Saturday, December 15, 2012

the opposite of devastation


In a time of destruction, create something. - Maxine Hong Kingston

If you've ever been blindsided by tragedy, you know the feeling of waking up in the morning and, for a split second, forgetting that it happened. But quickly the awful awareness dawns on you and you realize that you must get up and live in this new reality. I think most of America is probably experiencing this today, numb with shock and grief over the tragedy in Connecticut. It was sometime after 9/11 that I read the quote above which sadly, because of the frequency, has become my default way to navigate forward in times of great devastation. By some strange alchemy, there truly is comfort in getting out the pen (the paint, the knitting needles, the rolling pin, the garden tools) and just creating. It doesn't change reality, but it is something real and tangible that affirms rather than negates life. And on some sad days, that's enough.   

2 comments:

Cathy Monetti said...

I remember many years ago waking up the morning after dear friends lost their precious six-month-old to SIDS. I walked around the house in such a state of disbelief, not knowing what to do, how to move through that awful day. Finally I put on my gardening gloves and went outside, knowing I had flats and flats of impatiens long overdue for planting. I cried heartily as I put those wilting flowers in the ground. But somehow the feel of my hands in the earth was calming. And all through that Spring, every time I looked at those blooms I thought of that sweet, sweet child.

There have been a thousand times over the years that I have thought about how that act of planting got me through that day. Now I know why.

Thank you, dear friend.

Julie said...

The tears and sense of grief transcend a city, a state, a country. We, in Vancouver, are doing our very best to send healing thoughts to those so far away. I baked yesterday for the people that I love and hugged my son close and realized that it was not nearly enough for those that needed so much comfort. It was not nearly enough but all that I could do. xo J