Monday, February 4, 2013

JK Rowlings on Reality

(Written end of January, right before school started again amd I was beginning to mentally prepare for the emotional onslaught.  Happy to say these feelings have worked themselves out since, but would like to record them here as part of ' the journey.'

I was admitting my mixed feelings regarding entitlement to a friend of mine who works with underprivileged kids recently.

We'll be fine without the extra money we might be entitled to for homeschooling a child with Aspergers, we certainly aren't in danger of starving or finding ourselves in the streets.  What the money would enable us to do more easily is allow Andrew and the twins to participate in the same activities that Ryan now enjoys, mainly dance (Andrew would like a career as a dubstepper in addition to his World Cup Soccer aspirations) and technology such as an IPad.

Ryan gets all this - her horseback riding alone costs as much as private school - because of her special needs.  She also has private flute lessons, gypsy dance classes, and swimming.  (Although all three boys get to play sports - soccer and baseball depending on the season and are now swimming as well.)

It really isn't up to the government to fund my children's extracurricular activities, I sheepishly admitted to my friend.

Although it beats you buying booze and ciggies with it, was his reply.

The fact is that all the money in the world isn't going to change poverty and ignorance. 

And I do need to get over the guilt I have in providing my children with the life experiences, and the resulting skills and self-confidence, to give them the very best chance to do well as adults.

I finally read J.K. Rowlings latest book, a novel for adults called 'The Casual Vacancy'.  It was no Harry Potter, but only because it was too real to be that magical.  The individual stories within it rang too true to be fantasy. 

And now I know why I stopped myself from picking it up off the bookstore shelves three months ago.  I wasn't ready for it then.  I was still living it in the environment of our old school.

Harry Potter is an escape from reality.  The Casual Vacancy hits you over the head with the brutality of reality. 


I've had the privilege of knowing Krystal now, and her mother and her little brother.  I know Krystal as an adult-  functionally illiterate, ignorant, fearful and untrusting, obnoxious and unruly instead of proud, entitlement in place of self-esteem, unable to escape from the role assigned to her through her parentage and upbringing.   

She's not bad people.  She's a role.

And I know her mother, Terri.  Heck, I've been at parties with her mother, have chatted happily and bonded and empathised with her about  our children, aware only of our commmon humanity as mothers of children we love, ignorant myself of the drug addiction and abuse at home.

I can't stand Robby, her little brother.  He's the little shit disrupting my childrens' education, the one who will end up addicted, in prison or dead.

Thank you JK, for making these people more real to me through your fiction than they were when I was living beside them for two years. 

Along with Victor Hugo, and Les Mis, you make me see that tragedies exist in life, and that being tragedies, by definition, are beyond my good intentions at intervention.

Bhartrihari states it thus:  Why should the wise man be anxious over a small portion of this world?  Is the mighty sea ever agitated by the movements of the little fish?"

Or as Shakespeare puts it:  All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players.

It would be nice to think that some all powerful superbeing, who cares about each and every one of us, is up there orchestrating things for each and every individual.

But this is just too painful for me too believe.  Where was God for Krystal?  Or her mother and her little brother?  What the heck is he doing - having tea for crying out loud - while all the little personal dramas of addiction, abuse, poverty, ignorance, disease and despair play themselves out down here, aka Les Miserables?    (Or as the Black-Eyed Peas so aptly put it "Where is the Love?")  Not to mention the larger world stage of greed, exploitation and war.

Or have we all chosen our personal dramas as our means of personal spiritual growth?  Do we live the lives we need to live in order to reach God? (There is no growth within the comfort zone, as they say at the gym.)

This belief in karma seemed cruel when I heard it as a child - blaming the person for his lowly position in life.  But it is infinitely kinder  (and more productive) than blaming God.  Responsibility for your own life.  What a concept.

We strut and prance our hours upon the stage. 

But in the end can only be responsible for our own lines.

Instead of losing myself in the vastness of a cruel and turbulent ocean, instead of flitting here and there with other lost and panicked fishes, I need to remember that the tides wax and wane, and move back and forth in a rhythm as old as time itself....back and forth, in and out.

Could breathing really be the answer?!

Thanks again to fiction for making me realise that the personal dramas I encounter are as old, and as universal, as God Himself.

My gift perhaps, it to see fishes other than myself, to see their pain and feel their suffering.

But my path must be to play the role I was meant to, without fear and without guilt, without worry for all the little fish around me, who will flit and go about their own ways path must be to follow the ebb and flow of the ocean. 

And maybe, just maybe, some of those other fish will find the strength to do the same. 

SO that, as Victor Hugo's drama continues to unfold again and again around us every day, as Krytals and Terri's and Robby's teem and multipy, one day one Krystal will break free from the school of her past experiences and swim to freedom in the mighty sea.

 (Argh.  I see how horrible this ending is.  So sorry....time to move on to other things.....maybe it seems so horrible to me know because I HAVE, three weeks later, stopped worrying about Krystal and Terri and Robby all the time and focussed on myself and family.  But urgh....)