Wording it

I realize I’ve spent most of the month in mute. I apologize. I do not blog well (as mentioned) and I’m astonished by the speed with which this year is going by. Is it really nearly May?

I always have grand ideas for what I might say in a blog but, ultimately, I fall a bit short, either by not having enough to say about it, or too much, or prematurely blow my wad (name that reference!) talking to Laila or the husband about it.

And then last week happened. I’d like to say things that have meaning, depth, but, as it is, I’ve never found myself to be particularly deep. I didn’t want to contribute to any of the poetic masturbation that goes down when tragedy occurs.

I will say this: a chunk of my family lives in Boston – outside Boston, really, in Waltham, one of the communities in lock-down on Friday. My husband’s brother, his wife and children, six year old twins. There was a tank parked outside their house. They couldn’t take their dog out for a walk.

I spent all day staring at the news. I had woken to my sister-in-law’s text message on my phone: “we’re inside and safe.” The day went on the way everyone knows about, and my niece, apparently pissed they stayed home all day and did nothing fun, wrote and illustrated a book. When the fugitive was found, my sister-in-law texted me again: “I’m so happy they found him alive.”

How do you word something like that? Because I am too. We exchanged text messages for the next half hour, about how she couldn’t have withstood the cheering out in the streets if he’d been found dead, or they’d killed him in the effort. She is a gentle person, kind and compassionate, a scientist who is fully capable of telling kids stories in ridiculous voices.

We’re a wacky liberal family, every last one of us. My husband was raised by devout Christians who believe that everyone deserves love and compassion and help in this life. I was raised by atheists, agnostics, who believe the same. All of us voted Obama, loudly, with pride. My mother-in-law had her Obama sign stolen off her front lawn in their conservative town, and reposted one in the same place, a long message about kindness and hope.

My sister-in-law, trapped in her house for a day, a week spent in horror, texted me: “I don’t think I could have stomached people’s joy if he had been killed.”

I don’t think we’re softies. I am horrified at what happened at the Boston Marathon. I waited that day, too, for word that my family, and friends living there, were safe. But there is no joy in retribution, I think, nothing poetic in an eye for an eye.

I have no real idea what I’m saying, just that it needed to get out. I’m still here, then, contemplating, and writing. I suppose, then, there’s poetry in that.


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4 responses to “Wording it”

  1. melissashawsmith says :

    Well, said! Life is too short and precious to rejoice over anyone’s pain.

  2. Kathmandu says :

    Nicely written. Compassion is something that one should try to feel – just my thought.

  3. Cool Deb says :

    well said and perfect sentiment. Excellent post.

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