When the outside world becomes too much for me, like when innocent little kids are maniacally gunned down, I retreat.
I retreat to my indoor oasis, away from the cruel world.
A place where I have at least an illusion of control.
Illusion, of course, because none of us are safe. We could be shot, or hit by a bus, any time. We know that instinctively, but getting our tiny brains wrapped around it, especially in the wake of a tragedy like a school shooting, is not possible.
Death is never going to make sense. We are not allowed the information necessary to piece it all together.
There won’t be a moment when we can go, “Oh right, that’s why innocents had to die, I get it now.”
Because we are mere humans, we don’t get to know the whys.
Life doesn’t work like that.
And we know it.
But we don’t have to like it.
So I retreat.
And I do what I can to build back up my sense of control.
By controlling the retreat.
Organizing the linen closet. Cleaning out the freezer. Rearranging the back hall.
“I may not be able to stop someone bent on causing me harm, but at least I can clean my spice cabinet,” is how the dialogue goes. Truth be told, the dialogue is usually littered with expletives.
What else can I do?
I couldn’t have done anything to stop the school shooting, even if I’d been in that school. I could’ve maybe guarded some kids and kept some people safe, but I couldn’t have stopped the shooting myself. None of us could have.
But I can keep a clean house.
And I can be a good member of this community.
I can be a good citizen for this great country, and for the world.
I can be compassionate to every single person I meet.
And I can rejoice in the itsy bitsiest of luxuries, like having flowers bloom in my warm, safish comfortable home.
(Pictured above, Candy, my Lime tree blooms every December and January.)
(Pictured above: The Dimorphotheca have so far resisted going dormant since moving to the foyer. The flowers have to reach, but they keep coming.)
(Pictured above: The Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) that my wonderful cousin Bill sent me.)
(Pictured above: Schlumbergera ‘Christmas Cactus’ blooms galore on all three plants.)
(Not pictured: My Aeschynanthus has loads of greenish blooms, but I failed to get a decent photo. And my Bougainvillea is finally dropping all of its blooms, only a few stubbornly hold on.)
Something else that helps me not only in the wake of a terrible event, but each and every day, is that before I get out of bed in the morning, I say thank you for one more day.
Then I think about my loving family, my charming and funny friends, and all the kind people I know in the world.
And I say thank you again.
I may be back tomorrow, maybe not. We’ll see, won’t we?