Here and Now
Posts I thought about writing this month:
-Turns out having your one-year-old pull every single piece of make-up out one at a time and touch it to your cheek really makes you think about make-up.
-Dan’s cousin had a baby. When responding to the email announcement, Google Inbox gave him three cliché response options, like “Congratulations” and “I can’t wait to meet her” that he could just click on. I found this absolutely horrifying. Let’s just keep making sure online communication continues to be more efficient and mean less and less by being easier and more universal. Click Like. Click Happy birthday. Click Congratulations. Don’t think or be specific. Sure, the life-altering, mind-blowing beautiful life changer of birthing a human being just happened to you, someone I care about. But I’m just too busy to even type my response out. Blah.
-My friend has gone straight cash. It helps him think about every purchase. His credit card, teaming up with Amazon prime, was just making spending money all a little too easy and intangible. He doesn’t spend bills he doesn’t have.
Then the Paris attack happened. Opinions about Syrian refugees and responses to what happened in France overwhelmed the media, and I suddenly felt like I had nothing to say. I waited. I read. I cried. People are saying the things that need to be said, speaking intelligent, compassionate truth to the noise. People are doing what needs to be done (Lutheran World Relief and Clowns Without Borders to briefly name two). I’m not sure what my role is yet. I’m not sure Enough is the right platform to add to the conversation.
I notice about myself that when horrendous things that have complex and global consequences happen, a small part of what I do is pay better attention to my immediate peripheral vision. I actively look for good, amazing things so that I will not be swept away with bitterness, fear and cynicism. These past few weeks, here is some of what I saw anew:
-My dear friend gave birth to her son a bit early after having several in-utero blood transfusions. He has had some more blood transfusions since, but he is home, healthy and growing. I find all of this amazing—his resilience and strength, his body, with the help of modern medicine, developing.
-I have been to a few funerals lately. You know who should run the world? Women who make dessert for funerals. Seriously. They show up, quietly, every time, and do what needs to be done. They are busy at work, behind the scenes, making sure the mourners at the very least have something to eat.
-Another dear friend goes through dialysis three times a week. Simon and I went to visit him, and saw a world that we healthy people never have to think about. Simon was very interested in the machine spinning and humming– taking my friends’ blood, detoxing it, and putting it back into his body. I was interested, too.
-While the weather was still warm, we made a point of going to Theodore Wirth’s bird sanctuary as often as possible. It’s stunning. The whole time I walked around thinking, “Minneapolis is so cool.” At the parks, the libraries, the lakes, this line has become a grateful mantra.
-Plumbers are amazing. When we need them, we desperately and humbly need them. They come to us at odd hours on a Saturday when we are stunned by how dependent we are on showering and doing laundry and flushing the toilet. They come with the skills and tools none of us even think about acquiring and have made it a profession to deal with poop in as dignified a fashion as possible. They leave, and we can forget about them within minutes. But let’s be honest, they are kind of superheroes aren’t they?
Seeing people, paying attention and being actively grateful is not enough. But it is what I am willing to share here on this platform and now in this moment.