Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Near Requiem For Innocence
Evil burns in this world, fact. I am afraid of evil, fact. I shelter my sons from evil.
Hate abounds in this world, true. Hate makes me question faith, very true. I shelter my sons from hate.
There is a relentless spotlight on terror in this world. Terror makes me pity us, you, me. I shield my sons from terror's spotlight.
Love abides in us, all of us. I have seen and known great love. I shower my sons with love.
What more of today's tragedy can we make? Volumes? Of course. Silence? Yes, to listen to our pain. Remembrance? Yes, every tear and shattered hope. Love? Yes, it is our collective default state of being. I believe that.
So today, I will think of love. And with that on my heart I will consider the day that I have to really sit down with a child, and, of my own volition and with intent, I will break his heart.
I will have to explain why, as a joke we sometimes say, "oh, the huge manatee." And why sometimes I shudder when he says it.
I will have to explain Holocaust, and A-bomb and H-bomb (I suppose the F-bomb as well). I will be forced to explain Manifest Destiny, a Civil War of battles brother against brother.
Slavery. I will have to explain that, God help me...
I will have to look a bright-eyed boy in those crystal pure hazel or blue eyes and tell him that presidents and great men are murdered, because of their very greatness; that American Pie is about the assassination of a beautiful soul; that "I have a dream" is not just a catchphrase for a cheap joke on a cheaper cartoon network, but the defining words of a hallowed martyr.
I will have to help him understand The Wars, and war itself; bloody, real, putrid, violent, evil, carnage-strewn war. My Lord, two, two, of them. And, the hundreds of others...
I will explain the gassing of children, the hatred between cultures, the lingering stench of racism, sexism and homophobia. And it will horrify me.
I will have to explain to a schoolboy, to innocence itself, that evil can stroll in with a gun and shatter limbs and skulls and futures and dreams in a place just like his own sacred place. How, I weep, how?
I will someday, perhaps today, when one asks me at dinner, "Dad, what does nine-eleven mean?" have to explain the death and tragedy and courage and heroism of planes flying into skyscrapers, government buildings and lonely green fields.
I will have to explain terror. And... that terrifies me.
So, should I put it off? Should I wait? Should I try to hold back the sad collective hurt, the sob of deep understanding that comes knowing evil is real, necessary even?
I have to tell them. I must.
But I'm not going to today. Not this September Eleventh, not today.
Today, under the seat of my truck, tucked up in a little rip, I found this:
On the back of this:
It's Marci and me. Oh, and it's you and your loved ones.
It's all of us, and a four-year-old loved us then.
I want him to love us a little longer, okay?
Thanks for stopping by.