Atomic Haiku

ShadowsAtomic bombs here

And some atomic bombs there

Which nut will fire first?

 

Americans love

And North Koreans love, too

Why harm the people?

 

Donald and Jong-un

Do not speak for the people

Let’s lock them both up.

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Eclipse the Shadow

It was a thumb.

In the movie Apollo 13, Jim Lovell holds his thumb up in front of his face and blocks out the moon. As he moves his thumb back and forth, the moon disappears, reappears, and disappears again.

A trick of perspective let his little thumb seem to cover up the bigger moon.

Screen shot from Apollo 13 - Jim Lovell holds his thumb up to block out the moon.

I thought of that scene this past week as people across the nation stopped what they were doing to witness that same moon make the sun disappear.

The sun didn’t really disappear of course.

It was there all along…the moon only temporarily blocked our view of the sun…just as Jim Lovell’s thumb only temporarily blocked his view of the moon.

A trick of perspective let the moon seem to cover up the bigger sun.

NASA Screen shot of Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017.

The solar eclipse was a beautiful and amazing trick of perspective, and…

…and, it was reassuring.

In recent posts I’ve shared my struggle to remain positive and optimistic. I am sad/angry/disgusted/discouraged with the way things are going on many fronts – global, national, local, and personal.

It’s as if my normally optimistic self is being eclipsed by worry’s weight, hate’s heartache, and the devil’s despair.

The shadow is deep and dark; at times terrifyingly total.

So I am holding tight to the lesson of the solar eclipse:

The shadow is temporary.

My optimistic self is still here…somewhere…behind the shadow.

NASA Screen shot of Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017.

The psalm of the eclipse proclaims it:

The shadow cannot, will not, remain.

NASA Screen shot of Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017.

The light will break through – first around the edges and then with amazing power.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, shine, shine

Let it shine!

Out there in the dark

I’m gonna let it shine

Out there in the dark

I’m gonna let it shine

Out there in the dark

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, shine, shine

Let it shine!

NASA Screen shot of Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017.

Pessimistic Pollyanna

Refrigerator magnets spell out "I just can not."

It’s not pretty.

It’s not at all pretty when a glass-half-full Pollyanna hits the reinforced concrete barrier of disappointment with the world and the overall state of things.

It’s gruesome.

I don’t want to look.

I try to avert my eyes, but I can’t escape it.

I am that Pollyanna.

I’ve hit that wall.

 

I’m overwhelmed at the degree of the hatred-of-other, apathy-toward-neighbor, and acceptance-of-lies unleashed in the world.

 

I’ve lost faith in and respect for our nation’s leaders.

I’ve lost belief in the ability of our state’s leaders to work for the common good.

I’ve lost trust in the spiritual maturity or accountability of my pastor.

 

So here I am.

Overwhelmed and lost.

I’m feeling anger, grief, despair, and – sometimes – fatigue and numb lethargy.

It’s taking its toll.

My blood pressure feels like it’s up, I think I may be getting an ulcer, and I can’t sleep.

 

The wall.

It’s been hit.

 

If it were just me, I believe I would withdraw from the world, curl up into an introverted ball, and tell the world to go you-know-where.

 

But, of course, it’s not just me.

We’re in this together.

 

Our – my! – inactions / actions affect others.

We – I! – can’t give up.

We can’t give in to anger, grief, despair, fatigue, and numb lethargy.

 

I’m still not quite sure how to proceed.

But I will try.

I have to pick up my battered and stunned self from the ground at the foot of the wall and seek a way over, around, or through it.

The Pollyanna in me, buried deep as she is, whispers to keep seeking the way.

Refrigerator magnets spell out "I just can not but will."

Wake-Up Call

Phone alert states, "Emergency Alert - Tornado Warning in this area til 8:00 PM EDT. Take shelter now. Check local media. - NWS."

You don’t need a wake-up call 

When you can’t sleep at night.

Eyes wide open.

Nothing feels right.

My cell phone shrieked, “Tornado Warning. Take shelter now.”

We gathered the dog and headed to a storage area in our basement – just in case.

We don’t get many tornados around here, so this was unusual and a bit scary.

They say it’s safest to be away from windows, but then you have no line of sight to see what is or isn’t coming. You have to rely on others to tell you when it’s safe to come out.

The weather warning expired and we emerged from the basement.


Fast forward to 3 a.m.

The rain and wind are gone, but I’m awake and on edge.

My cell phone sits in silence on the nightstand…no alerts and warnings, and it’s way too soon for the alarm clock to sound.

But my mind is shrieking, “The world is out of whack. Take action now.”

For this warning, it does no good to hide in the basement.

We need to open every single window and shine light on all the facts.

We need to creep out of our safe zones and track what’s happening with our own eyes and ears.

This is not a drill.

And we don’t need a wake-up call when we can’t sleep at night.

Oh My God

A black square with tiny print, reading, "God help us."

Oh My God!

The President of the United States is a boorish bully who has bragged about getting away with sexual assault; a state just elected a politician who physically assaulted a reporter the night before the election; our nation is on the brink of kicking the legs out from under the elderly, ill, disabled, and poor; and white evangelical Christians celebrate that this all reflects their “dream” leadership team.

God!

Where are you??

Thy kingdom does not look ANYTHING like this alternate universe that’s come.

Please, God, deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Fellow Travelers

Sign says, "Occupied By a Through Passenger."

In the summer of 1989 – a few weeks after the Chinese government cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square and a few months before the East German government unexpectedly began cutting holes in the Berlin Wall – I boarded a flight for West Germany and met a man from Syria.

I don’t remember his name and I would not be able to pick him out of a crowd today, but I remember conversing with him during our eight-hour flight. He was a pleasant seatmate, chatting sociably but not so much as to monopolize my attention or time.

The plane landed and we went our separate ways. I headed off to start my new job as a reporter/producer at Radio Deutsche Welle and he headed off in his own direction.

As the war in Syria drags on, I find myself wondering about him and what became of his life since that shared flight and brief conversation.

Is he still alive?

If so, I think he would be in his 60s. What is his life like?

Does he have children? Grandchildren?

Is he among the refugees who fled the country, among those who remained and fear for their lives; or – perhaps – is he part of Assad’s government forces or one of the terrorist groups?

I really have no idea.

Rapid-fire news headlines and pontificating pundits can quickly numb us to an important truth.

The people of Syria – and those in many other war zones around the world – are people who work and eat and sleep and laugh and cry and sing and bleed.

Just like us.

Some of them are nice to other people; some of them are not.

Just like us.

They are born; live; and die.

Just like us.

We are, after all, aboard the same flight.

Five Minute Friday: Abandon

Yellow daffodils bow their heads against the cold of an early March snowfall.

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Abandon

Go.

The afternoon sun magnified the effect of the blindingly white clouds surrounded by almost-too-blue-to-be-true patches of sky.

This early March day started with pelting snow and trees clothed in wintry white, but by afternoon the limbs displayed a costume change, showing off their white blossoms, which were there under the snow all along.

Winter sideswiped us this year, but this morning she reminded us it was not quite time, despite the blossoms and blooms all around us, for her to abandon us to spring.

Stop.