As some of you may have noticed, I have been absent from the blog lately. I confess I have not had the energy or the life spirit to write. I wasn’t able to put my finger on the problem until a few nights ago, when I realized that I have been suffering from the only downside of becoming a grandmother to Aven: an inability to stop thinking about the future and about the terrible world we are passing on to those coming after us.
I can see now that I must have adjusted somewhere along the way, without even knowing it, to the fact that my children will, at some point, be living without me in a world full of problems–or I’ve just been so busy being a parent that I didn’t have that much time to ponder! Or I have taken comfort from the fact that I have at least had the privilege to watch our four grow into adults, and so I know they are strong and loving people and that they will, in any case, have the good sense to hold onto the ones they love for strength during bad times.
But Aven is so little, so fresh, so vulnerable. I look at her, and I remember what my Uncle Jack once said about another new baby in the family: “Even her little insides are all bright and shining.” I look at her, and I get angry. I can’t help but wonder why in the world things are so damn difficult for people? Why in the world can’t we stop all this mess and create together a world that is better and safer for children?
I can’t stand to listen to the news. I try, every now and then, thinking I can handle it, but then I hear another story about young girls being stolen off into the woods of Nigeria or about some German guy deciding to fly a plane into the ground, killing a whole class full of students coming home from an exchange program abroad, and I have to switch off the dial.
I do not know how to come to terms with things like ISIS or climate change when I consider even the possibility that such things could, at any point, become real for Aven. It was easier before because I could think, “well, at least my friends and my sisters and even my children will all die before the polar caps melt” or “well, we’ve all survived so far with terrorists in the world, so maybe we can hold out a little longer.”
But now, Aven is here, and so the time span for my worry has lengthened. There is this precious little creature in the world with her mama’s eyes who, at the very least, will have to hear about all the future, unimaginably terrible things that will happen–that’s if she’s lucky and doesn’t have to experience them firsthand!
I haven’t had much luck turning to religion for comfort, so I turn to poetry. I keep thinking about Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming.” He was writing about a totally different time in history, but he could so easily be writing about today. I won’t say this poem is uplifting, but it is strangely comforting to me because he wrote it so long ago, and yet he expresses the way I feel lately about the world we live in, especially about all the evil currently being carried out in the name of religion! Forgive me if I quote the whole thing, but, when I read this poem, I think to myself two things: 1) maybe things aren’t as bad as I thought, since Yeats thought the world was going to hell in a hand basket, and yet we’ve muddled along for almost 100 years since then! and 2) “I bet Yeats was worrying about his grandchildren when he wrote it!”