Land of Confusion is a great Genesis song from 1986 - sorta how I feel about the world right now.
I haven't run in a week - 7 days exactly after the marathon - and my run today will be on a crisp, sunny, Autumn day - perfect, my favorite. Perhaps the fact that I haven't run, though, is the reason I've had too much time to do other things and read other things and hear other things. I've seen other aspects of life that maybe running gives me a break from. Or maybe running allows me time to think and process all of these things, and make rhyme or reason out of them. I haven't blogged much in a week either - too much going on in the land and in my head to simplify it to text.
My last week sped by and headed into a whirlwind of a weekend. We were supposed to be out of town at a mountain bike festival, but decided to stay home for my husband to rest his knee, and so we could actually just be home for a couple of days. To rest? Friday I brought 5 kids home after school - 2 not my own. It was a little busy, and then there was soccer and Friday night with a movie and pizza and beer and wine. I denied #1 an overnight at a friends because we needed family time. Saturday we divided and conquered as we like to call it. I took our youngest munchkin to back to back events - a wedding brunch where I have no idea how many mimosas I actually drank, and then a birthday party where I was promptly handed a glass of wine. What's with people drinkin' so early on a Saturday? My husband took the other two munchkins to a soccer game (by city bus - a family member borrowed car #2 for a week) - child #1 came home with dad via a ride from a friend, #2 went to a friends, then later #3 went with dad to pick up #2 - #3 ended up staying along with #2 to play with friend and friend's sister and dad came home. #2 & #3 conferenced with respective friends and coerced respective parents into an overnight. Mom drove over overnight belongings for #2 and #3. We had a lovely evening with #1 - it was after baked potato bar and I was winning Scrabble (10:30) when #2 called and wanted to come home. So I picked up #2, had a horrific nightmare that night, and at 7:30 am, mom of friends called and dad ended up taking #2 back to join #3 at friends while dads fixed breakfast, and later returned with #2 and #3. wow. I think I got all the numbers right.
But really, that's not my land of confusion - that's the reality of my life. It was really what progressed later that day that I struggle with. But I've got to back up and say there was stuff in my head stewing before all this - all week long it worsened. Every day in the paper there is so much negativity about which country is at war - violence, death, shooting - which political proposal isn't being passed. Every night on television are shows of crime scenes, investigations, missing people - no matter which network you watch. I've been reminded that we're a society of people that leave oxygen cannisters at the top of mount everest, we litter outer space when we travel to the moon and space stations, we dig for oil and destroy animal and plant habitats and our own natural space, and then produce exhaust from what we dug up. The state I live in has built miles of roads in national parks, and left them to decay and run into streams to destroy the ecological habitat for the fish. I won't even start with the global warming. In the city in which I live, it seems there are endless political debates on how to approach things, and nobody wants to make a final decision. I could discuss the 520 bridge, that will probably sink with people on it before it gets replaced, or the viaduct project that no one has a good solution for. What the article fails to tell you, is that for the near 60,000 population of west seattle who depend on the viaduct - when it's being replaced, it'll be like having to drive through rush hour traffic 24/7 - I've heard for up to ten years during construction - maybe it's just a rumor.
And if all that wasn't enough to oblitererate my positive outlook on life - there's the school consolidations. It's all everybody talks about right now, no matter where you go. To make the story short - the district needed to close many schools that were under enrollment because it was way in the hole and needed to cut back and save money. So it had to choose which schools to close, and nobody likes that. It's been dragging on for year two right now. Currently, the superintendent has decided to merge the alternative school my children attend with a traditional school. You can imagine the ensuing rage from the school communities. No one supports the proposal. There are board meetings and hearings every week. Everyone has an opinion about it they want to share, and I don't know how much more I can take. And yet, our school is an amazing community - a family, and being part of it, you can't help but wanna fight tooth and nail for it.
And then Sunday afternoon. One more playdate. Our child was frustrated because her friend was very late arriving. But if finally happened - the anticipated arrival - complete with the parent in near tears at my back door, which, after I shooed the children in, and went out with the parent - intensified to hysterical sobbing. We must've spent a couple of hours sitting on the back porch - at one point my husband made coffee and passed it outside to us. I really don't know what to say about it all. The issue is this person's partner, and the near physical and verbal abuse that is being dished out to this parent/friend and the child who is now in my house playing happily with my daugher, almost able to pretend that nothing happened, but is scared for her mom to go back home. It's not good. I don't know if you can cross the line and call it abuse yet - it's a dangerously scary line to cross, but the situation has become severely damaging and harmful. It's a classic case. How long do you wait for the next episode and how much worse will that one be? How many chances do you give? There were problems months ago, and they haven't improved. There's been counseling for a while, but it doesn't seem to be helping. The violence pattern seems to have escalated. I don't think it was so physical before, and now there are threats of more. What do you say to a person in this situation? You want to tell them to run far away, but you can't. They love this person. But it's so obviously a classic case of this person unwilling to let go and hoping it will get better and making excuses, and trying to make it work. The child is living in fear. Fear of what she will do wrong next, because she is constantly being blamed. The parent is questioning what is wrong with herself to bring on such a thing. How do you make them see - truly see what is going on? They are smart people. They are great people. The kind of people you'd never suspect this would happen to. I feel sick inside. The child stayed at our house through dinner - in fact she and my daughter made dinner and had a wonderful time. When I took her home, I felt like I was delivering her to hell. Her mom was the only one home, so it felt okay - then the significant other came home. How do I cope with that - other than to say hi and act nonchalant and eventually say good-bye and go home. I gave the child my cell phone number - just in case. And I told her to use it anytime she wanted. I'm not sure what I'm walking into. I didn't ask for it. It hurts to even think about it all, and I'm not living through it. What's wrong with our world? Maybe things will change and maybe it'll all get better and be a success story. But then am I just thinking like a classic abused individual - denying the reality of it?
So maybe if I start running again this week, I'll process my thoughts and write great posts on the power of a community or the story of the gingerbread man. Maybe I'll read some blogs instead of the newspaper and enlighten myself on happy people in the world.