Questions Without Answers

There has been art this week. I am in the middle of something as I write this, but tonight isn’t a night for sharing art. It is a night about questions. I made a piece of art last week. It was a homemade postcard for my dad. It was a simple watercolor encouraging him to get well enough to come to California. Unfortunately that remains to be seen. If you have followed this blog over the last year and a half you probably surmised that my mother’s death wasn’t an easy one. That’s one of the reasons that I have questions about my dad’s condition now. For my sisters and I our mother’s death was a long three weeks of suffering, both ours, our dad’s, and obviously much more so hers. Now it is my dad who hasn’t been well for weeks. In his case it isn’t that he is even close to dying, but that we are losing him in another way. Again I won’t share details, his privacy, our pain. I can say that I am personally questioning why? Why again must we watch one of our parents suffer so much? I don’t have any answers. I only have bewilderment, pain, fear, and of course prayer.

There was another question in my life this week. Not my question, but one of an innocent eight year old who asked me what prejudice means, what racism means. Tough questions. There are of course definitions to be offered, but really no explanations. This is a child of mixed race. He is a beautiful child, a child who has unfortunately known incredible pain in his life far too soon. He is a child that some people might not like simply because of his beautiful warm brown skin. I explained the best I could, but in the end I offered him only this: We are all the same inside, and that I have no answers to why people are who they are. I wish I did. I wish I could offer him more. I wish that I had some magic that could make the world a better place. Maybe I do, maybe we all do, one child at a time.



The “Right” Kind

I’m back. For a moment at least. Banged up, exhausted, and in a not so great state of mind, but there is something else. Something that got under my skin today, something that bugged me so much that I stopped focusing on my situation. I tend to obsess…a lot. I told Dan I felt a “rant” coming on….well, here goes…I was outside trimming trees, and bushes, and improving the “curb appeal” of my home. Dirty, tired, and with hands that are covered in bandages from blisters that developed, and then tore open in the same day. Not in an either bad or good frame of mind, but lost in thought, and to a certain extent content in the moment. I love the garden. I love the physical aspect of gardening. I get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing my efforts bloom, to feel the earth in my hands. A neighbor approached. She is new to the street, she has been here for only a few months. We had taken the time to introduce ourselves to both this woman and her husband, but other than that nothing more than a quick hello, and friendly wave. She announced that she was nosy. She had been observing us in the last few weeks as we moved boxes to a nearby storage locker, noticed us cleaning up the garden, and the arrival of a dumpster on Monday. “I assume you are moving. I had to know. We will miss you.” To begin with, miss me? You don’t know me. Second, I’m not nosy. I really don’t care what my neighbors are up to. I told her that yes, we were indeed moving. At this point I will admit I am already annoyed. I don’t like being disturbed, and particularly when someone wants to gain information that is none of their business. Except this woman apparently has a vested interest in the sale of my home. She informed me that she knew people who might want to buy my home. Great, right? No, because that was followed by comments concerning the “right” kind of people. Because we need to be careful who we allow to buy our home. I’ve run into this type before. I may have even mentioned it here. The colorless people such as myself who believe that since we share the same pasty complexion, we must also share the same ignorant, racist, discriminatory sensibilities. Not the case. I happen to believe that we are all the same, well maybe not, because some of us are so ignorant as to believe that the color of skin makes us different. We aren’t. Just in case I was mistaken I decided to visit the woman who lives next door to her. We have been friendly on and off for several years, gone to lunch, been at each others homes for parties, etc., she is Persian. She was born in Iran, but raised in the East here in the U.S., she is Muslim, but she is so much more than what she may look like, or how she chooses to worship. She is a funny, interesting woman, a good wife and mother, with two very beautiful daughters. She also does a killer job of decorating her house for Christmas. I went over to tell her in person that I am moving, and promised to keep in touch. We talked about the new neighbor. I told my friend I was curious if they had met. They had. My friend had brought doughnuts to welcome the new people, because that is the kind of lovely woman she is. Since then the husband has spoken to her, but not the wife. I guess my friend isn’t the “right” kind. It’s sad to me. If the new neighbor would take the time to get to know the woman next door she might discover that us moms are pretty much alike, that this woman is a friend that can be counted on, that she is generous and thoughtful, that because of the world we live in sometimes people aren’t nice to her, and she turns her other cheek. Sounds like something someone else I’ve heard of would do. He wasn’t pasty white either. I guess I’d better not sell him my house.