Notes on this World We Live in

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Upcoming Workshops | 0 comments

My friend makes cards. Recently she celebrated the opening of her new Letterpress Studio at the Red Dirt Studio in Mt. Rainier, MD. There she was, radiant with her husband and 6 months pregnant with their child. The atmosphere of the opening was festive, family friendly, art splashed  and happy; with food, wine and lots of chatter.

Her cards say things like:

I go visible when you go online,

Please acknowledge receipt of this card on Facebook,

Our lives are not measured in years-Happy Birthday,

This card is to confirm that we have spoken and you now have my contact information,

Again? Happy Birthday.

They are light, radiant, and very much of her generation.

Today, 3 days after the Paris massacres, I find myself thinking a strange thought. Would I send one of her cards to someone in ISIS? Why am I thinking this? I guess it’s because I have been wondering who they are, these young men ( and women and children) who kill like this. Are they brainwashed? Sounds plausible. What kind of lives do they lead? Who are their families, the ones who always deny knowing anything about this? Do they go online? Do they celebrate birthdays? Do they get to have goofy downtime? Is there anything light or quiet or safe or hopeful in their lives?  I don’t deny the oppression, injustice, abuse, hatred and fear that has been their experience. I’m trying not to be reductionist or simplistic. There is much I do not know. There is much one judges from one’s own cultural lens and perspective. I think everyone agrees that killing is not the answer. Here we are in Washington DC, angry that they have targeted us as their ‘soft target’, irate in fact. How dare they?

Do they ever ‘have a nice day’, that cliche we take for granted but which we also repeat? We do live in a bubble, it’s true. People suffer all around us, it’s true. We get through our lives, many of us, trying to do good, to make some lives better. As social workers, therapists, art therapists, community artists, parents, children etc., we are trying. Should we try harder? Should we demand democratic leadership from tyrants and dictators? Where can we go?

On Mondays, I join a dozen co-horts at the White House. We call ourselves, We the People for Sensible Gun Laws, and we engage others in discussions about making our gun laws protective of innocent victims. We use words and while we do not agree with every person who stops by, we do not fight, yell threats or resort to violence. Will we change our country’s stance on firearms? Maybe and maybe not.

We will go to the White House.

My friend will continue to print her cards and people will smile and give them to a friend or loved one, who will smile or laugh in turn. Because, that’s what we do.

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