On, In and Around Mondays: Doubting My Existence
"I feel like Ma in The Long Winter," said my friend.
For me, it is not just the snow (today I looked out the window to find that somebody made more, again). It is not just the cold, and the colds. It is not even just that my spouse has been gone for a month to faraway, unpredictable places. Or that every day another region of the Middle East bursts into flame. It is, somehow, all of it put together, and a sinking feeling that somehow my particular kind of existence does not matter.
Over the past few days, it's been coming to me— this thing about my particular kind of existence. First it came on a sled. (Bring beauty to the world, I said to the open air.)
Then it came in the car: I am a beauty activist...not a chase, root-out, fight-injustice activist. Does the world need such as me?
At certain junctures, I have tried to be the chase, root-out, fight-injustice kind of person. This is the most lauded kind of Christian, after all.
But the other night, the truth of my existence came rushing in. I had listened to a TED talk (the root-out injustice kind) and my Elder daughter said shakily, "I didn't like her voice." I asked why. "She made it sound like something terrible was going to happen any minute." My Elder daughter has always been like this: such experiences disempower her, make her hopeless. But give her a paintbrush and an ugly surface, and she'll wake up and color the world beautiful.
My younger daughter, on the other hand, loves danger. "Isn't life more exciting when people are against you?" she has said to me.
When faced with the prospect of changing the world by chasing, rooting-out, fighting, policing, I (like my older daughter) quickly despair and become paralyzed.
So, you see, here where The Long Winter continues, I'm doing the only thing I seem made for and able to sustain over the long haul... focus on sharing beauty.
This weekend, I picked up Bill Strickland's book again, Make the Impossible Possible: One Man's Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary. Strickland counters poverty and crime with clay, jazz, and delicate orchids... breaking chains with beauty.
Thinking on that, I felt a small melting into hope... maybe such as me can matter in the world, after all.
On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.
If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)