A Ramble Thought, Directed at “No One” in Particular

It’s hard to think what to say a lot of the time lately. There are so many big issues, that I feel angry or sad about, and so many little things that I’ve been dismissing as irrelevant or not worth sharing. But I’m hearing voices from my past saying that I think too much and that I should share more of it.

One of the big issue type things is all of the flooding and earthquakes and storms that are affecting people all around and driving them out of their lives entirely. They’re dangerous powerful forces, that we can’t do anything about. Even my sense of grumpy helplessness which gripes about things like “maybe we should think more carefully about where we live – this is why I’M in the mountains” is out of place beside the guilt of not being able to help people who are in extreme duress. The flood we had up here four years ago is still impacting the city and the surroundings, and it is frightening even from up my mountain to see how much destruction is being caused. I was frightened during our flood, but the rains and storms didn’t last nearly so long. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to try and flee something like that, even with money, and for the people who are unable to move, unable to leave and find somewhere safer it is even more heartbreaking because what can you do when the systems of nature and man both are plied against you?

I’m not even sure how to help. Does it do the most good to send money and then otherwise carry on with my day to day? It feels like not enough. But I know that I also am not in a position where I can uproot and try to go find a way to physically help rebuild what has been lost. And the storms are still flying.

I hear about this maelstrom, and then my ears are filled with the roar of the closing of DACA, the insistence on a wall, the pushing of people who are “not like us, not like us” away and closing the door with curtains drawn. I hear about the fear and uncertainty, the long-drawn-out stresses of not knowing what will happen to you. The exhaustion.

We have created a hurricane of our own lack of compassion and our own fears and engulfed other people in it while we stay indoors. And I do not want to be indoors any longer, if this is what that means. I would rather be in the storm, or better yet, I would like to invite the people outside into that space and send anyone who wants to be separate out to face those fears and understand what has been made.

It’s so wrong, to be denying education and opportunity in a country which has the space to handle it, the dreaming available, the potential.

I heard a woman on the radio explain a new German right whose idea is that “we’re not racist, but-” and that’s when you know that you are, I think, “you care more for the neighbor next door than you do the one down the street.”

How stupid. How petty, how stupid, how shortsighted.

Privilege does not even begin to touch on this idea. Privilege is a right, an advantage, an immunity, given to those who are in a position of power and can have the choice of closing out the world; but in this, privilege is poison. We drink the arsenic words and paint our skin with them so that our eyes appear wide, and then complain that we are being killed by an outside force.

Of course, this is true; the outside force is the hate which is being festered inside. The deadly words that are pointed outwardly like spears protrude from hearts which are too pained to understand that this has been a creation of their own doing.

Of course the monster in the closet is real, if you torment it and repeatedly shut it in the dark. Not even because of what it has done, or not done, but because the story says that it is a monster.

And all monsters are evil, right? Moral high ground. Except you never even gave it a chance. You forced the Othering outwards and isolated yourself. You are the Other on the inside of a cycle that has no use for you because you have made yourself useless.

Why can’t we see that?

I don’t understand why we keep creating these storms. We all pity those caught in a natural disaster, but our society is about as natural if less visually tangible. What does a high-stress environment look like? A flooded street where sharks swim over the sidewalk and trees lie on top of downed power lines that kill like assassins? The world where you are seen as a threat no matter what you say or do, and everything you do must be perfectly choreographed to prevent a misunderstanding that can kill you?

I don’t know how to change closed hearts any more than I know how to repair a state or a country who has been buffeted around. But I would like to know.

And I would genuinely like to understand- what scares you? What scares a person so badly that they can look at another person and see a threat? For me, my past experiences have taught me that certain smells, a certain tightness of the jaw, a certain calculation of the eyes, a stance that towers over me and says “I will overwhelm you because then I can control you”, those things read as a threat. Do not come that close into my space, I think, but at the same time, I read fear from the other side now. “I can control you” means “I need control”. And as soon as I know that, the threat is turned into something I can engage with. It doesn’t make it less, but it does make it conversational. You threaten, and I look to turn you aside until your threat is less and you are willing to meet on a solid ground.

When the flood waters rise, I am glad for any higher ground at all.

But, if you know, please tell me. I do not want to judge you; I want to understand. What makes your life fearful? and if you know how, How can it be lessened so you can be at peace with yourself and the world?

Why does skin temper your views? What price is it to be a different shade of paint in the mixing swirling morass? What does it mean to be someone else? Why is the level of complexity that seems to come forth from one person thinking of another only to think ‘enemy’ or ‘good guy’ or ‘hero’ or ‘demonic’?

What is your own soul worth? Is it worth the fear and hate that drag you down and down and down? Or would you rather have it filled with beauty? I cannot imagine that you would not, even if you don’t agree that you have a soul. I cannot imagine you can’t want to see possibility stretch before you like a million million stars in the galaxy, for you and for those close to you.

Tell me your fears, please. Help me understand, so that even if you can’t reach out, I can do it for you. Or at least, we can sit with them together and help them quiet.

Sending love and hope that recovery for those in the storm, and solid footing, will come about soon and be stable and fruitful.