Why It’s My Fault There is War

This Saturday morning I was up at 4:30 am thinking about WAR.

It’s because of something I saw on the news the night before.

Now, those who know me, know that I don’t watch the news. Or read the news. Or listen to the news.  I decided several years ago that it was affecting my happiness too much with all the devastating events that were happening in the world and I pretty much just stopped trying to understand or care what’s going on globally, nationally, even locally.

It’s a perfectly logical and healthy reaction: if you can’t understand or change something that is hurting you, IGNORE it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

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And it’s worked quite well for me for the last ten or so years. Because despite the fact that I have a four year degree in Political Science, where I took a WHOLE BUNCH OF CLASSES on world happenings, past and present, I let all of that knowledge slide out of my brain like a slow but steady leak until there was zero, zilch, zippo left…because I chose to not continuously apply what I learned in the here and now. It’s like not practicing a second language or a musical instrument. Use it or lose it. I opted to lose it. And I have been mostly okay with that.  

I wanted to be a writer not a politician.

But last night my husband made me watch ‘THE NEWS’. He said it was about time I paid attention to some shit that was a little deeper and more important than watching a Facebook post of a cat eating a piece of corn on the cob for a longer period of time than would deem interesting for anyone with any kind of an IQ greater than that of a squirrel. Which is what I was doing when he switched the television to ‘THE NEWS’.

My head jerked up away from my phone. “NOOOOOOO!” I said. “Turn it to something else! It burns my ears and eyes!”

Murder, Murder, Rape, Wall Street Corruption, Murder, Child Molestation, Bank Robbery, Rape, Embezzlement, Murder, Unemployment, Murder, Murder, Murder, Poverty, Airplane Crashes, Murder, Murder Murder, Suicides, Bombings, Suicide Bombings,  WAR WAR WAR. Trump, Hillary,  BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

Despite him trying to force me to watch, I literally was able to just block it all out like the stubborn brat that I am and make all the reporters voices sound like the adults from Charlie Brown cartoons. “WA, WA, WA WA WA WA , WAWA.”

But then something actually sparked my attention, completely against my will. There was this beautiful young woman, a local here in Spokane, Washington, named Tiffany Smiley,  who spoke about the idea of spending fifteen minutes during this memorial day weekend thinking or doing something to honor our veterans, past and present.  Her husband had been blinded in combat and two of their friends killed. She just wanted them and others to be remembered and honored for serving their country. My eyes and heart opened for the first time in a long while, when it came to thinking about anything beyond my immediate H World and I thought to myself “I could do that. I could pause for a simple fifteen minutes and really think about what Memorial Day is about.”

Here is the link to the newscast:

http://www.krem.com/news/local/spokane-county/spokane-couple-reinforces-meaning-of-memorial-day/218227927

I went to bed with this idea of ‘fifteen minutes’ in my heart and I woke up with it in my head. My morning journaling, which is normally filled with narcissistic vomit just flowed with thoughts about my country, its veterans, the subject of honor and how to honor, the different kinds of war, the reasons for war, all the people globally who have died as a result of war since the beginning of man’s existence. But then those thoughts started to HURT my heart, God they HURT. And I found myself wondering ‘has there ever been peace?’ and I COULD NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION and my brain pretty much just spiraled out of control and exploded with the realization that my own HEART is a PERPETUAL WAR ZONE and that I AM AS MUCH TO BLAME for war as anyone in this world with my ignorance and my self centered attitude and the fact that I can pretty much pick a fight with a gnat. And God knows lesser things than fights with gnats have started wars.

So, immediately after my journaling, and six cups of coffee and four hours of manic internet research on the history of the the world, all the while thinking “MY GOD how did I MISS all of this in college? Was I drunk the whole time??” I announced to my husband: “I’m going to write a blog post about WAR and why it’s all my fault.”

I wish you could have seen the look on his face. He looked absolutely and completely appalled and I know it took everything in him to very calmly say (in a tone one would use to speak to a psychiatric patient who’s been off her meds for too long) “Well, you might want to be careful with that. It’s a very sensitive subject and considering it’s Memorial Day Weekend, you’re possibly going to piss some people off.”

What I heard him say was: “You are a fucking idiot who has not watched the news in over ten years so you don’t know shit about anything and have no right to write about war you moron wife of mine. I have deep, deep regrets that I distracted you from the corn on the cob cat. I’m not sure what I was thinking there.”

And thems is fighting words even if they aren’t what the real words were.  So I indignantly gathered up all of my college textbooks from the basement including my favorite one that I never read called “Europe Since Napoleon” and stacked those books up on my desk like a BOSS along with “The Essential Rumi” (for balance) and proceeded, while writing this post, to get in a fight with my husband. He just didn’t know it until I told him a couple hours later. Which is exactly what my point is. Sort of.

Think on this idea with me:

According to Conway W. Henderson, a writer about international law and relations, “one source claims that 14,500 wars have taken place between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, costing 3.5 billion lives, leaving only three hundred years of peace.”

Here is a website that lists chronologically the most renowned wars if you want to get upset, I mean educated, with me:

http://www.datesandevents.org/events-timelines/24-timeline-of-war.htm

This doesn’t include all the undocumented battles that occur everyday on a local, individual and molecular level. Like my little battle with my husband that he didn’t know about until I told him. But that’s documented now: 14,501.

And obviously those three hundred years of “peace” did not happen consecutively because there would be a book about it somewhere detailing 300 years of happy sighs and joyful singing and a whole bunch of ‘who begat who’ lists. And the reality is that while begetting is quite enjoyable (wink wink)  it would be a pretty boring read without any smoting in there somewhere, which is WHY (in my fruitlessly educated opinion) there have not been very long periods of peace. Someone is always smoting someone for begetting someone they shouldn’t have. It’s a vicious cycle of begetting and smoting.

Plus! Not only can we not agree on how to achieve world peace (I just read a summary of nine different peace theories that could possibly work for for the MAJORITY of us if everyone would just agree on one, which we can’t because a majority in peace means a minority is pissed and ready to rumble and that’s not World Peace), we can’t actually define what peace actually IS because it’s a subjective word and the reality is that sometimes one person’s peace comes at the expense of another’s. (Just ask one of my six children at any given moment.) So even when we might be in a brief period of not killing each other, we are still at least scowling at each other over the fence because of at least one of the three major causes of war: economics, power and religion. (The H World Cause of War Theory of begetting the wrong person and then getting smoted for it fits nicely in all three of these causes if you zero in the lens).

The reality is that war IS as much my fault as anyone’s. NO you dirty minded, wretched people, I haven’t been begotten by someone who should not have been begetting me (at least in recent times). BUT I AM a prickly bitch much of the time and my heart always seems to be fighting about something. I get mad and bitter when I am broke. I get angry and defensive when I think I have been made to feel small and powerless. And I have slammed the door on evangelists who don’t speak my spiritual language when I could have at least offered them a drink of water. We ALL need a drink of water every now and then.

So on this Memorial Day my hope is to ponder what it means to have peace in my own heart. Or at LEAST a temporary ceasefire when my family comes together for ribs and cornbread. This is the one thing I CAN do to honor the brave people who have made the ultimate sacrifice, for MY country YES, most absolutely and assuredly, but also those who died on “the other side” whose loved ones mourn equally. Death is brutal, painful and certain for all of us, even when there is NOT war. And while I can only try and fix my own heart in this broken world, you’ve all read the famous Albert Einstein quote:

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

the reality is we (and I) will probably always be at war in some way shape or form. It’s what we do. We, most of us, are lost and angry and scared people who lash out. And I speak for myself ONLY when I say that burying my head in the sand is not going to stop it. Nor is fighting with mostly innocent gnats and husbands.

But I can from this moment on keep my

eyes wide open,

heart as well

for with knowledge and love

there’s a story to tell

I just made that up. But it sounds rather poetic and hopeful.

#MemorialDay15

Thunder isn’t the Scary Part

There was a storm at about three thirty this morning. I was awake before it started. Three o’clock is my wake up and think things to death time. Here’s a little glimpse of what was going on in my head before the storm started. I have left out a few things because I don’t want you all to think I am weird:

Am I ever going to get the kids to pick up after themselves? I’m always so mad at them for that! Its so hard to not let it get in the way of all the good stuff: their sloppiness. Why are they so inconsiderate when it comes to the house? They are such great kids otherwise. I’m tired of feeling like Hitler all the time…

…if the world had been a little bit nicer to the Germans after World War I would Hitler have made as much “sense” to so many of the angry Germans? I would imagine it’s easier to start an uprising filled with complete insanity when people are hungry and hostile. Did the Germans get a bad rap? If Hitler never existed would things on the Pacific front have changed any? I can’t remember if there were two different issues going on or if they were tied together. I should do some reading tomorrow. It’s Memorial Day after all. Maybe there will be something on tv that will give me a quick synopsis…

…Wow! I used to be so much smarter. I have a political science degree! Why can’t I remember if the Japanese and the Germans were buddies in World War II or if they both just happened to be pissed off at the same time. What has happened to me? I hope I’m not losing my mind. It IS hereditary…

…Mom’s grandma was German. I always think of German women as being cranky and big busted. Is this because of how I feel about Hitler?  Maybe war stems from cranky women in general, big boobs or not…

…I don’t think I got my big boobs from my mom’s side of the family though. We called her Tiny Grandma after all. But she did have a very wide and serious mouth. I don’t know if she was cranky: she died when I was little, but she looks cranky in this picture.

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I think it was my dad’s side that had the stacked women….

Crap. I really need to get in for my mammogram. I’m like two years past due. Maybe three…no wait…it’s only two…but still…

…Those machines are just awful. I bet a cranky German woman invented it…

…I wonder how they ever got my mom’s boobs to actually squeeze in between the vice grip plates? You would think there would be an easier way for flat breasted women. It’s bad enough when you actually have something to pick up and flop down on that cold plate…

…will my life be better now that I have purchased two new bras that do indeed (as claimed) not allow armpit flab to hang out? My girls felt so happy and didn’t once fall out yesterday no matter how hard I tried to get them to in the dressing room. Will taking away the double boob action truly be as important to my self esteem as Oprah said it would be? Flat breasted women are so lucky. But I am too now that I have good bras…

…Maria is really the luckiest: she’s right in between me and my mom in cup size. Gosh she’s so perfect! I wish she would figure this out. I wonder if she will let me in the delivery room when she has babies? I didn’t want my mom in there. I feel kind of bad for that now. But I don’t think she wanted to be in there anyway. She said she’d rather be burned to death than have another baby. I mean who wants someone with that attitude in the delivery room with you? It’s hard enough giving birth without negative thinkers in the room…I probably need to let go of that guilt…

…If there is a fire will all of us be able to get out of the house safe? Should I grab the turtle?  Gosh we have spent so much money on that damn thing…

…I really need to get Duke’s ears looked at. I wonder why he always has ear infections? He never swims. Who has ever heard of a lab that doesn’t like the water?

And it goes on and on like this, almost every morning at three a.m. It’s been this way since I was a little kid. My brain, filled with IMPORTANT thoughts such as I have described, wakes my body up so that there is someone to listen. Unless I have taken Nyquil. Then my brain just worries about getting addicted to Nyquil and ruining my liver while my body happily sleeps.

So silly.

But this morning, when the wind started blowing the thunder and lightening toward our neighborhood, all of my trivial worries were cast aside. At first there were just bright flashes that lit up the darkness.

It’s funny how so often you hear storms called thunderstorms or as I said at the beginning “a thunder and lightening storm”. I never hear anyone say “lightning and thunder storm” do you?  We all know that the scary part is the lightening right? Yet it’s the thunder that makes us scamper to our parents room in fear. By the time the sound of the lightning arrives to our startled ears and pounding hearts we’re safe from getting struck down. Until the next flash.

When I was a little girl, my dad told me that if you put your hand on the Holy Bible and told a lie, God would strike you dead with lightning. This was the only thing I remember my dad telling me about God. I have had many many nightmares, waking up in the dead of night just before the lightning hits me. I hesitate to this day when faced with telling a fib versus telling the truth, even when there isn’t a bible anywhere near. Truth doesn’t ALWAYS win though.

Mom was an ex-catholic, Buddhist, agnostic, new age, searching soul who scared the shit out of me once (I was a teenager) when she stood outside in the wind and rain, a glass of wine in one hand and the other one hanging on to our rod iron fence in a triple dog dare pose, her face looking up into the sky with ferocity equal to the raging storm. “Bring it on buddy! Prove yourself!”

So naturally I find myself lacking any logic whenever there is a storm. I laid there this morning, paralyzed and waiting. I could feel a buzz in my fillings (this for sure dates me) and started thinking about the movie Poltergeist where the dad explains to the kids how to tell how far away the storm is by counting right after the lightning flash “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand” BOOM! the storm was three miles away.

How do we KNOW our house isn’t sitting on top of the angry bones of an ancient witch doctor who is conjuring the storm to take our house off of him? It could be true.

But no. I can’t ever seem to shake the idea that it’s God making all that racket. And of course it’s because He is mad at ME. At three thirty in the morning the earth DOES revolve around me and sometimes I am the cause of all the anger. I hear a whisper in my head telling me to put a pillow over my eyes so that I won’t see the lightning. I argue “but then I won’t be prepared when I am struck”. But then I do it. There are just some things you can’t prepare for.

My nose and mouth are not covered by the pillow and I inhale the yummy smelling rain through the open window about two feet from my face. I like it open all the time. It feels like I can’t breathe when it’s shut.  I freeze my poor husband out in the winter. He claims to have woken up one winter morning with icicles hanging from his nose. He’s such an exaggerator! Fresh air is good for you. But this morning I wonder if the lightning will come through the screen. Perhaps I should shut it but then think “will glass make any difference if it’s my time to go?”

God and I chat a bit in between His thunderous yelling:

“You know H. It’s not me making all that noise. I am not the bad guy here.”

“Yeah, well I know you could STOP it if you wanted to. Just like you could stop a lot of other upsetting things. It’s hard not to blame you.”

“Well at least you’re thinking about me. Bummer it takes all of THIS to get you to pay attention.”

“Ah-ha! See? I’m no fool, it IS you. You know how I feel about lightning.”

“What is it you’ve done that you think is so bad that I’m going to strike you dead? Do you really think I work that way? Dork.”

I start naming all my recent stuff to Him. “See?”

“Jeez. You suck! Sinner!”

“That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say?” My fillings tingle for a second followed by the loudest boom of the morning. I jump and stifle a scream. “Seriously? STOP!!!”

God gives me His best monster cackle. You know, like Count Dracula? Only it comes out like the Sesame Street puppet guy, ‘The Count’. “Okay, I admit that was a little show offy. But really, you should probably relax on yourself a little. I’m not saying you should keep doing that stuff. Especially that one thing. I mean yikes, it’s clearly not good for you or you wouldn’t be thinking it’s worthy of me striking you dead. Am I right?”

I nod my head under my pillow. I’m starting to get sleepy as the storm moves away.

He whispers one last thing to me as I drift off:

“Soul aching: it’s cause is so relative and unique to each of you, yes? Thank God I’m God or I’d never be able to keep track of you all and help. You can take the pillow off your face now H. I’m done talking you through the lightning.”

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