Geranium Farm Home         Who's Who on the Farm         The Almost Daily eMo         Subscriptions         Coming Events
Hodgepodge         More or Less Church         Ways of the World         A Few Good Writers
Gifts For Life         Pennies From Heaven         Light a Prayer Candle         Links

WHY IS ALL THIS HAPPENING?
July 29, 2011
 
Awake too early even for me, I rummaged through my bedside drawer in the dark for my earphones. Across the pond, the morning rush hour was already underway -- doubtless the BBC would have something engaging going on as the Brits began their day, and I could pass a pleasant half hour with them in hopes of dozing off again.

But no -- the news was all bad. Both Nikkei and FTSE had contracted as we slept. The madman who gunned down a summer camp full of idealistic Norwegian teenagers is bizarrely calm and reasonable in his explanation of this terrible deed, and the French politico interviewed about it seemed to stop short of condemning the massacre. The polygamist on trial in Texas for the statutory rape of several of his tween "wives" chose to represent himself, then sat in silence in the courtroom for the rest of the day? Starvation in Somalia has reached epic proportions, even for that beleaguered country. The mother of another murdered child appears to have had her phone hacked by another reporter, and an AWOL soldier seems to have come this close to committing another mass murder at Fort Hood. The rest of the world watches in disbelief as American politicians double-dog-dare each other to drive the fiscal credibility of the United States off a cliff. An indeterminate portion of the electorate views this indifference to the effect of our actions on the world economy as patriotic and brave.

I did eventually fall back to sleep, but it was in self defense. And when I awoke for good, the newspaper did not accompany my cup of tea. You don't want to know, Q said apologetically. Out in the garden, an enormous poke plant sprang up overnight in the midst of a prize butterfly bush, its central stem too thick and tough to eat but its offspring coming up all around it thin, tender and just the right color -- this on the same day that I read that the entire plant is poisonous and should never be eaten. How can this be, I asked myself, thinking of all the people I knew as a child who ate it. Of course, they are all dead. But they didn't die from eating poke salad. I don't think they did, anyway. Not all of them, anyway.

Oh, why is everything is so other than as it ought to be? Why do expensive cell phones leap from our hands into puddles of water and emerge, simple and mute as rocks? Why do people go to the shopping mall dressed as if they were about to turn in for the night? Why are there migraines and children estranged from parents, why friends with cancer, why is addiction so hard for people to fight?

Why? Though there are proximate causes for things, there are no cosmic reasons that I know of, beyond the fact that this is not the Garden of Eden and so life is hard. Grand-scheme-of-things reasons for our small annoyances feel ludicrous the moment we suggest them, and offensive when applied to our greater heartaches. Whatever the "why" for the loss that maimed me, one thing is true: it is not sufficient.

Perhaps it is time to abandon "why." It leads only into an improbably decisive past, a past about which we can do nothing. Or it leads straight to a God cruelly punitive, more Idi Amin or Pol Pot than Prince of Peace, a God who can't seem to think of a way to instruct us more creative than by torturing us. This is not a God I know, nor is it one I want to know.

Perhaps it's time, instead, to turn our attention to more earthbound questions: Who and What? How? Where? When? What can happen now? Who stands ready to lead me to it, to show me a new way, now that my old way has died? Where are the things that will help me rebuild? When can I begin? How will something new come to be in my life? All stories, from folk tales to Bible tales (and so many Bible tales are both) are stories of new things coming to be. A story of things happening as expected is no story -- something in it must be odd enough to catch our attention, or we do not notice. It begins to catch us when we begin to ask what on earth is going on here. And what can we do?


WHAT'LL I DO?


Gone is the romance that was so divine.
'tis broken and cannot be mended.
You must go your way,
And I must go mine.
But now that our love dreams have ended...

What'll I do
When you are far away
And I am blue
What'll I do?

What'll I do?
When I am wond'ring who
Is kissing you
What'll I do?

What'll I do with just a photograph
To tell my troubles to?

When I'm alone
With only dreams of you
That won't come true
What'll I do?

What'll I do with just a photograph
To tell my troubles to?

When I'm alone
With only dreams of you
That won't come true
What'll I do?

-- Irving Berlin, 1923
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
  2016     2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008     2007     2006     2005     2004     2003  
  2016     2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008     2007     2006     2005     2004     2003  


Copyright © 2003-2018 Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.

2003-2004 Golden Web Awards Winner     2003-2004 Level 2 Diamond Web Award Winner     WorldWebWebAwards.net Humanitarian Award Winner     2004 WebAward Winner for Standard of Excellence