Pain in my heart of hearts

Most days I understand that any problem with which I struggle can be characterized as petty.  In my heart of hearts, I recognize that my bank account rises and falls at my own discretion, my pain substantially abates if I rest, and the awkwardness of my body does not inhibit a fulfilling life.  Occasionally temptation lures me to self-pity.  But I know the truth.

The powerful images of this historic time struck my senses and wrenched sobs from my defenseless psyche.  In the midst of my workaday hours, a CNN alert drew me to open a browser.  A stunning photograph of professors standing with linked arms, holding the line between two groups of protesters, greeted my disbelieving mind.  What is this, I asked myself.  Who are theyI read the caption, my immediate obligations forgotten.

I scrolled other sites, studying terrible pictures of wounded children wailing in fright on the streets of Gaza.  I am neither Palestinian nor Jewish.  I am in fact half-Irish, a quarter Austrian, and a quarter Syrian.  But I am a mother; I have taught; I have studied.  I have walked a protest line.  I have gone to jail for taking a stand in defense of civil rights and against inequity.  However  for most of my life, I have been a thoughtless middle-class American with a reasonably comfortable existence  Today I keenly understood the principle that silence equates to complicity.

I want to stand in that brave line of faculty.  I long to fly across the world and gather those children to my breast.  Instead I can only raise my monthly donation to World Central Kitchen in the hopes that my dollars will suffice to fill a tiny, empty belly.   I shed hot tears, lamenting my feeble stand against the senseless tragedy devastating that small sliver of someone’s precious homeland.  

When I came home tonight, my fingers had swelled from the constant typing during eight hours of work.  I shrugged and thought about my favorite Isaac Bashevis Singer anecdote, the last line of which defines catastrophe as an incident in which little children die.  If I accomplish nothing else in my time on this earth, I pray that some act of mine will forestall catastrophe, here at home or in a distant corner of this troubled world.  I stand with those who protest yet another senseless onslaught of the innocent.   In the old way of my oft-lamented catholic childhood, I pledge to silently endure my suffering that theirs might somehow thereby lessen.

It’s the second day of the one-hundred and twenty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

–Lorraine (née Art) Schneider

My friends:  I do not usually talk about current events in this blog.  I have a social-political blog though it currently has been rendered inactive for technical reasons.  Because I lack that forum, and because my observations dovetail with my journey to joy, I chose to use this platform for these comments.  Take them as you will.

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