Monday, September 22, 2014

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

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.


  1. I'll take your word for it. I can't watch stuff like that because it makes me physically ill. And I, too, struggle with 'relative,' although when I begin comparing traumas (as in, yours is worse than mine, so why the fuck am I complaining?) and start to feel horrible about myself, I am often consoled with something I heard Brene Brown say once. She told a group of us that "trauma doesn't differentiate. There are no degrees of trauma in the brain. In the brain, it all registers as trauma, whether it's sexual assault or a car accident." It reminds me that while there are "more" and "less" horrific things that happen to us all, we cannot discount our own emotional reactions to trauma in our lives because the neurochemical effect is the same on everyone's brain. The best we can do is to have compassion for ourselves and others and try to make the world a better place for everyone. You are surely doing that every day by simply being you and elevating the conversation. Love.

  2. Exactly what Kario said. I have always said that someone else's cancer does not cure my broken leg. I did watch the film. And I remember forty years ago volunteering at an institution in Tallahassee where the conditions were absolutely worse than those in the Russian orphanages shown. Thirty years ago, I did clinicals in nursing school at a state-run psychiatric hospital and the conditions there were almost as appalling and again- worse than what was shown in the film.
    That institution is gone. The hospital is still there and I doubt seriously it is much different now.
    Humanity's shame.
    Jesus Fucking Christ.

  3. I can't even read or look at that image. I so agree, hell and heaven are at hand. They are states of mind, and I swing wildly from one to the other.

  4. Shit!

    I watched it with a heavy heart but smiled at the ray of sunshine that is Dasha!


  5. Couldn't agree more with heaven and hell being right here right now. It looks awful. Like somehow those children are thought to be disposable. I'm afraid we could visit some places here that would make us feel as bad, maybe even worse. Curse away!!!

  6. These used to circulate in the Ds circles constantly, esp for adoption fundraisers… and then Russia shut down all intl adoptions. I can only imagine now… God, I hope they have found peace.

  7. can't watch the movie, wish i could stop the hell.



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