someone’s mind or helps improve a foul mood or reinstates someone’s hope in humanity. No matter how absurd and crazy it seems to others. And I know I have a choice to respond in this way in all the small and big moments – whether with my husband or the stranger, my children or the homeless person. I just need to remember what matters – who I am and where I’ve come from and Who has saved me. Once again Glennon Melton hits home with this:
I want to be kind to the people who cross my path, because just like that shooter changed the world – so can I. When the world feels loud, we must be quiet. When the world feels violent, we must be peaceful. When the world seems evil, we must be good.
Sometimes the most healing and therapeutic writing is the shortest, simplest and sweetest. And I think it comes after a number of starts and stops. This ended up being completely different from what I first envisioned at 2 am. Still, thank goodness for all those amazing writers out there to help me sort out my thoughts and get me started again.