in the arms of love
This post is going to suck.
It’s going to be sad and meandering and probably not super coherent.
I’m telling you right now so you can not read it, though I feel compelled to write–and post–it regardless.
49 people were murdered in an Orlando gay club over the weekend.
I wrote a poem inspired by that. I debated not mentioning guns, because the point wasn’t guns, although I think the conclusion would’ve been very different without them.
The point was love. If we loved each other well and unabashedly, if we respected each other as neighbors and friends and acquaintances and people who might someday save someone’s life or the world if given the chance, all the guns in the world would be useless. There is, even deeper than guns, a problem with how many restrictions we human beings place on our love.
Part of me wanted to punch someone in the face: “You’re stupid! Your stupid meanness led to this, stupidhead!” But most of me, most of me wanted to reach through time and space and provide a bubble of love and painlessness around each and every person who died, so that I could be assured they left the world in the arms of love.
This morning, my husband told me an alligator nabbed a two-year-old boy out of the shallow waters bordering on an Orlando theme park.
I read a couple of articles pointing out that there were “no swimming” signs posted where the boy had been wading. Like before, I wanted to face-punch anyone who’d point out this sign in the first place–repeatedly, while pointing out how “no swimming” and “don’t go near the water” are two very different messages.
But most of me, most of me wanted to reach through time and space and provide a bubble of love and painlessness around the little boy in his final moments, to sing him his favorite songs, to shield him with my love.
I wanted to teleport myself to Florida and envelope his parents in my arms and heart. I wanted to let them see on my face how deeply I feel for them, how little I need words or explanations or anything apart from the set of my face to show them how much I wish it could be different.
Remonstration accomplishes nothing worth accomplishing. Stringless love can, at least, be a miniscule light.
My younger son–two years old, the same age as the alligator’s victim–has serious food allergies.
I read daily about people grumbling about how they’re inconvenienced by not being able to send certain things in their kids’ lunches.
I read this and I want to punch them in the face. I want to punch them in the face so hard it takes time and energy to walk myself down from the ledge.
How do I help them see that while they’re worried about convenience, I’m worried I might not see my child alive again? How do I help them see these two concerns–food freedom and freedom to breathe–are not equally weighted, and help them have love enough for a stranger’s child that they care more for preserving a stranger child’s life than for the unequivocal freedom to put whatever they want in a lunchbox?
I’ve read over and over how rare is anaphylaxis death. In the United States, “only” a few dozen people die of it annually. Apparently that means it’s not worth worrying about. I mean, numerically “a few dozen” people isn’t that many, right?
How do I even respond to that, apart from to cry out gutturally, without words?
Then yesterday I read Tori Nelson’s post, “Orlando, Please Understand,” and I found words there I couldn’t string together myself:
Please understand that they will wonder why the news focuses so much on numbers, on tallies and death tolls because they’ve come to understand that ONE murder is enough to break the world.
One death is enough to break the world.
This is exactly why I’m pushing back against a school that refuses to administer epinephrine to its severely allergic students, despite the DOJ’s clear direction this is mandatory. While my own son is not enrolled at any of the owners’ schools, other kids’ allergic children are. They are attending schools where the teachers and administration will not administer epinephrine. Where they will sit and wait for an ambulance to arrive despite DOJ instructions.
I do not care less about those children because I did not birth them.
I do not want one single parent to say goodbye unnecessarily.
I do not want any parent to know that their child’s breath stopped, and heart stopped, and life stopped, in part because I knew something was wrong and did nothing because my own son was no longer impacted.
I could scream myself senseless at parents who don’t seem to care about another family’s pain, but what example am I setting then? Am I really exemplifying unconditional love that way? Or do I best exemplify that by doing what I can to protect, to care, to comfort, without all the shouting and the stupid-calling and the face-punching?
I know the answer, but do I have the strength to live it?
I hope so. I’ve wasted too much energy shouting against, when I yearn to live for: for love, for possibility, for more hope and more good for more people.
I want to solve what’s past.
I desperately want to change it; failing that, to wrap an impenetrable bubble of love around … everyone brutalized by it: Kids. Adults. Babies. The elderly. “Saints” and “sinners,” those who share my political beliefs and those who do not. I want to envelope them all–you all–in love, and have that be the one truth each knew and knows upon breathe’s cessation.
I will stand up for what I believe in. I will speak that. But I will do my best, my very best, to do so in a way that almost anyone who listens will understand that my disagreement does not change my love.
I just want to live love, breathe love, sing it, live it, share it,
shine it, do anything and everything I can to magnify it so that
when my own final moment comes, I can depart this world with a smile,
knowing I did what I could to shield it
with my love.