Here’s something you may not know about me. I love a really good storm. The kind that wakes you up out of a deep sleep and practically rolls you right off the bed. I was laying in bed the other night, listening to an especially scary one, my eyes tightly shut, yet unable to block out the phosphorescent lightning strikes. The short-lived suspense of the massive BOOM! is the best part of course.
We learn when we are young that a storm is nearing you if the time between the lightning strikes and the huge noise becomes closer together and that it is receding when they get further apart. It gave my heart a little thrill, to know that all this was happening just outside my window. There was I, tucked in my bed, safe as houses, being secretly titillated. Just scary enough to keep me wondering when the next one would be, but not enough to send me running out to the living room as I would have as a child. Safe as houses.
There’s an expression you don’t hear all that often and one that, as just now, I have long used incorrectly. I’ll come back to that, if it’s okay.
I am sure that like me, you have been following the series of horrendous events that have been occurring in faraway places, yet simultaneously right in our living rooms. I keep thinking about about all the frightened families, the young children and babies who cannot possibly comprehend what is happening in their little worlds. I wonder what goes through their innocent minds. Was there any warning at all or were they maybe just sitting down to an evening meal and trying to recall if the weather had forecast a storm?
A few days ago, I read that it was estimated that a child was dying on average about once each hour since the onset. I’m sure that statistic has changed by now, but to tell you the truth, for better or worse, it’s not one that I care to track. Each of those deaths is one too many.
Before you think I’m going to turn political on you, let me assure that any real knowledge I may possess of world events is an embarassment and something I plan to work on. So, at least for now, I have no idea who is to “blame” and I don’t feel it’s my place to pass judgment. What does continue to assault my heart and my brain is that while I was enjoying my thunder storm the other night, at that very same time, others were listening to a similar din of their world falling apart. Alike, yet it couldn’t be more different. Theirs, not an expression of Mother Nature’s amazing powers, but an
unfolding expression of hatred so strong, that it can rain down blows on neighbourhoods and reduce everything to rubble in mere moments. It’s an intolerance so vicious that it can pluck an airplane out of the sky and attempt to obliterate 279 souls. Were the children in bed when it was happening? Were they watching a movie on that plane? Were they running to find the comfort of a parent; safe as houses in the harbour of loving arms? I pray that I am right, and that as time will prove, those souls and the hundreds and thousands of other dead or maimed have not been erased from our hearts.
The images that have come unwanted, unwelcome into my home haunt me. Yes, I could turn the TV off, and ignorance being bliss, I can just go along my merry way. However, channel surfing can’t change the fact, that our world neighbours have the right to be seen and heard. Don’t erase the pictures of people devastated by loss too profound for most of us to even imagine. Express your opinions, impose your sanctions; that’s the beauty of living in a free world, but let’s find a way to work together to stop killing our future. The best I can do is blog about it in the comfort of my room on my freshly purchased laptop. Who is going to go out and get these children new parents? Who is going to fill the arms that ache to hold that loved one, just one more time? Who decided that I get to sit down to dinner with my children this weekend while those families attend funerals?
I’ve been struggling with my own inner demons, trying to make sense of my own uncertain situation. Am I going to die? Well, certainly we all are. The real question in my mind though, is if God were to grant me my wish and give me more time, what would I do with it? Would I make a meaningful contribution or would I continue to observe my own personal status quo? I’d like to think that given a chance, I would try to do more. I won’t kid you – I am the last person you would ever find at a refugee camp, handing out supplies and caring for sick people. I wish I could be that person, but I know that I don’t have the kind of resilience it takes to adequately deal with others’ pain and suffering. So for this day, I blog about it. More blah, blah, but it’s all I’ve got in me right now.
Years ago, I read a book by Marina Nemat called Prisoner of Tehran. One of the most compelling parts of her story, to me anyway, was how her world completely changed over the space of a normal teenage weekend. She went away to the country with her parents for what should have been a pretty homespun getaway and came home to find armed tanks lining her street. I have gone to listen to her speak about this, and of this, she is very certain. If it can happen in her cultured, progressive Iran, well, then it can happen anywhere. Is our guard down? Canadians, we’re so polite. Will we come home
one day from a trip to the supermarket and find someone in our home telling us we must leave, we don’t belong here anymore? Listen carefully, I think there may be a storm approaching.
Anyway, “Safe as Houses“. What does it really mean? The link will explain, but in a nutshell, it doesn’t mean that your home is your castle, it doesn’t mean that you are any safer there from harm than anywhere else, though one would like to think so. It just means that the word safe is being used to mean sure or likely, but not secure. I’ve read this expression many times, without really taking the time to find out what it really means. I will try not to use it incorrectly again.