Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unkindness of Hope

The thing of feathers has been playing unkind games. The idea of hope has no connotations of cruelty, except when it is accompanied by border less, undefined waiting. The greatest challenge of this month has been to escape this thing of feathers. But how does one keep it from alighting, from digging its claws into the very soul?

The electrician working on my burnt house has very kind eyes that urged me to believe when he said that they'd begin working on the walls in a week, so I'd better hurry up and buy the water heater and kitchen lights. That was three weeks ago and the cold debris in my demolished house remains undisturbed. In spite of numerous calls, no one seems to know anything about the house. I remain amazed at the unconcern my stars have for the being whose lot they decide as they whirl and spin about their celestial play grounds. Maybe there IS no design to their playing and dancing; maybe my perception of a design was my own hubris, my own need to believe in the kindness the universe must extend to me.

The hardest lesson this month has foisted on me has been the questions my mirror poses, questions to which, I find that I can fathom no position or response for. The most difficult of these questions are about all the emotional and moral frameworks I have tried to impress upon my child through nearly two decades of parenting: the importance of a long term vision, the reliable nature of a sound work ethic, the extent to which logic and planning reduce and control frightening variables. I have believed in these virtues but upon reflection, have been defeated by forces beyond imagination, and lately, by my very human nature with its tendency to give in to meaningless hopes, a false sense of control over circumstances.

So I wait still and resist the roots I tend to grow. I buy no more spoons, or safety pins, or slippers. I ration my victuals sparsely. I visit home improvement stores all over town, chase down each recommendation, each hint dropped in casual conversations, make elaborate, meticulous notes of all I see, but I buy nothing; it is too soon and these notes and researches might very well prove to be a colossal waste.

My patient reader must think of me in terms of the worst epithet my child can conceive of, a whiner, and I must confess I, too, lose patience with me. Complaining of loss can get old really fast, especially if there is no new disaster or interesting dimensions to the same loss.

The only apology I offer is my agreement of this and an acknowledgment of my awareness of how pathetic complaining sounds; however, I plead that I have been in the same limbo, stuck in the same mire that just sucks in larger parts of me, trapped under the same blinding sky whose clouds and rains bring no relief or change, in the same twilight clutching my unchanging horizon. I am unable to move on, and so, inevitably, my thoughts chase each other on an endless carousel.

My child gears up for one of the most drastic and memorable changes of her life, but I stand on the brink with her, unable to promise her anything, shaking my head at her plans for prom, graduation, and dorm visits.

I am afraid to share in her excitement and I am afraid that I concentrate too hard on maintaining a shifty status quo, that we be surrounded by the recognizable.

But most of all, I fear that thing with feathers, always fluttering and worrying the air around my head, always threatening to settle in my being and I shall find all devoured when it inevitably flies off.

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