Reub's journey

04 August 2012

A fragile gift

It doesn't seem fair that the weather is so perfect here in Oregon while the rest of the nation suffers. That I pick wild strawberries in my backyard while people go hungry in places far away. That I listen to John play Chopin-haltingly, beautifully, and full of hope, while for others now is a time of  despair.

The litany of things that have gone terribly wrong around here over the past month:
1. An awful car accident, occurring far from a hospital, and resulting in critical back injuries to a young friend.
2. Tumultuous break-ups of people I love.
3. Serious forms of cancer for 4 friends and family members.
4. And then this, a horror that I can't even bring myself to say, that happened last week to a colleague's family.

There is a park bench on a nearby hilltop. Dedicated to the memory of a lost infant, it bears a simple inscription :
Each day is a fragile gift.

And so that is the thing to keep closely in mind.

My little camera, my hands, John's photo

And perhaps this, too, which says the same thing in different words:

“The man walked past me and stopped, observing the blood running down my neck.

"Your injury. Let us tend to it." He looked out through the open doorway and silently gestured to someone out there. "Our world," he said, "is far more advanced than yours. For reasons you'll understand shortly."

A thin, bony, naked woman entered the room, carrying two small, white kittens. She sat one of the fluffy cats in my lap and stuffed the other down my shirt. She turned and left.

"There," said the large man. "The kittens will make your sad go away.”
David Wong,
John Dies at the End


26 comments:

  1. oh, that tiny baby IS good for the soul. i'm sorry for all the pain for those you care about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Animals are very good at this, even baby animals.

      Delete
  2. Karima, I'm so sorry for all the negativity in your lives today. May the softness of young fur and the purr of a little kitty bring you peace and comfort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Calling me "Karima" reminds me of a good thing that happened in July: a villager (a former teacher at John's lycee whom we scarcely knew) from Puli Khumri showed in Corvallis. He remembers me by that name, as you do also. Although Afghan men (even if they have lived in Austria since 9-11) rarely say the names of friend's wives. He came with his wife and daughters and it was lovely. I should write about it.

      Delete
  3. As I get older I realize that what I want most are days free o suffering of any kind.

    Good wishes to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laoch. Where is the Superior Being who could grant your fantastic wish? Because that would be a thing of awe.

      Delete
  4. It has been a hell of a summer. I hope you rejoice in your beautiful cool summer, safe and sound with John and the dog. Keep the faith, please, for others who are struggling.. Ok? xx shalom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have written about the reasons for this kind of unrest and suffering. And that the coming weeks will ease the cycle away. May you be correct.

      Rest assured. I am a tiger-person (unlikely as that sounds if you ever met me), like my foster cat Hester Prynne who quietly devotes most of her waking hours to supporting those in her care, and I will happily keep the faith for those who need it. I wish I could absorb a portion of their pain.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Damn. Why can't we edit comments? If FB can do it, so should Blogger.

      Delete
  6. Life is composed of both good and bad. I'm not sure one can exist without the other. My best wishes for your friends and loved ones who are struggling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen, you are right. I was thinking about this after I wrote the post. It is exquisitely, deeply, bitter-sweet. And we ride about in bumper-cars.

      Delete
  7. Oh, Kerry, that is the dichotomy of this physical plane, isn't it? For every hope and beauty there is a despair and tragedy. And so we must be ever thankful for the hope and beauty of our lives because someone is doing the suffering that balances it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ellen. I suppose that some time it will be my own turn. As Mark Twain said, "what is joy without sorrow?" These things exist together. The sorrows have come in a bundle.

      Delete
  8. How sad that so many you know have had troubles.

    As for the weather, it's 98 today, and that's WAY too hot for this old Mississippi boy. Thank goodness I have a new air conditioner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Air conditioning is so welcome. We rarely have to use it in Oregon, so I don't feel guilty about it.

      98 is hot for anybody, but still, for a boy from Mississippi, you should never admit to this!

      Delete
  9. Fragile indeed. We absolutely must make sure we do not add to the destruction ourselves.
    Tread lightly and be grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, my. So much sadness. My heart goes out to those suffering. It's hard to feel happy when our comrades are going through such crises. Take care and God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you Gail. You are kind.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a moving blog. And what a perfect photo to counter-balance the dark side of things.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you b&b. A lucky shot.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We live in a world of simultaneous opposites. It always makes me wonder how the world goes blithely on when tragedy strikes at home or close enough to it to scorch you, too. I am glad you have kitten balm.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you Pauline. Yesterday at the grocery store I was thinking about this when the clerk said the usual "Hi how-are-you-today" & I answered "Fine-thanks-how are-you" How hard it would be to go through the motions of these everyday things when you have been struck by tragedy, the world blithely continuing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh my heart goes out to you and your people, Kerry. So much tragedy. I'm sorry for that. There's truth to the medicinal healing of animals though. Give that little angel kisses on its purry little head. It does help, some.

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me.