I’ve not thought about Libya until today.
And though I’m somewhat ashamed in admitting my truth, I realize I always draw boundaries tighter when my husband leaves town — as he did this week. Maybe it’s a carryover from helping raise four children. With one of us away, the other always tightened focus to keep a busy two-parent home afloat.
However, having a smaller world view is also, for better or worse, part of who I am; I tend to lavishly love the ones I’m with – when in Texas, it was friends; now that I’m home, it’s family. Moreover, I attempt to live free of what will steal my peace. For example, I avoid violent films because viewing them robs me of an ability to sleep – for a long time. I can still remember in full gory detail a Dirty Harry film I saw in my late teens. And now, without nudge to prompt them, my thoughts pull up the year I became a teen, when I saw Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood at the drive-in theater with my family. Just writing the words of the film’s title flash up a slicer scene I shiver to remember.
So while I’m a dreamer, maybe it’s less by nature than nurture. Maybe it’s what the world has made of me, the way I’ve learned to cope and live within a broken world. I tell myself I don’t live life with my head buried in the sand but rather high up in the clouds — dreaming all sorts of good dreams of a better world – one full of beauty and truth and love. But perhaps I’m kidding myself; and it’s only silly semantics.
So this week, while my radius didn’t reach as far as Libya, it did extend a mile uptown to embrace not only my new home but more importantly, my new not yet two-month old granddaughter who suffers from gut-wrenching colic. Poor Reese Caroline — when she draws in her legs to cradle her belly. She hurts without knowing the reasons why. I wonder — is she frightened too? And pity her mother who tries to comfort her without knowing how to offer relief – this time; because this time will not be like last time or the time before that.
This little girl cannot sleep by herself for pain and sometimes cannot eat without pain. Medications have lessened the hurt without eliminating it. Sometimes her special sensitive diet helps. But there are no magic tricks left in the doctor’s bag – the only thing that seems to consistently work is never putting the baby down. The photo above was last Monday’s “Kodak Moment”, when Kara shared her joy with family of a baby FINALLY sleeping solo. Yet ultimately, I know, in spite of all the love and support my daughter has in the world in and outside her walls, Kara has to feel terribly alone in this. Surely she must feel like it’s her and Reese braving the battle against colic, with the rest of us standing somewhere on the sidelines. Helping the best we can – waiting until the baby’s digestive system matures.
So. I didn’t pray for Libya this week but I did for little Reese. And I sat with her to give my daughter a break from the scary front-lines of motherhood. And though I was not the one my granddaughter wanted, I rocked her in my arms anyway. Sometimes I sat in the rocker and other times I rocked her walking laps around the house. And when walking alone didn’t work, I sang a silly little made-up song that seemed to bring comfort.
God love you. God love you. God love you, Reese Caroline.
I sang it over and over and over until ten or twelve laps around, Reese stopped crying to listen. Until quiet dissolved into peace. And drowsy eyelids fluttered shut. Small facial features relaxed. And relief came for both of us.
This morning, as I thought about Libya, I felt small. I felt small for having my mile-wide radius. I felt small for not realizing how the Libyan people were living in a colicky world too — for surely they too draw up their legs in bunkered down homes that no longer feel safe. I felt small in thinking how violence in their real world – rather than one made of imagination viewed with the price of admission — had rocked away their sense of peace and well-being. Like any on the front-lines fighting colic, I imagine the Libyan people too are suffering from a lack of precious sleep.
Oh Libya! I know you must feel terribly alone now. How I long to reach out my arms to bind and comfort you, even by singing off-key my small silly song: God love you. God love you. God love you, little Libya. And how I wish I could whisper softly in your ear that it will be all better soon, once your system for life matures. Yes, I do. I really do.
It is a troubled world indeed but we can only love what we know and hope that love spreads in ever increasing circles outwards.
he prayeth best who loveth best.
I do believe love ripples out as it’s expressed in many ways. Even now I imagine families huddled together in dark dwellings in Libya, trying to keep one another strong for whatever is to come. Closest to that scary center, surely the efficacy of their loving and praying must supersede mine which stands on the sidelines. But then again, maybe prayers are like heavenly currency without denomination. Maybe there is no best. Maybe any love is good love and any prayer is good prayer. Even those offered with a widow’s mite of understanding like mine.
I like your comparison between your granddaughter’s colic and Libya…Having had 2 babies with colic I know the feeling of helplessness that a mother experiences as she tries everything she knows and them some in order to relieve the pain of her child. Giving your daughter respite is the best gift you could possibly give her for her own pain…And though you may not be able to do something physical for the Libyan people, you have given your readers a new way of picturing them which gives new ways of praying for them…
It’s kind of you to stop by — and leave a note too. A friend of mine told me of your blog last Monday — so I’ve been dropping in since then, for a little spiritual nourishment.
Likewise, her friend (from an Ignatius group I believe) found you when she ‘googled’ the Cana prayer — and like the rippling of circles mentioned by Viv, one friend led to another friend which led me to you.
Thanks again for visiting and for your kind words and encouragement.
Thank you for a beautiful and moving post, and an apt parallel. Your daughter is fortunate indeed to have a mother so caring and wise, and your granddaughter most blessed to have a grandmother so loving and patient. You have cared long and deep and far… I thank you again for sharing your experience and insight.
Thanks for your encouraging words — here and there in your latest post, “While We Wait”; it was your unforgettable thoughts which hovered over my soul, which I couldn’t shake off so ended up taking to bed with me Thursday night. I read them shortly after you posted. And before leaving a comment, I quickly fled. Out of shame, my dear. And here, is my response — too long for a comment to your inspiring post, but a response nevertheless — to my own brokenness; the world’s brokenness and little Reese’s colic — the latter I pray, will soon be all better. And one out three is considered quite good in some areas — like by those who make their living hitting baseballs.
Before I leave for Sabbath rest, I wish to tell you how much I enjoy your blog — how it feeds my spirit and my mind and my heart. How every time I visit I feel like I’ve gone on one of Julia Cameron’s artist dates. So on this note, please know how much I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming post on the Academy Awards.
Happy Oscar Night! And thanks for stopping by
Since you used the baseball analogy, I’ll put it this way – there are times when I feel so far out in left field there’s not a chance of my catching a ball. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I’m still in the game.
As I’m sure you saw at Arti’s, I’m ambivalent about tweeting & Facebook as the new road to revolution. There are many reasons, and some of them are quite practical.
For example, it’s recently been made public that the US has created fake identities in order to manipulate the discussion on Twitter and Facebook.
It would be easy to dismiss this as more conspiracy-theorist foolishness were it not for the fact that, for example, during Iran’s “Green Revolution” there were credible/known bloggers and tweeters warning people about specific identities that were known to be false.
Beyond that, I’ve been involved in chatrooms and discussion fora where the creation of fake identities is an on-going problem. There have been accusations, stalking, bans and so on – and a good bit of what they call “sock puppetry”, where a single person assume TWO identities and then carries on fake conversations with themselves.
You wouldn’t do it, and I wouldn’t do it, but there are a lot of people who do it on a regular basis. Unless I know a person from previous contact, I do not accept any tweet at face value – especially on a controversial subject.
Beyond that, I had a personal conversation this weekend with someone who has been involved directly in the Middle East through business. As he put it, “I’d rather walk the Sahara barefooted than tweet anything of substance. It’s one of the best ways for regimes to ID you.” I understand that point of view completely. After all, there are some blogs that I will not post a comment on no matter how strong my opinion, because I don’t want to be identified with them.
This is getting too lengthy, so I’ll stop with a word about colic I hope will cheer you. I was one of those colicky babies, and what you describe is almost word for word what my mother describes. I, of course, have no memory of those first months at all, and have no problems since that could be in any way linked to that early misery.
So, while it’s distressing all around now, it will indeed pass – and you’ll be telling the same stories to an incredulous Reese that my mother now tells me. 😉
Thank you for this special post. You also brought back memories of grandchildren.
My youngest now 5 and 7 and seems like yesterday I was helping mom, rocking and singing to them. Best of wishes as you begin your new home.
All that fake Twitter identity stuff you wrote of sounds like a perfect plot for a suspense novel. My husband, son and I were talking about it around the supper table tonight — trying to figure out which author’s work it reminded us of. Tom Clancy? Andrew Scott Card? George Orwell?
In any case, it’s good to know that what seems real may not be — the use of fake Twitter identities to manage public opinion seems a little like the digital version of a strawman — not a perfect analogy, but something like it. Scary. Much scarier than colic.
And on that note, thanks for the encouragement. The last few days have been pretty good ones for Reese — the pain seems less though she still hates to sleep solo!
I’m guessing from things you’ve shared that you live some distance away from your grandchildren. If so, I imagine your reunions are sweet — and memories in-between visits may be your steady diet.
When I lived in Texas, I missed many milestones and everyday moments when my two oldest were young. So I do not take for granted the privilege of being around this new little one — even when she’s having a ‘bad no-hair day.’
Thanks for your kind words on the post. I like how being grandmothers is another thing that binds us together. And by the way — my new ninety year old Greek friend Rose — who is a cousin to my cousins — tells me I’m a wonderful YaYa — that if I don’t want to be called Grandma or whatever, I should go Greek and have them call me YaYa. Don’t you just love it?
Thanks for stopping by.