I'm feeling an unfortunately familiar nagging agitation in the pit of my stomach, a worrisome doubt in the back of my mind, the kind of concern that buries itself in your subconscious while you're eating dinner with friends, or working at your job, or cleaning your house. Then you happen by a TV set, turn on the car radio, or pull up your home page on the computer, and you're reminded that there is evil afoot in the world, and it could be cataclysmic. Today's "fresh hell," as Dorothy Parker used to say, is of course the situation in the middle east. Let me clarify that by saying, the "escalating" situation in the Middle East, because for as long as I can remember, there has been some sort of situation there. I don't pretend to have an understanding of the historical or political basis for what's happening right now between Israel and Lebanon. I do know that once again we are being inundated with pictures of refugee families being forced from their homes, and soldiers being kidnapped and tortured. Here at home, our stock market is "tanking" and our gasoline prices are "soaring."
For most average US citizens, it was 9/11 that brought the impact of the middle east conflict right to our doorstep. While I did not personally know anyone directly affected by that tragedy, as an American, I was of course deeply affected in my heart. My husband and I were on an airplane ourselves that morning. We were heading to Florida to help our son and daughter in law move into their first home. We made an "unscheduled landing" in Greensboro, North Carolina, where we were billeted in a lovely hotel for three days until flight restrictions were lifted. It was a minor inconvenience at worst. But the feeling of being "trapped" halfway between our home and our child, with no way of getting to either one, was just enough of a wake up call to make us realize that this was very serious stuff going on. It was the first time in my experience that world events had so directly affected my everyday life, and it was an extremely frightening feeling.
Ordinary citizens in Middle Eastern countries live with far, far worse situations every day. It is unimaginable to me that you could raise children, tend to the elderly, go to school and work, just go through the motions of an everyday life when the ever present threat of death and destruction is right outside your door.
This volatile world situation makes everything we do here in our lives seem so superfluous. What difference does it make whether I get new carpet in my family room? Who cares whether I get offered that new job in the school district? So what if I don't have time to write a new post for my blog today?
Sometimes I feel like an irate preschool teacher, and I just want to shout to the world "Why can't you all get along? If you can't settle your differences peaceably, then it's time out for all of you!"
The conflicts between nations and ideologies seem as old as time itself. They are senseless, illogical, devastating, and evil. They are everpresent. Meanwhile, I continue to pursue the insignificant drama that comprises my daily life, and be ever thankful that my physical pain consists of nothing more than "a nagging agitation in the pit of my stomach." Oh, there's one more thing I can do. Pray - for peace.