Sunday Morning ~ Dark Eyes, Happy Heart
Maso a usiku anagona ndi wa khate. ~ Eyes full of darkness slept with a leper.
~ Chewa proverb
February 23, 2020
I’ve been in a news blackout this week and can feel my heart and nerves a little calmer. I hadn’t planned on it, but my granddaughter was with me for her school vacation and it just happened. Without a television, I get my news from the radio and it is very much part of my morning routine. I walk downstairs, feed the cat, put the tea kettle on, and turn on the radio. Alone in the house, I’ve come to regard the hosts of the morning radio show as friends. Though really, this has nothing to do with being alone since I’ve done this everyday of my adult life, even when the house was full of people. After a fasting from news for a week though, I can see how anxious I’ve become about the current state of affairs. Well, I knew I was anxious, but didn’t know how anxious. It’s become a way of life. It’s like knowing your job is stressful but not realizing how stressful until you aren’t doing it anymore.
I believe being informed is a civic responsibility but got a glimpse this week of how utterly calming it is to be ignorant. I know I can’t keep this up and on my long car ride home today I’ll listen again, but it has been a sweet respite. I know I can’t keep my head in the sand forever, but it has been refreshing. Having an innocent human with me for a week has been lovely. What a treat to wake every morning with a bright little face smiling at me. We talked about our dreams. We propped ourselves up in my sunny bedroom and looked through books. We piled cookbooks around us and sought ideas for her brother’s birthday cake. We sipped our tea and imagined this was the most important decision in the world. We discussed how to pull it off, how to transport it back home. We punctuated our conversation with “Good idea!” and “Hadn’t thought of that!” We sewed a birthday present, we made a card, we experimented making different shaped loaves of bread. We baked cookies. It all seemed joyful and important and I couldn’t bring myself to mar the week imparting current events that seemed vulgar and filthy in our clean, safe, bubble of a world.
She watered the plants. I watched what joy she took in doing that chore. I soaked up her eagerness to help and be part of something good. I thought of a nurse I used to work with who came to work one day upset after watching a documentary on World War II. She said, “I was a young girl when that was happening. I went about my life as carefree as ever. I had no idea.” I wondered if my granddaughter would be saying something like that when she was in her 50’s. I shook off that thought as if it might lead to the worst case scenario. I felt no dilemma about protecting her. I wanted to do that at all costs, at least while it’s possible. I said a prayer we could turn things around, that when I looked again, things might be better. But for one week, all was right in our world.
One snowy afternoon we walked to neighbors’ house to bring them some of the cookies we’d baked. We walked home after dark and she was scared. She said she didn’t like walking at night near a “haunted” forest. I told her I do it all the time. I feel like the forest is enchanted, not haunted. Nice people live in all these houses tucked back in the woods. If we needed help, they would help us. She relaxed a little and thought about that. It was a perspective she hadn’t considered. I told her I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her and she believed me. I thought about making promises I couldn’t keep, knowing there will be a day I can’t protect her from evil things. For this week, though, I pretended to both of us that I could.
Love to all,