t’s been a rough couple of weeks. Actually, looking back at that opener, I nearly deleted it because of its triteness. Rough? Forty-nine dead in my hometown, then Dallas. And this brings up my feelings about the massacre at Virginia Tech, my alma mater. Yet through it all, on Facebook, with friends and at work, I get to listen to simplistic statements, slogans, and opinions of people who want to take tragedy and reshape it in my mind. As if in my quiet and thoughtful life, where I bike or drive across the city without the distraction of radio or iPhones, or looking up at the stars, that I haven’t had a single thought about these events and the blackness of the human heart.
In this, I am left trying to figure what I think about humans, of the proud press for guns in a society that worships its founding so fiercely it recreates its battlefield birth over the entire weekend. On the roads, everyone drives with a literal vengeance, all trying to get the edge over each other and teach lessons like some vulgar and vehicular Socrates. Our entertainment is simplistic and fueled with iconic vendettas and impossible resolutions of firepower and carnage (to the point where people seat themselves near exits, just in case someone raises the film experience to that next step). And then there is ISIS with their evil deeds and Eighth Century world view, who seem dedicated towards the spread of bloodshed and human misery.
The world rings with hypocrisy.
And so I was in one morning at work, having that cup of coffee and mulling into the hazy sunrise, just easy-chatting with one of my coworkers, an Indian mother of two. We’d been talking about this and that, pets and sleeping habits. And then she tells me about a dream she had just this morning, of seeing a family dog she’d owned a decade prior, how suddenly she was back in her village and there was her dog and it looked to her with that open-hearted doggie smile. That was pretty much her story, not much on plot (most dreams aren’t). But I could see the happiness on her face as she related it, of seeing her past poochy again, if only in her mind. I returned to my desk, feeling a bit of my old smile coming back.
That’s the power of stories, to transport one to another place and time, and to share our own powerful emotions with another. And with the entire world sharing its narrative of senseless and unending hatred, with blood on nightclub walls and Dallas streets, suddenly another story had entered my consciousness, of a dusty village street in Southern India and a beloved family dog, looking back over its shoulder, panting and smiling with canine acceptance.