Monday, November 26, 2012
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Claire liked Thanksgiving at her grandfather's house in Florida. She would run up and down the sidewalk in front of the house in the sun. "Moon! Moon! Moon!" she called out to the big sky, even though it was the middle of the day.
Then, a popping sound brought her to a dead stop. The quality of her voice changed. "Loud," she said tentatively, while her legs carried her backwards. "Pop…Pop…Pop, Pop," rang out in rapid fire. She raced to my side and cried, "Loud!" This time with more conviction. I tried soothing her, but she couldn't get used to the sound. Eventually, we went inside.
Claire was hearing a firing range about a mile away from our gated community. It seemed counterintuitive to say to her that everything was alright. After all, gunfire should be feared. But it was unsettling to see her so upset. There really wasn't any danger anyway. And I was angry that she couldn't continue to play. I wished that I could explain to her that it was ok to ignore the popping sound, like the rest of us do.
Just like I've learned to ignore that people fear their children dying everyday. The sound of the firing range began to feel real to me too. I tried to imagine what I would tell my daughter then. I pictured what a fear-filled life would look like. I envisioned my daughter's world shrinking to fit into a small, sheltered place. I thought of the unimaginable happening.
Oh, but I think too much; I went too far with the last bit. So I reminded myself that it was only a firing range, that we were free from harm behind gates and privilege.
I felt safer again. I felt thankful for our life.
But I had gone back to ignoring. And I felt ashamed of myself.