july 20, 2012
Today is my birthday. I opened my eyes this morning and took a few extra seconds to lay there and take in the joy of it....anticipating the next several hours--hearing from friends, going out this evening AND eating ICE CREAM CAKE! I love birthdays. I probably have my mom to thank for that as she made a huge event of anything and everything that could possibly be celebrated and spared no expense when it came to her daughters’ birthdays.
As I got ready for work I thought about the places I’ve lived and the friends that are now scattered across states and continents. I thought about the card I received yesterday from my parents and the depth of love that they’ve shown me. What a beautiful life I’ve been given.
I got in my car and then heard the words from a radio announcer that 12 had been reported dead. Like anyone else hearing the news, I sat there for a moment wondering if I had heard correctly, wondering what the larger context was –who, where? When did this happen? My mind flashed to years prior hearing the news of 9/11, also in my car on my way to work.
As public radio does, the blip of information was followed quickly by the local station’s call letters, sponsors and other headlines of the day, “In 1969 on this day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon...” I thought of Louis C.K.’s bit about how “Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy.” We are so wildly capable of glorious achievement, and yet today we face the realization of yet another willfully, pre-meditated act of unconscionable violence.
I thought about Ecclesiastes 3 and the recognition that the human experience is shades of dark and light—sorrow, loss, healing, peace. I feel acutely aware today of how difficult it is to experience those paradoxes and not be able to reconcile one with the other.
My heart mourns with those who have had loved ones tragically taken from them. May their hearts be comforted. My words feel so inadequate.
art piece by my friend, April Alkema