Friday, September 02, 2005

We will not be beaten down like grain

I got up yesterday morning, and for the first time in my life, I was the primary breadwinner for my household. It's a weird feeling. Kinda scary.

And like everyone, I have a job where little things can set me off. $20 cables. $40 books. Users who don't read instructions or error messages literally. Not enough hours in the day, things that should've been done yesterday.

Life is good.

My house isn't under Lake Ponchartrain. My workplace is open this morning and is rather expecting me to be there. I know where my family is.

I'm not in any of the places around the world which we forget or never hear about.

And I really am blessed, in lots of ways, but if only for what I'm spared, life is good.

I saw a magnificent HBO movie this summer called The Girl In The Cafe. It's coming out on video next week, and I hope you'll see it. Bill Nighy plays a government economist exhausted from fighting the good fight against global poverty. Kelly Macdonald plays the young woman who doesn't understand how it's possible to turn a blind eye. It's an exquisite, pure, untraditional love story, and an incredible indictment of the fact that we all, from time to time, turn parts of ourselves off just to cope.

But we are scabbed, not scarred. We need our shields, and then we need to slough them off. We need that good, soft, hurtable part to temper and direct our amazing power.

I suppose there are a couple of reasons I'm taking this so hard. I've always been fascinated by the power of moving water. As a kid, I was down with the other snipes in the gutter, building little dams and then knocking them down and watching the water race. I love whitewater rafting and Pooh sticks and going to the beach.

And since 1988 I've been ready to move to New Orleans. It's the greatest city in America. It's always struck me as mythic, romantic, funky, complex, magical. She's given me crystal clear snapshot memories of perfect moments. If America's brain works on the East Coast and its heart pumps from Chicago, all those good scary gut feelings and raging emotions come from the Delta. And I fully intend to either attend the 2006 American Library Association conference in New Orleans, and spend a lot of my money (and my employer's) to help the economy, or skip the conference entirely if it's moved.

So make a donation. There's plenty of good opportunities. Better still, organize an event. It takes less than you think... I'm kind of inspired by Wil Wheaton's charity poker tournaments at PokerStars. We could do a local tourney among my card friends. Herself tells me she's heard of Mardi Gras in September parties for charity. As for me, I'm ready to find out if they're ready for volunteers down there yet. And if not now, maybe later, when Habitat is ready to rebuild.

But don't forget Mississippi and Alabama and Africa and the poor people in your own community. Consider an unrestricted gift. Consider how you can live a just life. Don't just cope. Do what you can to persevere. And find the people you care about and hug them hard because you can.

There is so much need. There are so many people who don't have these little things we take for granted... roofs and walls and sanitation and vaccines. It hurts me so badly to even consider it.

I must be fine, cause my heart's still beating.

Life is good.


Blogger WDL said...

life is good for us. Though its hard, you can't compare our lives to those of the folks who got hit by Katrina. Its easy to do, rather maybe just to "check and counter check" your life.

A wake up call for all of us to be sure, a reminder that we should give a family member a call. BUT if we haven't been living like that all along, isn't there another problem? We should just be thankful all the time.

7:43 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

Amen, Matthew. Well said. And welcome.

8:34 AM, September 05, 2005  

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