Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Stupid World

I was walking my dogs down the street, our morning routine. But this morning was different, my heart was heavy and  my mind racing. You see I can't seem to get the image of that guy being beheaded out of my mind. I should clarify that I haven't actually seen the video and I don't intend to look for it, but I still can't shake the image. Walking and trying not to trip over the dog leashes in my quiet neighborhood I couldn't make sense of it - of the vulgarity and brutality, that humans can be so devoid of mercy.

I am an adult and I can barely stand it - don't even know what to do with the emotions this evokes. And if it were just these few incidents, it would be hard enough. But it isn't. Violence is pervasive, a real part of humanity that we can't ignore or deny. How do I explain this to my kids? How do I explain God to my kids, or Allah, or whatever name people hide behind when it seems like we are farthest from divinity?

I wanted to walk and to clear my mind, but it just wasn't clearing. A house door opened and a young mom walked out onto her front porch carrying her baby.
"See, two dogs. One dog, two dogs." I could hear her telling her child in the sweet tones of a mom who is not thinking about decapitation or how seriously fucked up her son's world actually is.
"One dog, two dogs." Maybe the baby raised two fingers or giggled. I don't really know, my eyes suddenly full of tears. I felt like I needed to run home, to get away from this perfect scene before I corrupted it with my own despairing thoughts .

I also wanted to stay and to listen to this exquisite little conversation. Mom makes observations, baby smiles and responds. Everything she told him was true and wonderful. There were exactly two dogs walking by. I didn't stick around but I am sure that the next thing she said was equally loving and correct. Maybe she mentioned the clouds, which were plentiful and with a hint of a promise of rain. "Clouds, grey." Maybe they switched gears and she started talking abstractly about how much she loved him. I knew I had to keep moving.  She wasn't telling him the whole story. When would she talk to him about death? That would be hard enough, but what about murder? War?

I thought of my own daughters, old enough that we don't count dogs together anymore; old enough to hear the news on the radio on the way to school in the morning. Sometimes they ask questions, difficult questions. And I try to answer as well and as honestly as I can, even though I don't have any answers, not to the really tough questions anyway.
"Dad. Can we just listen to music?"
"Sure honey, of course."
"Dad. Did you see the deer?"
"No. How many were there?"
"At least two."


  1. I must say, those beheadings are awful. I refuse to watch them, but the fact that they used what appears to be an old camping knife makes it that much worse. Barbaric.

  2. Man! Your observation really hit home, (Wiping tear from eyes).