Saturday, January 23, 2010

Small Losses

All day my mind races with thoughts to share here, but then when I sit down to write, everything seems so trivial. I've noticed I've been using that word a lot lately; all of my concerns and worries seem so pointless and silly given that I'm alive, that my husband and children are alive, that I have plenty to eat and drink and am sleeping inside.

Today the children and I went to the public library. I haven't been able to read more than a page or two since the earthquake. My mind wanders and I can't focus. If you know me, or if you used to read this blog pre-January 12th, you know that a me who doesn't read is not the real me. It is one symptom of the displacement, the dislocation, the exile, the total disruption of my life and the life of my dear adopted country.

Boo hoo, poor me. Others have lost everything, and I can't read.

I didn't know what to check out. It needs to be intelligent enough to hold my interest, but no great dramas, please. I thought about the earthquake scenes in Corelli's Mandolin but then thought that would just be too much. I finally settled on a couple of Jane Austen novels - since they are so familiar, perhaps they will be comforting; something by Joanna Trollope, since her books are usually fairly calm, and something historical about Mozart. I also checked out The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, both for the familiarity of it and because I thought about it the night of the quake, and talked about it with my daughter as we were lying under the stars on the soccer field. We talked about the scene where the ship is moving into the darkness, and there is no hope and no way out, and Lucy calls out to Aslan and hears a voice say, "Courage, Dear Heart." We talked about it, and it made us smile, and perhaps gave us a little courage.

Speaking of books, I recognize some books from my classroom in this picture:

It was posted on the blog Ben and Katie in Haiti. This isn't a direct result of the quake, but of classrooms being cleaned out so that the rooms can serve as headquarters for aid. I don't even know what my classroom is being used for, but it's not for teaching.

Again, how can I grieve my lovely classroom when others have lost all they have? And yet I do. I spent six days a week in there for the past four and a half years. I gathered my classroom library with love. I collected everything I could to make my room a place where kids could learn and grow. I prayed for my kids each morning in homeroom. I don't know when I'll see those kids again.

I have pictures of my home after the quake but they seem silly - my bookcases fell down, while others were crushed under their roofs.

I told my kids that they are donating their bedrooms to earthquake relief, since aid workers and doctors sleep in them. They are donating their daddy for earthquake relief. I am donating my classroom and my husband. Not that we had any choice in any of these matters, but at least it makes us feel a little useful.

My losses are so small. The losses of so many countless thousands of others are so great.

1 comment:

Janet said...

I thought of exactly that scene from Dawn Treader in relation to you, and almost quoted it to you. But when push comes to shove, I hardly dare offer any words. I value words so much, but finding some to fit these days is a very personal thing. I'm glad you're finding some.

Your losses are real, and you're carrying the griefs of others too. The time will come when you'll be able to console those who have lost all.