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.