Y’all, I caught the Worry Train Express this week. And try as I might, I could not get off. The Worry Train runs on questions. And there were so many knocking around in my brain:
What if they can’t fix my son’s arm “closed reduction” style? What if it isn’t stable and we have to go back next week for “open” surgery? What if his Halloween costume doesn’t fit over his cast? Why does that even matter now?
What are bump stocks? What?! Why did anyone think those were a good idea? Why were they ever legal?
Is my daughter getting enough support and attention? Have I assuaged her fears? Is she really feeling okay about everything? Does she need more reinforcement with her speech? Is she feeling left out of the broken bone party? Did I sign up yet for her parent-teacher conference? Should I push for music lessons?
Why is it more important to protect the freedom of a disturbed man to stockpile weapons with deadly intent than it is to protect crowds of innocent people? The NRA donated how much to campaigns last year?! Why do attorney generals get to make up their mind differently despite ballot initiatives?
How can gun control ever be fixed without campaign finance reform? How can campaign finance reform pass without limits on gerrymandering? Doesn’t anyone care that my voice can be marginalized into silence? Why do conservative courts only ever care about what the framers of the constitution/founding fathers thought? None of them were women! None of them ever had to worry about holding down a job for the health benefits while being pregnant and sick; wouldn’t it be a different world if they did?
How is it okay to tell any woman, “We aren’t going to cover your BC”? Don’t they care at all about the women who are staring down all kinds of health complications if they do have a pregnancy? And if they do care, then why can’t they just respect every woman’s right to privacy?
Those founding fathers never had to worry about their daughters and sons getting mowed down in school or at a concert or movie theater with semiautomatic/modified to automatic assault weapons; so why does it matter what they think? And OMG if you don’t want to bake cakes for people, why did you open a bakery? And if this all gets tied up in religion, then do you also refuse to bake cakes for adulterers, blasphemers, and sinners-at-large? Who exactly are you baking cakes for?
Not easy to nod off at night on the Worry Train Express. And rather than listen to my handsome, loving husband snore, I shuffled out to my reading chair, flicked on my lamp, and opened up my book.
And I read.
I read until 2Am. I read until my eyes were heavy. I read and one by one the questions whirring in my gray cells were shelved to make room for a wonderful writer’s words. My worry was replaced this week by Melissa Bashardoust’s beautiful images of snow and glass. My mind contemplated her themes of love and healing.
I read until my soul was calmed. I read and for a few quiet hours, I escaped the worry. I escaped the avalanche of questions.
The Giver is a favorite MG read of mine. I first read it as a mother, and it was and remains a challenging read for me. But I adore the idea that we have tools to answer impossible questions. Like art, music, literature, theater, film, and dance. And as much as art is the product of one mind, it is the product of many. Melissa thanked 30 people in her acknowledgement. There is a village behind every book that I enjoy. Thank you to everyone in the writing world that gets these stories into my hands. They are all the answer I have some days. They are all that I have to hold on to when it’s late, and I’m too overwhelmed to fall asleep.
My tears continue to fall just as my thoughts continue to be with everyone hurting in Las Vegas. It isn’t fair. It shouldn’t have happened. I want to be part of the change that makes sure it never happens again.