Years ago, I used the word shit during a speech at my first wedding. Yes, I had a first marriage. I have a past, as they say. Anyway, I used the word shit, and quickly apologized, mainly because my sweet grandmother was sitting right next to me. She laughed her musical laugh, and told me in her soft, southern accent that shit didn't take the Lord's name in vain and was therefore not a curse word. All of this leads me to actually taking the Lord's name in vain because what that means -- in vain -- is what I felt right after I watched this video about disabled children in Russia.
Jesus Christ! I said, and it's definitely in vain because these things are happening every single day and no greater power seems to be in power. In fact, it's difficult to not feel cynical and powerless, to not want to retreat into a cave, close yourself off. God works in mysterious ways, be damned. What can we possibly do to alleviate all of this suffering? Yes, this particular video hit particularly hard for obvious reasons. Not only is it horrifying, but it gives me perspective on my own relatively sumptuous life, and that perspective, however hard won, has been buried under a bunch of woe of late. I've always struggled with relativity -- yes, it's all relative, but then it's not. Suffering is in degrees, if you feel it as so, and my suffering -- hell, Sophie's suffering, is relatively miniscule compared to these children and young adults in Russia in the year of our Lord 2014.
Good god almighty! Jesus Christ!
I'm taking the Lord's name in vain, over and over and over.
Oliver asked me the other day whether I believe in hell. I told him that I did believe in hell but not as a place or a time or something fixed. There is hell all around you, I told him. As there is heaven. I told him I actually believed the words of Jesus Christ when He apparently said, The kingdom of God is at hand. I believe that to mean that it's here and now, the present moment -- the kingdom of God. At hand. Here. Now. The present moment. And hell? Apparently, it's in Russia at institutions for the disabled.