Wednesday, July 9, 2014
“Your baby, your problem.” I was a twenty something, semi professional, career gal, attempting to sooth not so malleable progeny number two when those words burrowed their way into my long term memory. Spoken by someone who I truly believed should have rescued me in my moment of parental failure, that friendly fire fueled my ire. There I was, embattled warrior princess, my knight off killing dragons, the heir apparent stricken by childhood malaise and the spare would not cease his earsplitting caterwauling. (Translation: Dave was out of town, five year old Freddy was pukey with chicken pox, I’d worked all day and baby Eric was colicky for the eighth Monday that week.) How dare the insolent villager hand me my scorched hindquarters on a set of tines and advise me to reattach it myself! Oh the horror of responsibility.
Truth is, what we create becomes our responsibility and often our “problem” for the duration of our existence on this nickel cored orb and if we want to survive we learn quickly to temper our passions with perspective, prioritizing that which truly matters and sloughing off the rest as best we can. We have limited time in our skins to facilitate change, yet it seems those of us who are the most brilliant waste that precious allotment afforded them by succumbing to fits of strident public display (oft on social media) disparaging those of us categorized by whatever pigeon hole du jour deemed fitting as villagers with pitchforks – unenlightened, terrified and dangerous to the greater good of the cause of the moment. Yet, while those illumined souls fire off statistical justification and sound bites are they really doing any good or are they simply parroting the skewed misinformation generated by the media machine that is more interested in selling happy pills than offering up undiluted truth because truth is stodgy and sex at seventy sells slots in prime time? This barrage of Technicolor, full throttle, info-bullying, does more to extinguish my specific passions than any bit of daily reality would. Collicky babies eventually outgrow their twisted little gullet outbursts. Knotted up adults, however noble the cause may be, seem to feed on the ire…just like a cancer cell, eventually destroying the very creature that feeds them.
Truth is, I’m a mom. I’m automatically engineered to respond on a cellular level when faced with the plight of a child – any child. The more perceived pain, the more tears and fear, the more graphic imagery, and that hard wiring designed to galvanize me to protect will only carry me a specific distance from the epicenter of chaos. The perpetual onslaught without respite will eventually serve to create a system overload, resulting in that very sea of numb, burned out dull eyed villagers with pitchforks you standard bearing, enlightened types are attempting to incite to indignation which is not the equivalent of action or correction. And indignation without focus will only result in those villagers lobbing stones and flaming balls of manure at your battlements. We can’t fix your babies but we can fix you.
Before you fire off a volley of memes with the intent to elevate the plight of those you have determined yourself as the patron saint/megaphone/posterchild consider this. Is your truth really the homeless doe eyed preteen from war torn Guatemala, is it the rape victim faced with an unwanted pregnancy or are you just a thinly disguised hater who really wants to piss off those of us who already feel with every fiber of our existence that life is precious and we would lay down our own to take the pain from another person. If you are a hater – keep putting up that kitsch because it’s working. But if you really want change – use your fingers for something besides saluting me in traffic and on the bandwidth and DO something. Go down to your local immigration office and volunteer to take on a child. Open up your home, your bank account, your school, your hospital, and your counseling services for the duration of that child’s or your natural existence and give yourself to that child to make his or her life better. Put feet and hands on your passionate discourse and open up a shelter yourself. Give your disposable income to organizations that truly integrate and bless others who are in need. (since its cool to conjoin the prolife schtick with illegal immigrant children – go down to your local clinic and pay for a woman to be relieved of her “problem” hold her hand during the process – and stick around in a year or two or five, when she marries or has her own baby or wonders about what her “Choice” would have been if she’d exercised her legal right in a different manner. Life and the human heart are complex far beyond the simple act of exercising a legally protected choice. Even GOD respects our right to choose – so much so that He allows us to experience the consequences unique to our own hearts.) Try putting up a list of organizations that offer assistance if you are unable or unwilling to do it yourself but do something beyond the incessant visual glut of vitriol you propagate because my only defense mechanism is to become immune to your sickness.
Here’s another truth. Veiled hostility against the government, the right, the left or the rest of us camped in the clueless center can only fix your cause through you indirectly if you won’t do it yourself. Our government is not a benevolent non-profit. It will only use whatever disposable income generated by your tax dollars it has in its coffers. So if you scream loud enough to get your problem fixed – it will only be replaced by another more intimate issue. A government funded solution will manifest itself in higher prices at the store, the gas station, your property tax bill and your interest rates. So if you choose to hand off your baby to a sitter – prepare to pay competitive wages.
I’m not damning anyone’s passions or arguing against anyone’s rights. I am not promoting that my personal position of faith must override the law of my country. I respect my country, its laws and its people. I even respect and will occasionally encourage the right of a soul to vent his or her passionate position on the bandwidth. If I disagree I know that out of respect I can simply choose to ignore the post. There are those however (and we all know someone) who have lost their identity to the toxic position they present. I only admit therefore, that as one human I cannot fix an entire planet of babies. I can only fix my own baby, my own problem. If I choose to adopt another baby – then I assume responsibility for the duration – not to scream when it screams – but to comfort, nurture, protect and grow that baby. Tossing soiled diapers over my neighbor’s fence won’t help my baby. But perhaps pulling weeds in the empty field with my neighbor might give us both a place to take our toddlers to play safely.
All this to say if you want to champion a passionate cause – promote the solution above the problem. Stop tossing it in with all your other issues over which you marinate but don’t really address –stop deferring the problem to some other source to correct – absolving yourself of any responsibility except that of head dung flinger – stop using the horror faced by various groups of humans to spur your own prejudices and take the action available to you. Then take a selfie of you doing something about it and put that up on your favorite social media outlet. I’ll be one of the first to like and share.
By the way, that colicky monster I was forced to foster solo for so many nights has become an amazing, intelligent young man. He is an artist, a musician, a giver who is loving, truthful and fiercely loyal to his friends, his family and God. That “problem” is now a beautiful living legacy who gives me so much more than I ever gave him. There are fixes that turn problems into progress and most of them are simple, quiet steady steps forward that you can take, that I can take if we stop, think and use our ginormous frontal lobes to think beyond the immediate to the infinite.
The village idiot.