Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thank God

I could never be any sort of administrator.  The stress of trying to wrangle too-big personalities and narcissists who self-promote under the guise of philanthropy makes my neck burn red and creep up into my cheeks with the onset of nausea.  I am not exaggerating.  It's that stressful to me.  So today at work, I felt deep relief to be at my beloved tasks of tending to elders by doing things such as hugging, checking in on those with doctors' appointments, giving the one who lives close to my kids' school a lift like we always do on Tuesday mornings, helping another work on his application to bring his wife here (a wife he has not seen in five years). 

At one point this afternoon, two of the East African staff began talking about a little girl they know who suffers with nightmares about witchdoctors in Ethiopia whom she calls "buda."  This led to a discussion about the supernatural folktales of rural regions and how it affects those who grow up being told that certain families are of the devil, can possess others and cause blood to leak from their eyes, and ride on the hyenas in the darkness of night.  No wonder this poor girl has nightmares.  Those are some scary images there.

Scary also was the moment when I got a text from a friend-like-family back home across the country asking if I was okay and letting me know about the shooting that had just happened in my city.  I hadn't heard about it before that point as we texted while I sat next to my daughter during her dentist appointment.  I immediately read on the news that two had been killed, more wounded, and of course, my heart started pounding in sense-memory of this day fifteen years ago.

I went on facebook and saw the messages from locals expressing their shock and letting their people know they are safe.  What bothers me is when people then say they are "thankful," especially those who had been close to the crime scene.  How does thankfulness ever factor in to this?  On that day fifteen years ago when I was down the hall from a shooter who killed two, I never at any point afterwards felt thankful.  Thankful that it wasn't me?  This notion that, in these tragedies, God protects some and leaves others to perish is something I have a huge problem with.  It reminds me of that line by Bono in that awful song "Do They Know It's Christmas": "And tonight thank God it's them instead of you."  From the time I first heard that line, I wondered if it was supposed to be ironic.  I hope so, because if not, that means that Bono is a tool and a douchbag.

This is my blog.  I can say 'douchbag' right?

So tonight be glad it's them instead of you.  Thank God you and your loved ones were the one who missed the bullet, that your daughter is not the one suffering nightmares about witch doctors, that you are not the one separated from your beloved spouse for five years and counting.  Better them than me.

Thank God.


  1. Bono is a giant douche bag. I always thought he meant it ironically. Also you should blame Bob Geldof who wrote the song who probably didn't mean it ironically. Did they have irony in the 1980s? I don't remember. I am glad you are blogging so much

  2. I remember watching an episode of The View , while at the gym(I don't watch voluntarily), after the tsunami in Sri Lanka. One of those whiny ladies was "thanking god" that she had just missed the tsunami. She had been there a week earlier. I wanted to reach though the TV and flick her in the nose. Really?
    I love that you're blogging again. I always look forward to your posts.