looking through me

Tag: family

living in memories

I slid the egg into my coat pocket and headed out the door.

Its cold presence pricked my memory and reminded me of Grandpa taking hard-boiled eggs in his lunch when he worked as a church custodian. I pictured Grandma standing in front of the open refrigerator, hand hesitating in midair, a tiny smile curling the corners of her mouth before she grabbed an egg and placed it in Grandpa’s lunch pail.

I’m sure she grinned all morning in anticipation of the moment he’d be sitting on the couch, chatting with Max, unpacking his lunch. She knew he used the wooden piece on the top of the arm to crack his eggs. I wonder if she had more fun imagining his shock at cracking open a raw egg or him frantically trying to clean egg off the couch’s upholstery.

She never could tell the story without dissolving into laughter. It tickled her every time . . . it took a few years before it tickled Grandpa, though even in his exasperation he couldn’t help but smile and shake his head at the delight it brought her.

This morning I noticed my own smile as I reached for the egg in my pocket. It was hard boiled, but I cracked it in the break room and peeled it over the trash can anyway.

 

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too much

The headlines are maddening. New—but not—every day. Shootings. Bombings. Protests. Finger pointing. Name calling. Scandals. Broken Promises. Natural Disasters. Wars and rumors of wars.

Even as I process the details I feel a little less shocked than I was by the last fill-in-the-blank atrocity.

I feel my heart hardening. Because how can I care about all of it? There’s simply too much. The scope is too big to swallow. The pain is too great to comprehend. It’s easier to look away.

Then I remember why I have to care.

I Skype with my long-distance nieces. I see the older one’s art projects and hear about soccer. I watch the younger one crawl for the first time.

I spend an evening with my local niece and nephew. I play make believe and Zingo. I throw paper airplanes and read stories. I give good night hugs and kisses.

And love roughs up my calloused heart.

Looking into the eyes of my brothers’ children I remember statistics are more than numbers. They have faces and names.

I check on sleeping children tucked soundly in suburban beds, and I think of how many children aren’t growing up in a safe place be it their home, their city, their country or their refugee camp.

The death tolls rattled off by the media rip un-mendable holes in families and communities whether it’s half a block from me or half a world away. And that doesn’t go away with the news cycle.

So . . . I listen and learn. I choke on the hatred and horror, but I don’t turn away.

 

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