I think of viewing my Grandma Rosie
When I was ten or so, I was terrified of tornadoes. As soon as the sky got that particular color (fellow tornado alley residents know the one), I'd have a pile of blankets and pillows ready to take down to our basement at a moment's notice. It wasn't the only severe anxiety trigger I had at that age (house fires and home invasions were both on that hallowed list), but for a while at least, it was the worst.
It wasn't long after that my adolescent exploration into Christianity happened, and with it my fear of tornadoes eased up, though it's never really gone away. I had God on my side, see, and it made me feel safe. Later I realized, as I think most people realize, that the overlap of Christian America and tornado alley suggests a fair number of genuinely faithful people are killed by tornadoes every season, but at the time, a child's faith was enough to soften the terror I felt about something unpredictable and completely uncontrollable.
A lot of this year, and today in particular, has me feeling like my ten year old self, hunkered into a nest of blankets at the top of the basement stairs. I know the blankets are only a comfort and that even the basement is only going to do me so much good, but I cling to feeling like anything can make any difference. Masks and isolation are a functional effort against a virus that doesn't abide much by justice, but they help and they're something. We cast votes like prayers even though the system that receives them isn't working the way we'd like to think it does. We grasp at imperfect solutions for the sake of being able to do something against a big, unpredictable world where our power is limited.
I've found myself thinking a lot more about religion lately, about how it might be nice to have something like that to bring comfort, but in giving myself space I know that my heart isn't and has never been comfortable diving into the specifics of faith, and I don't feel right about doing it in half-measures. So here I am, like the rest of the world's faithless, trying to calculate with 2/3 of the information what it means to live in this world. Making our own meaning.
This is the second time I've shared an Albert Goldbarth poem, and I've long loved his poem The Sciences Sing a Lullabye. Goldbarth's work frequently explores science and spirit and the space between them, and it's in that place that I most often find myself making a safety nest these days.
Conservation of energy means that everything in me, all the matter and chemical processes and electricity, are part of the universe and always will be. In this year where so many are lost, I've returned again and again to that. I find strength in knowing that not only our muscles and bones but also the electrochemical processes that are emotion and memory are all forever, that there is meaning, even if it won't always be for me. I do what I can to make sure the energy I'm giving the world in my living is the kind I want everyone else to have.
What is the Internet Doing to Boomers' Brains? | Huffington Post
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