Waking Up, Upside Down: A Prayer of Sorts for the Big Guy

This is one of my stranger late-night/half-asleep “visions” in some time.  (Visions sounds more profound than delusions.)

I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to hear my child crying in distress from her room.  I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter, a la ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and when I entered the room I found her completely turned around in her bed, with her little head at the foot board and her toes at the top.  Nearly unconscious herself, she was confused and scared and had no idea how to right herself.  Her eyes were closed the whole time.

While I worried that maybe she would be up for hours after this, all it took was me gently repositioning her and covering her up with her quilt.  She immediately snuggled back to sleep without a word, tears still bright on her cheeks.   Back where she belonged, all was right with the world in a matter of seconds.

So this event is not the weird part.

The weird part is as I staggered back to my own bed I suddenly had complete clarity that I should pray for the former Governor of California and his family.  But mostly for him as an individual.  In that wee hour of the morning, walking away from my confused child who was easily comforted, my brain went to one of the — allegedly — most invulnerable men in the world.

When I say pray for him, that was beyond my capacity.  It still is in the truest sense of the word pray.  But I did make an effort as I was falling back asleep to think kind thoughts about his suffering, and to wish him some telepathic comfort.

I seriously wonder sometimes how much we change from childhood to adulthood.  One of the reasons I created Essays on Childhood is I am convinced that so much of who we are and what we need as children stays with us in formative ways throughout our lives.

I’ve been negative on Arnold and his whole proverbial show for a long time; yet now I see him as a child who woke up upside down and had no idea what to do next.  This 10 year delay in telling his wife about his son with another woman is totally bizarre, unless you imagine a child’s mind that found itself somewhere it had no intention of going.  It’s like he was waiting this whole decade for someone else to turn him around.

Now I know, he is not a child.  He made conscious choices and a lot of people are paying an awful price.  The man is accountable.  He was not a sleeping kid.  I suppose it is possible that he is a horrible human being who is much more flawed than anyone else and that he deserves no empathy from anyone.  Believe me, I generally feel a lot of righteous anger when I rant about how disrespectful, narcissistic and unpleasant he is.  How he represents the qualities I find most retch-inducing in humanity and how if I have to see his jerko face one more time I’m going to scream.

I still sort of prayed for him.  For some strange reason, it felt right.

Image credit:  i am the closet geek

“The Vault” – Seinfeld and WikiLeaks

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine says, “You can tell me.  I’ll put it in the vault.”  Jerry says, “No good.  Too many people know the combination.”  He then makes a motion with his hand as if having a drink.  Elaine protests, but later — naturally — we find out Jerry was right.  Elaine can’t keep a secret when she’s drinking.  And Elaine enjoys a drink.  (“The Vault” shows up in several Seinfeld episodes.)

I love the concept of “the vault” because Elaine is rock-solid sure she can keep a secret.  She’s a character of many delusions, that’s part of her charm.  For some reason I keep thinking about Elaine Benes every time I read about WikiLeaks, and I know that’s silly but there it is.  This is certainly a much higher-level situation than old boyfriends or office gossip, and yet I suppose I will forever be of the generation that views bizarre situations through the Seinfeld interpretive lens.  It’s probably just a coping mechanism.

Is it me, or is there something really strange about the alleged amazement that U.S. taxpayers fund child prostitution for military recruitment in other countries, or that diplomats talk trash behind each others’ backs?  I don’t think anyone is genuinely surprised.  I think we are genuinely angry that now we have to deal with it.

In college we had a joke that you could pass a two-year course in Humanities by simply writing, “Knowledge = Responsibility” on your final exam.  If no one can substantiate suspicions of the worst kind, the world will keep turning and we can go about our merry way.  It is those moments when the blinders come off that for a moment the world stops turning, and we all have to take a look at where we will put down our foot that’s in mid-air.  The beat is disrupted.  Nothing looks or sounds the same, and there is a real danger of falling down.  Hard.

Julian Assange is like the rest of us.  He is not all good, and he is not all bad.  At the end of the day my chip is on the bet that we will be very glad he forced the world to deal with serious issues of transparency and truth, and with the reality that words and actions have consequences.  Too often we seem to operate as if it doesn’t matter what’s going on as long as “it’s a secret.”

Shhhhhh…….the Internet can’t hold its liquor.

Knocking from Inside

“I was banging on the door, then I realized I was knocking from inside.” — Rumi

The Post Secret Project is not just an eye-opener, it can open minds and hearts as well. 

Initiated in 2004 by Frank Warren, it started out as a “creative prank” that invited strangers to “artistically share their deepest secret on a postcard and mail it to (Mr. Warren) anonymously.” One of the key rules to the project is that submissions must be genuine secrets, things that the writer has never shared with anyone else before.

Everyone has secrets.  We may not call them by that name, but even small children do things or have thoughts that they don’t share with others.  I suspect that if you think you don’t have any secrets, you might have several from yourself.  It’s not a bad thing, and it’s not a good thing.  It is just part of the insecurities, fears, passions, and devotions of being human.

This past week I participated in a spirited conversation about God, the Christian Bible, and divine inspiration.  It all began with a CNN Opinion piece entitled, “The Bible Has Some Shocking Family Values.”  It was a very respectful exchange, and yet I was left feeling that a lot of it was posturing and representative of what some people felt they were supposed to say versus what they may really believe.  I remembered the latest Post Secret book on my nightstand, Post Secret:  Confessions on Life, Death, and God.  I flipped through the book, and it was not a minute before I remembered why it came to mind.  Consider these confessions from page ix of the Foreword:

“I am a Southern Baptist Pastor’s Wife.  No one knows that I do not believe in God.”

“I am an editor for a large online atheist newsletter and I believe in GOD!!!”

These secrets are obviously extreme examples of the things people keep hidden from the world, in large measure because they are trying to live up to what — they think — everyone else expects of them.  This book in particular but the entire project overall illustrates a pattern of connecting and disconnecting elements of spirituality and sexuality in human experience, and how people strive to be and do what they think is right but how often that perception is not part of an honest reality.

In fairness to all of us, sometimes “honest reality” is a mess.  I still don’t know that I believe everything needs to be out there.  It may, I just don’t know.  Still, I wonder what the world would be like if we were more willing to put down the script and say, “I have no idea.  I’m working on that, how about you?”

Oh, and P.S…….don’t miss the project’s website, with new secrets posted each Sunday.  My favorite from October 31, 2010, due to it’s Halloween holiday appropriateness:  “I like going on the M&M’s website and writing dirty words on chocolate.”  After all, some secrets are just funny!

Image credit: ABC News