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Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Thinkin'
I've been thinkin' a lot lately. This isn't new: I often stare abstractedly out the window, or soak in the tub watching bubbles pop and fade, or forget whether I've added salt to something I'm baking because I was thinking. Just thinking.

About sacraments or how I've missed gardening this year; about Luther's experiences with death and the tv show "The Closer"; about African tribal beats and if we're getting low on milk; about the free market and the recent article in the New Yorker on Keats and death and beauty.

Lately, I've been thinking about fracture, breaks, and falling. Ache, stiffness, and surgery. But I haven't broken any bones. My teeth, tibia, fibia, all of it - intact. Never a broken bone. Never a hospitalization. But pain a doctor can't treat. And it's not fibromyalgia.

Two years ago a phone call threw my world into a 9/11-esque blur of crumbling (ivory) towers and smoke and the smell of casualty. I thought someone had died when I heard the message from Mom on the phone.

But it was the death of my parents' marriage: over thirty years of union wheeled into the morgue with a fresh toe tag. Maybe that sounds melodramatic. But "grown children of divorce" is as sanitized as "post traumatic stress disorder" is, as George Carlin observed: language about veterans has changed from "shell shock" - a vivid, live, cutting image - to a clinical, removed phrase. Would we see war, or veteran's suffering, differently, if we kept the brutal language? Would we see divorce differently if we described it's outcome as cold and dead in a morgue instead of, well, "results of divorce"?

I've been thinking a lot about the rending sensation that tore apart a good kind of innocence that day. There goes tower one. There goes tower two. Is it unrealistic to expect that terrorists won't bomb moms and uncles and aunts? That peace and safety are the norm and not the exception? Is it unrealistic to expect that people will love each other and act on it even when it's hard? Which is the real world? The Trade Center standing, or the Trade Center falling? The marriage vows, or the discarded ring? These are important questions, because I am a young woman growing up in this world, and I need to know what to expect. I am recently married, and I love it. Is it childish to expect that people will be kind and giving and generous and helpful? Or is it childish to think that people will be cruel and selfish and vindictive?

Every July my September 11th comes. I don't think the world has to be that way; I should never get used to flames and shrapnel; I should never get used to fracture and decay.

But your presence - your presence - your presence - is needed at home. In the stairwells of collapsing buildings. Beside the kitchen stove. On ash-clouded streets. On the living room couch. Aboard the fire engine. I need you. We need you. We all need you. Never underestimate how important your presence is at home. At the World Trade Center.

I finally noticed some other survivors of their own 9/11's huddled under stairwells, coming out, waving me over. The healing touch of another human is, itself, life sometimes. This glimmer of hands stretching out over the rubble is evident here: http://childofdivorce-childofgod.blogspot.com/ . It shows up many other places, too.

I need you. We need you. We all need you. You are needed at home. You are needed at Ground Zero.
 
posted by Elizabeth Glass-Turner at 12:53 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


2 Comments:


  • At 7/08/2008 05:53:00 PM, Blogger Euodia

    Thank you Bitty for this thoughtful and articulate post. So eloquent and heart-rending at the same time.

     
  • At 7/26/2008 11:38:00 AM, Blogger Sensuous Wife

    Bless your heart, Bitty. Lemme give you a hug.

    Such elegant pain in your elegant prose. Oh my.

    Leslie Parrott wrote about going through her parents divorce in her book You Matter More Than You Think. From what she says, it's a bomb going off no matter how old you are.

    you honor us by sharing. Thank you.

     

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