We tried to go walking by the beach yesterday between thunderstorms, and got lashed by our first grey autumn rain. The sea frothed and surfers leaped into the waves, and the clouds made a mushy mess of the sky. We couldn't help but laugh, the four of us, striding in that wet, together.
And they caught the Boston bomber yesterday and people were alternately weeping and cheering in the streets.
My son ate his thousandth cup of soup last night. He is into day five of braces. They hurt, they hurt, they hurt. I would gladly take his pain and live it, if I could. But I can't, so all I can do is lie beside him at night and tell him stories at 3am, as I did on night one, when he couldn't sleep for pain. Sometimes that's all you have—your stories, your love, your closeness.
I have entered a debate on gun control, it seems, in this blog. I suppose if you bring up a subject, you engage. So I guess I am engaged. But only so far as it's healthy for me, and my family to engage…At some point I move away to make soup, to sit with my son and watch movies on the couch with him and give him pain relief. Last night the four of us played Pictionary at the dining table, our heads bent over the paper, and we laughed 'til we cried. I move away from the debate, but also move closer…to send good wishes and peace to those who feel differently from me.
Both sides of the gun control debate have solid statistics at hand to argue their point. They have history to back them, and essays and quotes from famous people. Both sides have real-life stories, tragedies, heart-wrenching and affirming tales to support their side. With a debate like this comes strong emotion. And strident rhetoric. And tears. With a debate like this, with every decision and news story, you have weeping and cheering…in the streets, on couches, by hospital beds. With a debate like this, there can be no winner. You just have lives, affected.
So I am sending love to those affected by violence. In Boston. In Syria. In my own home town. I am sending my beliefs out into the ether. I believe in conversation and community. I believe that we can be collective guardians of the world. I don't believe things are "bad" or "good" or that "evil" exists. I don't believe in "us" and "them." I think violence comes through a chain of choices and circumstance, people let down, led astray, feeling there are no other options. I believe violence can be met by a wall of peace.
I believe the focus of society should be on creating the most compassionate community. I don't think we have to be docile or passive: I think we can be alive and alight with our kindness, our empathy, our passion for non-violence. I believe we can sit on buses and be conscientious objectors. We can stand at microphones and have dreams that inspire nations. We can listen to and help those who are frustrated and unwell. We can be inspired by those who seek and have sought Peace. Love. Equality. Understanding. We can sing, and speak out, and protect our children—we can change the world.
I am a pacifist. I am a mother. I am an informed, gentle, global citizen. I am happy to debate, but I know where I would debate, if I could choose. Not in a town hall at a podium, with notes in my hand. I wouldn't stand or sit opposite my opposition, shaking my fist. I would rather not be behind the computer, writing words to people who don't agree with me, but instead sitting together—mother beside mother, person beside person—at a kitchen table, or side by side on the couch. I would have our hands curled around cups of tea. I would have us talking and listening. Talking, and listening.
Sun is out today. I think we're going to the local markets; they're held at a little school that overlooks the sea. Music is always playing. We will be together. The sea will probably be an impossible, perfect blue.