By Ken LaRive
A born optimist, (I have been called that); I have given men the benefit of the doubt. They have most often failed me however.
I know, as a situationalist, that there must to be something bigger, something far more sensitive, something more to believe that can transcend the thoughts and actions of men. Though I have tried and found little truth, I can’t loose my faith in God. Seeing myself so small, so vulnerable, I choose to believe. You see, it seems that if I didn’t have that particular kind of faith, I could not go on. I would not do myself in, but I could no longer consider myself a human being, as everything would then be considered some great cosmic joke.
Christmas is a time of reflection, and with the world in such turmoil these days, it seems my thoughts go to some of the more somber times. Though this happened between thirty-five and fifty years ago, I remember them like they had occurred yesterday.
I have seen a child with MS ask his dad to walk. His dad knew he would not live to see twenty five, and I remember his face as he carried him on Boy Scout outings with us. He, his dad, brother and mother are al long gone now, but their faith and goodness stay with me every day.
I once listened to the grandmother of a girl of 17 on her death bed begged her mother not to let her die. She said: “Mom, I want to live. I don’t want to die! Help me mom...” She told me of the anguished cry from the mother as she held her those last hours. Those memories stay with me, as I watched each of them go.
I have watched our country slowly die, and what made us great, what we held up to God as example, disintegrate by evil, self motivated and self centered ideals, and the fear that fills our hearts as change sweeps over us unchecked. Its memory fills me with such loathing, such loss, I seem paralyzed. What we find is out of our control saps the strength from our arms. What men have done for power and control our children and their children we will pay for, no doubt.
I have watched grown men, grandfathers, fist fight at a stop light, and while I could barely shave I watched the flash of bombs falling in pristine jungles with words like “Fuck You” and “eat this” written on them by my friends...
...a live cow put into an augur by a forklift, the skinned cats of PI, the elephants of Equatorial Guinea, and their cries of pain eco in my mind, They remind me of the many many things I have seen us do to animals around the world, so insensitive we are to pain not our own.
I have seen a pile of cubes, black on one side and white on the other, piled on my neighorbor’s lawn, a cut up black lady, and her husband in handcuffs, when I was six.
I watched a government official cry on television as my parents were dying in the heat, without water, and I was blocked from going to them by officers and snipers who both thought what they were doing the right thing, and the officers who took their own life that night.... oh God.
I watched children in my neighorborhood grow up to be suicidal homosexuals, alcoholics, and child abusers. A woman burned to death because of the bars she had put up for protection, a man who killed himself and his wife because of the horrible cancer she had, and the man who lost his daughter because she tried to hold in vomit at Mount Carmel, and no one knowing what to do to save her, and he, just two years later shot dead in front of his wife and their other child by three men in a car wanting his wallet in broad daylight in front of his house freshly painted with a Christmas wreath of twinkling lights, as the man who had poisoned his dog just a year before, for barking at night, came to his rescue trying to stop the blood from poring from his chest, (he cried and cried, they all did, but he died in their bloody arms), and I at twelve, had just set cherry bombs with fuzzy fuses in front the house across the street because I didn’t like one of his red-headed daughters... He died of cancer, his wife long gone of leukemia, his house leveled by Katrina, and forty years of dust and wind... is a run-on sentence that still runs-on in my mind’s eye. Racial riots on my ship coming back from Vietnam with 600 men hurt, three men OD from drugs in a war zone not declared, a black man kicked to death by boys who were dressed and acted just like me, my friend’s girl friend cutting her neck as she went through the wind shield, the old man who died alone and wasn’t found for weeks across the street, the twin who died on a motorcycle at 16, and this is the tip of what is swimming in my head... What is in yours?
No matter where we point there is pain, hardship, anger, fear and longing hunger of the spirit. I see hope dashed by those who feed on diversity, bogus news without truth, without love, and I see children speeding down Camellia in their parents 120k cars that could possibly do 180KM on the Audubon. I see ignorance revealed, jealousy, envy, and greed dominating this world, and money's corrosive yoke dividing us like seeds from hulk. What are we to do? Turn a blind eye? Watch television, jack off, drink your self into a stupor, lock your doors, turn on the alarm, write an article of fact that the newspaper won’t print because it will piss-off someone? Trade truth for money?
How can we look at ourselves in the mirror? We are arguing about what the word marriage means when we had 40 million abortions since Roe VS. Wade? Too harsh to talk about during Christmas time? What better time, when drunks are on our streets, eight more deaths in NO tonight by Mexicans killing blacks to control the drug cartel we require? We vote a man in and in retrospect admit we did it because he seemed the lesser of two evils? That stirring up the pot will somehow make the changes necessary for a better world, hoping he lied and will do the right thing, voting him in, in spit of knowing his record... as I was told at a Christmas party? Can’t we find one man among us who is honest enough, savvy enough, insightful enough to bring us into this world of ears being grown on rats, human cells instilled in vegetables and animals, computers with emotion and insight and self awareness, where clones are being done without moral considerations, and our liberties and freedoms taken from us without a fight! Without so much of a whimper! ...we grovel to a few who tell us what to think do and say by taboo both religious and social! Are we gutless!
Yes, I believe in God. I see his works every day in the smallest of things. I see the small fern on the side of my house trying to take hold, to push roots into the mortar where a few drops of water have fallen to discolor the brick from a leak in the copper gutter. I see the carpenter bee drilling a hole in the overhang, and though I know they are destroying my home a little at a time, I seem now very reluctant to harm them. Over sensitive? What comes to mind when my best friend called me just days before he died to tell me he should have listened to me not to smoke. Does his voice seem clear to me as I see the girl with beautifully painted nails roll down her window so as not to stink up her car from the cigarette between two long perfectly formed fingers made by God? Her lungs fill with 600 chemicals, but her interior smells of new leather! Do I love her? A person I don’t know, but so similar to myself at that age? What have I learned, and what can be said when the same mistakes are being made over and over again, compounded by uncontrolled change for the sake of change, without wisdom, and without the common sense of a damned monkey!
I can’t correct this essay properly. Every time I read it I cry. Strange isn’t it.
I think about the world we are leaving for our grandchildren, and the gravity of it weighs heavy, because I know that God had nothing to do with this. It is men who are responsible and it will be men with vision, optimism, and hope that will have to save us here on earth. What happens after is in God’s hands, but now, for now, we are responsible, and there are precious few who are.
What to do? Do what is right! We know nothing about what we have until it is lost, and that says volumes about our nature. The loss is so great it is unfathomable to those who follow the code of ignorance is bliss, as the world continues to devour itself without a thought for tomorrow.