Really, what's going on with the world right now? I can't help feeling like it's about to end. I sit at my kitchen counter during nap-time, watching footage of the Japanese tsunami: water pouring over its boundaries, gathering up the countryside into a mat of houses, cars, and bodies, terrifying, immense. What is this?
I go from my seat at the computer across the kitchen to stir the sweet potatoes cooking on the stove for baby food. I don't know what to do with the contrast: from the incomprehensible to the mundane.
Later, after the kids wake up, we get our stuff together to go to Nana's house for dinner, since Daddy is gone for the night. As we get in the car, the sun is shining its late afternoon glory down on us, and the breeze holds just a hint of coolness. On the way, Grace rolls her window down with her toe, and Emma asks me to roll hers down too. I open the vents in the back of the van to keep the air from thrumming my eardrums. When we get to Nana's, my baby sister - Aunt Catherine - is still there; it's her last night before going back to college. We eat hotdogs on hamburger buns, with ice cream for dessert. For awhile after dinner, we sit on the porch and watch the girls take turns doing "shows" for us. Catherine and my mom try to tell Grace to fix her leotard - it keeps riding up on her buns because she insists on wearing the one that is too small for her because it has "sparkles" even though I bought her a beautiful new one for her birthday with a butterfly and a flowy gauze tutu. She says the skirt is too long. I told her it twirls better. She tried it once, but she's not into it. She wants the one with the two grease stains on the front that gives her a wedgie.
By the time I get the kids back home and in bed it is past 9. When I finally lie down and get quiet on my pillow there in the dark, the day flows back in on me, as it does. I measure my feelings - anxious about this, sad about that, enjoying some things, and under all, a thudding foreboding.
It has been with me lately. Scenes come to me, of hyper-inflation, Shep and I trying to grow vegetables in the backyard (though we don't have a great track record with plants) while fending off roving bands of looters. I see a nuclear blast and New York City gone from the map. I see the wrath of nations poured on Israel. I see the whole world at war.
I see disasters, earthquakes, tsunamis. Will water run over Florida? That terrible wave kicks up dust on the horizon of my mind.
I see women and girls in slavery, kept drugged and in cages, the object of men's appetites. I see abuse, rampant and on the rise, smearing the innocence of one in six boys, defacing the beauty of one in four girls. I see a mountain of bodies: the unborn.
I see a world where I can't let my children out of sight because of perverts, murderers, and slave-traders, where I have to teach a four-year-0ld how to say "NO! THAT'S MY VAGINA AND YOU CAN'T TOUCH IT!" and hope that's actually going to help keep her safe.
I find myself lying awake in fear. Earlier, when I took Max out before bed, the moon was shining so brightly on my pool deck, I wanted to sink into the quietness of the night, the utter peace. It's strange to have such a dichotomy: the world of moonlight and afternoon sunlight, of going to bed and getting up in the morning, of doing the laundry and dishes, of raising the children, co-existing with the world of tsunamis, terrorism, political uprisings, shifting world powers, and economic disaster.
I do not fear God's wrath. I know it was suffered for me. But I fear this gathering storm. What is happening? Is it going to hurt my children?
I turn over in bed, fingering the bracelet I made for Lent and praying, "Abba, I belong to you. Abba, I belong to you. Abba, I belong to you" as many times as I need to to remember: I'm his. He can do with me as he pleases. And I've seen what he does with his own.