my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Small Sips From Many Cups

Along with many Americans at a distance from the hellish events in the Deep South and Iraq, I feel sad and angry and hopeless and, and -- generally at odds with my humanness.

Maybe it's survivor guilt. Why them? Why not me? Why can't I do something? Why can't I do more? Why them? Why not me?

To me, it's a blessing -- although I guess some would curse me -- to be a theological dilettante.

I attended a Catholic elementary school and received early, rudimentary education in that faith -- some of which -- particularly a love for the Virgin and the saints -- has never left me, testament to the strength of that indoctrination.

I was a Protestant minister's daughter (let's make that stepdaughter, and this one I fought all the way) forced to attend services for years (ask me about smoking in the choir loft and that hit-and-run in the church parking lot).

I received two years of rabbinic instruction in Judaism before my Reform conversion more than twenty years ago.

I've had a lifelong affinity for Buddhism, with its instructional unanswerable questions.

Add a healthy respect for quantum physics and a mind open to "intelligent design." (Although, please. I still choose evolution over the First Seven Days).

So I have many cups to drink from when I'm in pain. And I took at least a sip from nearly all of them this week.

My point? I'm still hurting. Along with everybody else. My faith isn't strong enough to forestall it.

All I can do is suspend myself above this, remind myself that I can take care of those close to me ... and hope that there is some meaning to all this, some meaning we can't grasp as we gaze through this glass, darkly.

edit: after more hours of watching coverage of New Orleans' suffering, I'm so aware of how precious this post could sound and how I've got nothing to say about pain. Pray to God these people get the help they need, and soon.


Blogger still life said...

Beautifully written. I have come to realize that in life there are not always answers.

11:33 AM

Blogger Tom & Icy said...

And we sip from the cup sadly, replacing our partake with tears.

12:05 PM

Blogger mireille said...

the three of you break my heart. xoxoxoxo to you.

12:13 PM

Blogger dddragon said...

well written, mireille. I don't understand those who shrug their shoulders and say "it's God's will." How can that be?

All I can do is what I am capable of doing. And keep those poor people in my thoughts.

12:26 PM

Blogger mireille said...

(((3d))) I think the thoughts count for something, like prayers. I don't know how much power we have to shift the universe with them, but we have to keep trying. xoxo

12:50 PM

Blogger Kyahgirl said...

just wanted to see if the hearts tag worked here. If not, you know what I mean.

12:54 PM

Blogger mireille said...

it does, and I do. xoxo

12:58 PM

Blogger actonbell said...

Nice post:) It's all hard to make any sense of.

1:56 PM

Blogger AP3 said...

What interesting background! I had no idea! I tend to be "interfaith" too, with lots of different influences. And yet, like you, I still can't really make sense of this. It's the whole "Why do bad things happen to good people" thing. There's no satisfying answer.

5:12 PM

Blogger Urban Chick said...

i can't believe what i am reading online this morning and what i saw on the news last night

i can't figure out why your govt has moved so slowly to help these desperate people and more shocking given we are talking about the world's richest nation

here's hoping everyone gets the help they need very soon

4:24 AM

Blogger Bela said...

As a true non-believer, I only feel distressed by the plight of the poor people who have to face that kind of natural disaster, not because I don't understand why such things happen. I don't try to make sense of anything, because I believe there is no sense to it. And it doesn't bother me. I'm not surprised by it either - Nature will always have the upper hand and will always remind us it has; I just deplore it.

I feel the same about man's inhumanity to man - it doesn't surprise me. It enrages me more, that's all.

I hope those people have the strength to survive and rebuild their wrecked lives - with some help.

snyawoe: a very apt word today.

6:31 AM

Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

I feel so guilty, sleeping in my warm bed, taking a shower, putting on clean clothes, having a comfortable home, more food and water than I want and can use....
Interesting background you have - very eclectic.

12:10 PM

Anonymous Lulu said...

I saw a progamme on TV the other night about a community on the Indian coast trashed by the tsunami. The priests were having a hard time getting people back to the temple. There was a young girl who had been about to be married and had not spoken to her mother for three weeks because the marriage was arranged and she didn't want it. Her mother was swept away by the waters and she couldn't forgive herself. So she married the man (who by the way said he was going to treasure and protect her as his life's gift) and joined his family, but whenever they took her to prayer with them she joined in but told the cameras that when she prayed she did not pary to God, whom she had decided did not exist, but to her mother. 'I have made my mother my god,' she said.

And then there were others who desperately wanted to restore their faith, could not live with its loss. In any case, they believed that the god of necessary death and destruction lived in the sea and the god of life lived on the earth - I forget the details exactly - and of course the tsunami had confirmed them in this belief. So they had a day where they all went to the sea and ran into it fully clothed, and then screamed with fury at the water and wailed and thrashed, and then ran out again weeping and embraced the earth, then they did the same thing over and over. I thought, how fitting. I hope it helped them.

I'm not going to try to draw any conclusions from these two reactions to the same disaster. I just wanted to tell you about them.

ssekfsz: who seeks, finds.

6:31 PM

Blogger mireille said...

thank you, lulu. xoxo

6:51 PM

Anonymous janey said...

We've had 6 hurricanes in 2 years where I live. And each time I hope with everything in me that it will go somewhere else. The only problem is that it does goes somewhere else. As for New Orleans, it wasn't nature that caused this, it was the elected officals of a state and city that knew this would happen one day. Officials who told the poorest people to get in cars and leave the city. I read that 60% of people in NO live under the poverty level. They don't have cars. It was like Marie Antoinette telling starving people to eat cake. I could go on and on about the failure of our gov't to do something but we all know that, we all feel terrible. And we should all donate to the Red Cross right now.

8:13 PM

Blogger mireille said...

You're right. xoxo Or the American Friends Service Committee. Or the Salvation Army.

8:30 PM


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