Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fragments of Maps

More than one child died in an automobile accident today. Somewhere a man in despair took his own life. In Montreal a gunman opened fire on innocent bystanders. Glass lies broken on the street. Blood and brain tissue stain the wall adjacent to the hole made by the bullet and its fallen victim lies below. Montreal citizens run from a source of evil unseen.

How do we explain such things to young minds and hearts when it makes no sense to our seasoned minds and hearts?

Some blame God. Some blame mankind. Hate mounts, even among citizens of the same national and familial origin.

As a youth I asked many questions of religious leaders, particularly the ones I grew up around. I asked about pain and suffering. I asked about the early unreasoned death of a child with cancer. I asked and then I asked some more.

I was pointed toward the writings of C.S. Lewis. I was pointed to the words of Jesus. I was told it didn’t matter; all that matters is recognizing that God knows. I was looked at with blank looks that hoped the ceiling might catch on fire to divert attention from my question.

I dismissed the ‘it doesn’t matter' answer as searchers sloth and spiritual surrender.

I’m still asking and searching.

Fragments of maps litter my path. Pieces of map that point toward another part of the map I can’t find. Nightmares wake me in the darkness. Light illuminates a thought until I think I might hold the thought in my pen, only to find it is quicker than ephemeral, evaporating like vapor escapes into the sky. I squeeze my eyes to focus my brain, but it is gone again, this vapor of understanding that teases me and then turns resolutely to punishment.

We pick up the glass from the pavement and we scrub the walls. We search for the gunman. Day after day. Week after week. Then we leave earth and the others follow behind to do our work, leaving us resembling a retired employee never missed.

I know God will not give me the answer unless I search. Maps litter the path I have walked; more wait to be unfolded. I look to the earth and shed tears for those whom we would answer, 'it doesn't matter.'


eddie said...

Very nice :)
Maybe we exchange links? - my blog.
If so then write me on mail, or speak in comments on my site :)

superstar said...

just a good life

Ilias- said...

This is great Seven. I appreciate reading this as the maps are not really the travels. They may suggest courses taken by others, but those like yourself who have charted their own course are inspiring to the search for self - for those who wish to find out something more about themselves - for those who recognize that they are unique flames from the one fire and wish to brighten their flame - for those who appreciate a well told story - or for those who recognize truth to be the most important medium for communication. Thanks for this - very nice.

lynilu said...

Is there an answer?

Enemy of the Republic said...


I'm sure there is an answer or more than one, but it may not satisfy us or make sense. It's just so complicated. I ask similar questions, but I am coming to realize that suffering and pain has to be embraced--the murder in Detroit does affect me, the starving baby in the Congo is part of my being, the domestic abuse of a wife down the street is somehow encompassing my reality, whether I know it or not. Why do I say this? Because we are part of this world--obviously we are limited in what we can do, but not in what we know and sense. Veterans come home from Vietnam and get spit on and blamed for the war. But did they start it? Why aren't the nonveterans spat on--they created it and supplied the weapons. In other words, all situations are somehow connected and all people are to blame as they are also innocent as well. I know this sounds weird and I hope I am communicating it as I wish to, but we all have a war in our head, we all feel the suffering that Seven writes about, even if it has a different name. Therefore, the connection is there. But what do we do about it? The mapping is a good start.

Good post, Seven.

Jenn said...

Ahhh Seven. Good post.

Having a 2 year-old right now, 'why?' is something I hear a hundred times a day. I know it's the beginning of a long road of 'whys'. I like it though..even though sometimes my answer is 'I don't know'...or even 'because'. So far - we haven't had to touch on the ugliness yet..and that's something that I don't look forward to doing.

I know that I am a real curious gal about the 'whys'...but only to a point. First I need to know if I can make a difference if I know the 'why'. Then it's really important to me to understand why and how things happen.

Sometimes - knowing the 'why' is too hard. Maybe it's lazy. I hope not. Sometimes knowing the 'why' is actually detrimental.

Sometimes, it's just 'because'.

Have I made ANY sense at all?

~gkw said...

7 - Excellent post. The answers ARE there, but we have to find them on our own. That is the journey, putting together the pieces of the map. Sometimes you never find the answers... sometimes you do.

Shy Gal said...

7 - That was great. You are a truly inspiring writer.

Have you considered that the answer, in part, is in the question? Why is suffering allowed? Why are we cruel to each other? Why do the innocent suffer? Where is the justice in it all?

Because you ask these questions means that they have affected you. Because you recognize it for what it is you are compelled to share your views about it and change people's lives. It's amazing how even a simple smile can touch someone deeply. You are a good person and you care.

This seemingly senseless violenece and suffering MAKES us ask the big questions. And that is where true change occurs; with each of us.

A river is made up of many little drops of water but it can move stones.

patti_cake said...

I ask "Why" all the time. Sometimes I get an answer that satisfies me.. sometimes not and I keep seeking. That's really all you can do is keep seeking. Great post Seven, you definitely keep me on my toes and keep my brain from turning to mush and all the while being so darn good-looking! BEG is so lucky :)

Robert Shapiro said...

Seven, I know you are dedicated to the search and more often than not - encouraging others to search as well.
This is a very good thing and I salute you for it. Keep up the good work.

Grant said...

Tell the kids it's because there is no god and bad stuff can happen at random. That way they can take comfort in the fact that they don't deserve all the rotten things that happpen to them. Remember, only the good die young.

To quote the Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight - "Bad is good, baby. Down with government!"

lynilu said...

EOTW - you got what I hoped to evoke . . . the may not be AN answer, but there are answerS. I see everything in our world as being "fluid," so to speak. The answer for one person may be different that it is for another, or my answer now might be something else tomorrow. Yes, we need the maps. The maps don't show us the answer, but they give us a preview of the path's bounty.

I wonder sometimes how we humans live life as if there is an answer. One answer does not suffice.

Seven said...

As always thank you for the thorough reading and taking the time to look for my meanings. Your insight always pleases and the compliments make me smile.

I beleive there are answers and I will continue on this subject (probably) for a couple of posts. I am confident that 'it doesn't matter' is not the ANSWER. So I will search on and write on.

Mrs. Enemy
Like you know how to do, you have assimilated the thought completely. If we are not engaged or affected, can we work toward a solution? I think the answer 'it doesn't matter' is nothing more than a disengagement.

You are in the very place I speak of here when I ask how do we answer this for the young mind. Perhaps someday she will ask the hard qquestions. My advice is to never ever say 'it doesn't matter'. Maybe say, "I don't know, but everyone including me is trying hard to understand, and you can help us think little one." I think this is better, don't you?

Thanks for the visit gkw. Yes, all true what you said in my opinion. I think we can also find and not realize it?

shy gal,
Yes, and knowing you personally I can attest to my other commenters that you are genuine in your compassion and kindness. The Real McCoy as we say in Texas. I like this idea that the question propels us to the answers. I belieeve this. I don't like the idea of shrugging our shoulders and saying 'it doesn't matter.'

I may have to come spank you personally. And, I will be certain to point out this comment to BEG; she certainly needs to know how lucky she is!

You know of course how much you inspire me in your writing and your work. In fact this one is rebounding off our recent exchanges. Since we commented to one another I can't get that song 'Do you Believe in Magic?' out of my head. I encourage all of my readers to look at Robert's site Benevolent Magic (in my blogroll) for Robert's consistent and inspired writing.

Yes I agree. I will shoot at this tin can in a couple of more posts. Maybe we can wear oursleves out?

lynilu said...

seven - Don't misunderstand my point. It certainly matters. Yes, please shoot it several times!

Jenn said...

ooohhh...I like that. I kind of do it already but not in such an eloquent way. When I don't know the answer, I'll say, "I don't know. What do you think?" Thanks!