Friday, February 27, 2015

The Great Blue Cry

[I had fun writing this entry for a poetry contest this week]

The Great Blue Cry

(or The Day the Internet Came to an End)

The day the Internet came to an end,
and all the cell phones fell into puddles

The day the TV sets
mades bets:
“Hey, who can play dead the longest?”

The day all the video games 
ran out of levels 
and texting thumbs
to hitchhiking were restored
The day a lone Googler 
Googled “Gone” 
and every gadget and gizmo with a  
suck-em-in-screen-oh-ignore-the whole-worldo

Simply Vanished

in a flash,
in big and little puffs of smoke,
leaving hands empty,
open wide
and the air alive,
buzzing with static

It was on that magical day,
Johnny Doughboy and Jane Stiflebrain
sat staring at the charred, black spot on the floor,
a smokey, sulphuric place
where only seconds before
a gurgling, growling sound erupted, 
the floor opened wide
and as for their iMac,
a sinkhole sucked it 

The ground healed up quick,
fresh carpet even sprouted
but Johnny and Jane   
were amiss, 
even stunted

“What is life without a flashing screen?” 
Johnny said blankly to Jane

“I would tell you if I could look it up,”
Jane replied, 
her eyes, her face, her brain
as plain
as her name

And so Johnny and Jane sat frozen 
for many days and many years,
their eyes zeroed in on the spot that swallowed their iMac,
hoping against hope it would one day come back
For food, they survived 
on cheese curls and Ding Dongs
For talk, they exchanged the hums and beeps and whistles 
of extinct video game songs

Their skin from the snacks emitted a pale, orange glow 
and tossed candy wrappers stuck to their burgeoning bellies
like tinsel on a tree
But they beeped and they hummed busily,
assuming they were happy,
as happy 
as happy can be

But then one day,
something blue crossed the corner of Johnny’s eye
It was on the other side of the window — 
something vast, wide and splotched with wisps
as white as cotton or snow drifts 
(if he could remember them)
Jane saw it too 
Astounded, they turned their gaze,
searching for words,
finding only a haze
of beeps and whistles

Stuttering, staring and, finally, with tears streaming
Jane called out, 
“The blue,I remember
the blue is called,

“Yes, you’re right,” Johnny replied 
with words instead of whistles
He ran to the window 
He opened it wide
“I remember the Cry, 
the beautiful, blue Cry

Now stand by my side, he said,
so we can look at it forever

And drying their tears,

they did.

-- Sarah Johnson

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Spiritual Spartan

Modern man (and woman) needs a Spartan Race to feel, well, spartan (sorry, the vocabulary choices here are limited, and I'm on maybe 4 hours of sleep).

Traditional man (and woman) need only to embrace his or her vocation with all its joys and sufferings.

Instead of barbed wire, he carves out a living (solo).

Instead of a marathon, she is open to life.

Instead of crawling through mud, they wade through diapers (sometimes decades of them).

But as far as joy is concerned -- its measure and amount, I'd wager my wages (which are dished out IN joy & not in dollars), traditional man (and woman) have more.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Vaccine for Talking About Vaccines

Take a look at the mother on the opposite side of this vaccine debate.  Now, imagine her as more than a few lines of Facebook feed.  It’s not the easiest thing to do, I know.  But if we both try real hard …  If we squeeze our eyes shut tight and push away from the computer screen (once you’ve finished reading this post, of course), we just may just get some where.

Right now, this opponent is wiping a nose — and no, the child doesn’t have the measles (“wild” or whatever kind it is you can catch at Disneyland).  He has the flu.  Whether he was inoculated for this contagion doesn’t matter at this point.  He’s miserable, and all he wants are his mother's arms around him, her hands stroking his blond hair and her heartbeat on his cheek as he naps the afternoon away on her chest.
But this mother is distracted.  By me.  You see, I just told her off.  And oh, I summoned such courage before I did so. Truly, wielding harsh words with the buffer of cyberspace as my shield took some saintly bravery.  

Actually, it didn’t.  It took no bravery at all.  [Insert the squealing sound of my fat head deflating like a helium balloon.]

What takes bravery is what my opponent and I do every day.  We stay at home with our babies even when we’re bored, even when we’re lonely, even when we’re broke and could use the cash a job would easily provide.  We nurture.  We love.  We educate.  We make the best choices for our kids with the information we can muster.  
We have a lot in common, my “opponent” and I.  More, I’d wager, than many moms on my side of this vaccine debate.
Does this mean we shouldn’t dialogue? 
Of course not.  We’ve gotta share the wisdom each has gathered.  It’s just what moms do.
Does this mean we should pretend it’s plausible for both of us to be right? 
Again, no.  Let’s not mess with what’s mathematically impossible.  Let’s not speak anything that feels too much like a lie. 
Can we sense, however, when it's time to take a break and simply love one another in spite of of our differences?
Of course we can.  
If it wasn't, St. Paul wouldn’t have commanded us to do this very thing when he instructed that we “bear with one another and clothe ourselves in love.” (Colossians 3:14)  St. Peter also spoke of this love when he said to be “fervent” in it, “trusting that [it] covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
I have a feeling my opponent is probably in the kitchen right now.  She's probably helping her daughter with algebra or figuring out the next meal.   If I had to wager whether her actions at this very moment have anything to do with  A.  The spread or prevention of a potentially life-threatening, communicable disease or  B.  Throwing together a casserole, I’d wager the choice that comes in an 9” by 13” pan.
Speaking of casseroles, I’ve got people to feed.