Breathing in this Modern World
When Mel Walsh Jones solicited for guest bloggers, I asked if her blog had a particular theme. Her succinct response: “Life and living in the modern world.” It’s a great thematic topic. Not great as in fantastic, though it is. Great as in vast. So vast in fact, that I found myself struggling with where to start. I decided to just breathe in and out with my eyes closed for a few minutes until something revealed itself to me.
Breathing. Deeply in. Slowly out.
Mel wrote a post recently– poetically painful in its delivery: “My watch is telling me to breathe... no time to catch breath: Kavanaugh in, women crushed (again); climate change storms: tornadoes too close to home, hurricanes tracking inland; bombs in the mail; Shabbat shooting... only time pieces have time to breathe.”
My response: ”Do breathe though. Our survival is the only way to beat this shit back.”
Breathing. Irregularly. Stuttering in and out in small gasps. It is so hard to breathe these days of living in the modern world. Every morning, I find myself holding my breath until I finish scanning the news. What new mayhem has been released upon this modern world today?
The other day I nearly stopped breathing all together. My knees buckled when I read this headline in the NY times: ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration. I feel the cold fingers of legal discrimination tightening slowly around our throats. My transgender friends, families and I are in grave danger if this comes to pass. I am not being dramatic. This is scary living in this modern world.
Breathing. Deep, deep, deeper in. Slow, slow, shakily out.
Tears sting my eyes every day while living in this modern world. These are tears of anger, and rage at a leader who calls himself a nationalist, who brags about grabbing women, who incites others to violence. These are tears of frustration with people who have the right to but do not vote. These are tears of fear and hopelessness. But most of these tears spring up out of a deep sadness for the senseless acts of violence against innocents, the young people’s lives being shortened by the bullets of a school shooter. That’s a thing now in this modern world. School shooters. And innocent babies being stolen away from their beloveds. And hard fought for rights being stripped away.
This modern world is dark behind my eyes shut tightly against these tears.
I got to breathe easy for one day in the last couple of weeks. One. The day after the mid-term election when hundreds of new, colorful, diverse, loving people were elected into offices of influence. The day we found out that the house belongs once again to the people . And then, the very next day, my breathing got all gaspy again when unspeakable loss of life happened, again, when a bar got shot up. And when wide spread election fraud threatened democracy once more. And when the one person designated to represent me and my country at the graves of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for democracy, wimped out and could not be inconvenienced to do so because of bad weather. And my breath caught quick in my throat when a reporter responsible for keeping me informed of this horrible news every day lost his ability to do so at the whim of a petulant so called president. For though it is usually bad news, I need to know the truth or I might never breath again.
Breathing. Shallow in and out. Hyperventilating at times. I need one of those little brown lunch bags while trying to breathe while living in this modern world. But breathe we must, right Mel?
To stop breathing is to give in to evil and hatred. It is not an option. Surviving this modern word – breathing in and breathing out, no matter how raggedly, day after blessed day - is the sweetest vengeance.