Kitchen Table Revolution, Interrupted

On Friday, my Mom and I spent the day in the kitchen talking about a revolution.  Well, we were talking about the state of the world, daring to broach our  fears about countless taboo topics.

What happens when we all find out that Al Gore has been right?  What happens when people really start to run out of water?  How many links in the chain have to break before our global network of food distribution?  How many days of product are in an average supermarket?  For a proud liberal, why do I have a funny perspective on guns that I don’t talk about much?  In what part of the psyche and the spirit should stories like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest reside?

Ach, Marisa!  What are you doing to your dear readers on a Monday morning?  The sun isn’t even up yet and with gloomy thoughts like this you are practically daring it not to rise!

Fear not, if you are anything like Mom and me you will plunge into your seas of worry and dredge up all of your 3 a.m. thoughts even though it is the middle of the day.  But then you’ll get up for another cup of tea and the phone will ring and you’ll pay the cable bill or head to the dentist and you’ll pretty much forget this little dip into the nastiest recesses of your “what if…?” consciousness.

Of course, we all do this.  I, for one, have no idea how I would get through each day, full of all sorts of mundane beauty and banal ugliness, if I was truly tuned into my concerns about the state of our collective future.  It is pretty much impossible to fully enjoy an infant’s laugh if you allow yourself to focus on all the evils that might endanger it.

And so we engage in these impassioned discussions and stir up the sediment that our modern, Western, wasteful lives have created in the riverbeds of our awareness and then we start making dinner.  The conversation I had with my mom was so amazing and touched on so many important topics, it had me wanting to take meeting minutes.  But, I had my hands full with the baby when I was not clearing up the endless piles of clutter and I never got around to writing til right this Monday morning minute.

If I had had the chance to play scribe and record the litany of ills and the faint glimmers of solution would we be any closer to solving any of the world’s problems?  The tragedy of the whole conversation was that, as much as we were both so invigorated to trade ideas mother to daughter and back again and to flow along in the tides of conversation, we really felt pretty powerless.  Talking about Washington’s party politics and the conservative pundits’ maniacal desire to debase our president’s every action and motive left us rather deflated.  We were saved by a gently shaken snow globe of a January day  and by an infant just discovering her voice.  A baby who has not yet had to worry about the lies that the media propagates and the impossible search for truth.

We are not powerless, of course.  We have the loving bonds that allow us to dive deep and surface together.  It is as true that enough of these conversation will change the world as it is necessary to believe that they can.

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7 thoughts on “Kitchen Table Revolution, Interrupted

  1. Danny Lucas January 11, 2010 / 8:50 am

    We crawled under our desks at school. A nuclear alert was underway again, just like a fire drill on other days, causing us to walk dignified, but swiftly, outside to wait in lines and be counted.
    Fear.
    Fear everywhere.
    Fear everywhere all the time.

    Now we know that the desk would afford little protection when the entire city, block, and school itself would vaporize in a nuclear blast. We wasted time learning to live, by worrying about dying.

    Then the moral issues came to light.
    Folks built “private ” shelters underground at their homes.
    The rich could outlive a nuclear blast. But the question came to all…..would you let your neighbor in your shelter if they were banging desperately on the door above? Would you let them die? Would you allow LESS food for you, so that another could live with some of it?
    Silence.
    Silence everywhere.
    Silence all the time as we ignored the moral implication of what we would do as a member of the desperate, and as a member of the “haves”.

    Moira is not yours. She is on loan, just as you were to your parents. You care and instill all the love you have to offer inside her, for her to later disperse to a love starved world, much like blowing on a dandelion, gone white with seed, and beckoned to spread with the winds.

    Marisa and hubby have only an effect on the NOW, for social issues, etc. But you can affect the future by the choices of “what do we instill in Moira?”, to allow her to have an effect on her “NOW TIME”….down the road?

    Faith.
    Hope.
    Love.
    And the greatest of these is love.

    With love, there is no need to fear climate, supermarket supply chain, nuclear war above my school desk, and all the rest.
    Just love somebody. No strings attached.
    No performance required to obtain it. Given freely.

    Some call it grace instead of love.
    Few have the Faith, and Hope, that Love and Grace will prevail.
    They are wrong. Love never fails.

    (Ps. Mine are daughters too Marisa. The best is yet to be!)

    • girlwhocriedepiphany January 17, 2010 / 11:02 am

      Dear Danny, As always, it is a blessing to have your thoughtful presence in this circle. It’s probably not a coincidence that Mom and I talked about the nuclear threats that had clouded her childhood. I am still distilling those thoughts and trying to decide if they need a post of their own. I think there are important parallels and ironies and inconsistencies between the world of today and that of fifty years ago when it comes to living with fear. I very much respect your message of faith, hope, and love. Those intimate actions of love within a family are beyond vital, but there must also be a way to fold in a broader view of the world that helps us be the change we so need and want to manifest.

      Dear Claire, Yes – political activism, that’s what we need. We need to find a way to be active without reacting and speaking from anger and further deepening the lines in the sand. We’re from Massachusetts (my mom still living there), so in the lead up to this vital senate race that will determine the fate of the health care bill, we are full of hope and disillusionment. Political parties are said to be necessary evils, but I am not sure they are as necessary as we have been told. Elections when you feel nothing for the candidate you know you have to vote for (because they line up with just enough of your vital issues) just sap your belief that you can effect any change in the greater world. And yet, I believe there is ever hope to be had as long as we keep up our faith in love, divine and earthly.

      Dear Lisa, Thanks, as ever. I am incredibly blessed to have this relationship with my mother. I know how rare it is and look forward to the same relationship with my daughter.

      • Danny Lucas January 17, 2010 / 12:54 pm

        I did not feel well enough to wander to church this day.
        Surgery early in the last week has held it’s grip on me, and I ventured out but once since.

        My brother needed to go to the funeral home Friday, and make arrangements for his wife. I saw her in the hospital in the beginning of December, and we made the halls be filled with laughter. But cancer is impatient to be victor, and she went to her home before Christmas.
        Their wedding anniversary is tomorrow, Monday……but I am not sure she will be there to mark it, so I went with my brother on Friday to the funeral home. He does not know that stuff and I have been to 19 funerals since mom died in May 2008.
        My sister-in-law is too young; my brother too fragile.
        But by the end of this week it will be over.

        So I read about Noah in my Bible in lieu of Church time.
        In that time, we were not discussing FEAR, but disobedience.
        He built an Ark; they laughed.
        He loaded it with animals, food, and food for the animals (a point in Genesis few read, and many miss).

        And the rains came.
        And those outside could see their folly at lack of obedience or preparation. How do you handle the screams of an entire world outside your Ark, as all perish in a flood?
        It puts Haiti in perspective.

        Noah later took to alcohol and passed out drunk. One son saw him naked and acted with disrepect.
        Two other sons grabbed a blanket and walked backwards into dad’s room to cover him up…..an act he failed to do in his stupor. I suspect a lot of the drinking was to alleviate the screams of those perishing outside the Ark.
        It is akin to those in lifeboats watching the Titanic lift out of the water and finally plunge downward forever…silencing all the noises bouncing on water.

        From the beginning, whether fig leaves or Ark, moats around castles, Great Walls in China, Forts from Indians, nuclear shelters, to taking off my shoes at the airport and getting photoed naked due to terrorism (naked—-we are back to Noah, eh?), there is more than enough material to make a new post on truth about life….and the fragile nature of all of life too.

        Today’s New York Times has an argument on Haiti.
        Bill Clinton and George Bush are adamant that folks send money. Our military is trying to establish airport entry, law and order. These are needed.
        (The Chinese with all the money are relatively absent). ?????

        But the quote in the NYT on our government aid?

        “Their priorities are to secure the country, ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync.”
        JARRY EMMANUEL, the air logistics officer for the World Food Program, after his group’s planes were diverted so the United States could land planes with troops and equipment.

        This seems a succinct description of parenthood and priorities. Perhaps if the people had food and drink, there would be less breakdown in law and order.
        I hear echoes of Katrina days,…. and I am deaf.

        And like the bells of the Salvation Army and the kettles with coins as we enter Malls of America to overspend lavishly on $200 shoes made by folks making $200 a year, the needs to be met, are well done at Christmas, and promptly dropped by January as we resolve a New Year, by forgetting folks need more water; more food. It is not a one shot deal and the problem then over.

        Your world has changed. The magic of Christmas will grow annually at your house. But another woman emails me with her mom dying this month, and she has 2 little girls to raise. Christmas magic was created for her by mom, but she has little enthusiasm as mom dies, to duplicate the imagery for her daughters….but she must.

        Every year of daycare and school for Moira will expose flaws that you will be easily able to ascertain a cure for. But getting it implemented will take longer than Moira is in that grade. New problems will occur in the next grade and you will battle those (rightly, as that is where Moira is then). And so the problems of last year remain as firmly in place for the next wave of children. Those problems are met with the same silence as folks outside the Ark, outside the Forts, outside the shelters, outside the month of Christmas generosity to one another.

        Life is not canoeing across a placid pond; life is canoeing down the mighty rapids, getting perilously dunked, smashed on a rock or three, and bobbing up for more.

        Teach Moira as your mom taught you…..
        to think critically (not blindly accept what you see or hear), to adapt to change rapidly, to love the person next to her on any given day, for love spreads like a pebble tossed in water…..outward in ALL directions in concentric rings.

        It is already time to pray for the parents of the young man Moira will one day meet and choose. Pray they raise him in such a way that he is able to forge a lasting and meaningful life with Moira, as you and your husband do for her. My prayers, for the spouses of my children, began before they were in a crib.
        The answers to those prayers of long ago, are being exhaled from God now.

        The flavor of your blog is changing.
        It has alweys been an extraordinary delight of depth in writing and observations.
        But now, it is forming up as a scrapbook of wisdom to a new generation, who will read what is written (and maybe even the comments) and be better in their world for having done so.

        You have watched the shuttle blast off in Florida.
        I was living there when one went up in darkness. But I lived on the Gulf side. The shuttle went off 200 miles away, and my family and I sat outside on chairs by a golf course and watched. The entire horizon lit from left to right in a millisecond, then the entire sky was bright….from 200 miles away. The liftoff was spectacular and the mighty flames below the fragile few people on this new Ark, touched the horizon and heaven at once.

        But as the shuttled veered toward new height and headed East over the Atlantic, I saw less and less light in a darkened night sky, until the mighty rocket was a twinkling star.
        The entire time was not 5 minutes…from massive lit sky to twinkled star.

        You and your husband are the booster rockets.
        Lift Moira into the heavens as a shing star.
        No, lift her higher into the heavens….as a friend of God forever.

        Your entire family is often in my prayers.
        You feed their bodies, as the Salvation Army does for a time; as the booster rockets do for the shuttle.
        I will feed their souls….with prayers of life and meaning.

        It is not all altrustic; it is a tad selfish. For in praying meaning into Moira and all of you (and your commentors), I find meaning in my own life too.

        God be with Ye!
        This has been contracted over time into a short farewell, said now as “Goodbye”.
        I find the original better.
        Danny

  2. claire January 11, 2010 / 8:24 pm

    I can relate to your conversation with your mother, Marisa. I have this sort of conversation, often on Saturday morning, when we spend the weekend at our children’s and grandchildren’s home.

    I think it is normal to think about global warming, our wasteful lifestyle, health care, fear-mongering media and politicians.

    Faith, Hope, and Love are certainly an answer.

    I would say political activism is as well. Working at being the change I want to see. Electing those who seem to share my concerns.

    What I like in your post is this moment you have with your mother, which really promises similar moments with Moira as she grows up.

    We were talking about WWI and WWII, Pearl Harbor and the Nazis this evening at the dinner table with our 8 year-old grandson. A privileged moment.

    God+de is there as well with us as we share the deepest of ourselves with those we love.

    Thank you for inviting us to be with you both as you do so.

    Blessings.

    • girlwhocriedepiphany January 17, 2010 / 11:03 am

      Dear Claire, Yes – political activism, that’s what we need. We need to find a way to be active without reacting and speaking from anger and further deepening the lines in the sand. We’re from Massachusetts (my mom still living there), so in the lead up to this vital senate race that will determine the fate of the health care bill, we are full of hope and disillusionment. Political parties are said to be necessary evils, but I am not sure they are as necessary as we have been told. Elections when you feel nothing for the candidate you know you have to vote for (because they line up with just enough of your vital issues) just sap your belief that you can effect any change in the greater world. And yet, I believe there is ever hope to be had as long as we keep up our faith in love, divine and earthly.

  3. Lisa January 15, 2010 / 7:05 am

    Your last sentence is poignantly powerful and true.

    Yet another great post, dear Marisa.

    I envy that you are able to have this kind of conversation with your mom.

    Thank you, as always, for blessing us with your words, wisdom, and perspective.

    • girlwhocriedepiphany January 17, 2010 / 11:04 am

      Dear Lisa, Thanks, as ever. I am incredibly blessed to have this relationship with my mother. I know how rare it is and look forward to the same relationship with my daughter.

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