Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pendulum

Silence by John Henry Fuseli

Of late, I haven’t had much to say, and the idea of posting snark and recipes and what I have eaten for dinner seemed boring and redundant, so I laid off the blogging for awhile.

Something has been eating at me, and it strikes me not just in its randomness, but also its connectedness. Maybe a foreboding of things to come in the next year, and a culmination of fears not yet realized.

Don’t get me wrong, I'm no Glenn Beck, but things have been happening around me, and being just barely observant enough to notice, I thought it best to just write something down before I forget and resume a bored state of mind.

Yesterday, Mary’s acquaintance died. She’d only met him once, but she knew him well enough, because he was her girlfriend’s boyfriend, so though he’d only been to our house once with K, it was still heartbreaking to learn that he’d died.

We never met him, but the pebble of a boy’s life suddenly gone radiated its grief beyond the splash point of his existence into ours, and we wept with her over his death. It was easy to do, since we can imagine his parents’ grief, and how easily could that grief be our own, too.

He died, after spending two days in a coma, having killed a 48 year old woman instantly, and injuring another man. I’m certain that he didn’t wake up one morning and say to himself, “I am going to get into my parent’s car, drive really fast, pass others in a no passing zone and cause a head-on collision, today.” No, like all the rest of us in a post-Christian world, he thought, “ I am young, and invincible, and I won’t die. Get out of my way, I‘m late!” He wasn’t prepared at all for the reality beyond his present existence. Neither were his parents. Neither am I, though I think about it continually.

Which makes me think of heaven and hell. While people hope all the villains of time, like Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, Timothy McVeigh and all the 9/11 hijackers are there feasting on their Just Desserts, I wonder if the young man who caused death and injury to himself and others, and brought endless pain and grief and suffering to the survivors is in heaven or hell. Cruel of me to ask, I know, but no one wants to give it a second thought, for it is a taboo of the New Christianity, a perverse and all-pervasive doctrine of instant gratification (blessings) in the here and now, which has been transfixed to the hereafter, as well. Toleration of everyone and all ideas is the new creed Everyone simply assumes that he is in heaven, embraced by God and hearing the words, “Well done, Thou good and faithful servant.” I have my doubts.

As I sit on the edge of this year, 2008 Anno Domini, I feel great heaviness. No serenity now, just a dark, calm sense of waiting for the pendulum, heavy laden with sins and consequences, to come swinging back at high velocity, and the knowledge that nothing I nor anyone else can do, will change the course of that swinging weight. There is no getting out of the way of it.

So I find a kind of refuge in prayer. Not the kind of prayer that asks Santa for a new job for Daddy, or to avoid the uncertainties ahead, but the kind of prayer that would have been prayed by Jesus Christ and St. Francis of Assissi. And for knowing what his will is and not to fret about what will come, but to ultimately hear the words, “The Lord said: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." – Matthew 25:21


5 comments:

  1. I have chosen to shut out anything bad. Its so overwhelming to watch tv or read anything about whats going on that I cease to function. So I have decided I still have to live my own life. I will do so living in my own lil happy bubble believing all out there is lies and I will be fine. I still plan to move, I still plan on starting a business and a new life.

    I believe what you think you create in your life. Ive had enough drama and pain to last a lifetime for sure. That doesnt mean things are not going wrong and Im in denial. My son told me theres a good chance after all hes been thru the last yr, he may be divorcing, my SIL work is slowing down, so my daughter is worried about money. Christmas will be very small due to no one have money. But Im ok and I will do what I can because I can.

    I feel bad for what happened to that boy and the people he hit. And Im not making light of it at all.....but life does go on......yours, your daughters, and the world. We have no choice. We are here.....we must. I pray alot these days tho. One of my dear friends is struggling too having been hit by a drunk driver. She was messed up bad but shes doing ok finally, sadly tho lost all memory of her life before the accident. And still I pray and believe in time all will be well. I have to ......or I just couldnt keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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  2. Jewel7:46 PM

    I understand completely, seanymph. The one interesting thing about this was the effect of the news on my daughter. I wonder if she thought about her own mortality at all before this, because she sure does some boneheaded things, and I always worry, but it is just a moment for me to think about.
    Even more, it is easy to feel isolated from family, friends and the rest of the world when you are carrying a big chunk of the same world on your shoulders.
    Sad about your friend, but as you said, life goes on, and it will for the victims and families of all concerned, even though it is indeed a searing hell.

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  3. I think knowing young people that die is what hits us the hardest. It just doesn't seem right.

    This post brought back the summer of 2006. The young man who took my daughter to senior prom was killed in an accidental shooting accident. Actually, he survived the surgery but died several hours after because the community hospital just could not handle trauma patients and internal bleeding. I still find myself asking why he wasn't lifeflighted to Boise; why they just flew him to the smaller local hospital. I was angry...I still get angry about it. My daughter was devistated but never talks about it. The incident all but destroyed that family. I felt this cloud hanging over me for months after it. It is difficult to acertain why God allows things like this to happen. But it's not for us to know. That's the most difficult part of having faith I
    suppose.

    I knew this HORRIBLE hatefull man who went out of is way to make life miserable for me and my husband. He died a week ago in his sleep. I feel bad for his family but don't have much sorrow for his passing. He never had the horror of knowing death was imminent. Then I get this email from my alumni association that my favorite professor died in a freak accident on the same day. This man was the kindest and most brilliant teacher I ever had. He always had humor and answered questions without making me feeling like I was a moron. I just make no sense of it sometimes. God must just sweep us up randomly. It doesn't seem fair at times.

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  4. I must tell you this, Lynndeepoo, because this will cheer you up greatly, I hope!
    My friend, Marta is a lovely, quiet and shy lady. Her hair, long, going down her back, was always rolled into an unlovely bun, and I would ask her why she never cut her hair. Marta would stammer, look down, and generally fall quiet, and with a shrug, just let the matter drop. I never pressed it, til one night I was invited to her home. Marta was a gracious host, and she and I had tea, and talked, til her husband, a college professor, came home. He began to drink, and then belittle his wife in front of me. When I tried to stand up for her, she would motion me to say nothing, because, as I later found out, he beat her too. So I sat there and just watched quietly in shock as he got uglier and uglier.
    Well, here is the happy part of the story: He died. Liver disease and what not. Marta promptly cut her hair, and began to talk freely. She had a real joy in her eyes, and so did her daughters. Life and happiness just bubbled out of her, and she was a profoundly changed woman.
    He had'nt always been this way, she told me. Just when he was nearing retirement, and he started drinking, because he was passed over for promotions within his department. She saw no point in divorcing him, because, in spite of his treatment of her, she felt pity for him. She understood that his time was short, and she just bore up under it. Truly, an amazing woman.
    Back to the death of the teenager: The whole place is buzzing with speculation about drugs or alcohol, and both may or may not have been factors. What killed them was his decision to pass in a no passing zone. Some of the family have said that he hydroplaned into the oncoming lane, and whether or not that is true remains to be seen. All I know, is that death is unpredictable. We simply can't be certain of anything. Pausing to reflect in times like these is a way of dealing with it and keeping soberminded. I didn't write this to depress anyone. Just to reflect on this young man's passing life and its effects on everyone and everything around him.

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  5. Loved the Marta story, thanks. Made me think of my hair too. I used to have really long hair. I kept it long for my husband. My husband always wears his coat indoors during the winter even though the house is 70 degrees. It drives me nuts, especially since he insists upon wearing pressed shirts that nobody will see under his coat. I was wired to belived that once someone has a coat on they are going somewhere. Anyways, I HATED long hair because I am kind of the outdoorsy type and I hate having hair in my face when I am doing things like irrigating, bucking hay, shoveling manure, etc. One time I implored my husband to please take his coat off. As usual, he looked at me like I had leprosy. So after 20 years of imploring in vain, I just went down and cut all my hair off! I feel great, and it made me look 10 years younger. Never felt a speck of guilt over it and I've never resented my husband's coat wearing since. I feel bad for him though, he still doesn't know why I really cut my hair! The passive/agressive things we do in marriage. I sure don't want to wait for him to die...I kinda love the coat wearing old coot.

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