Have you ever woken up early one morning at dawn and quite unexpectedly noticed the twilight? Or some other day quite unexpectedly you saw a sunset, a starry sky, a scenery or the horizon, so beautiful, so exquisite that a shiver ran deep through your body? And you became terribly afraid that the smallest discrepancy would destroy it all, to the point where it is hard to get it back again?
When I think of such moments I always feel drawn back to the places I have lived. I can’t help but travel down memory lane. When the civil war started in Lebanon everything changed for us overnight. I was lucky since I was still a teenager and in high school. And as such I did not have any responsibility, unlike my parents. The first thing that they lost was the financial stability they had prior to the war. All of a sudden money became tight and our priorities changed. The situation wasn’t any different for my friends either. We were all doomed and our main priority became to stay alive and live one day at a time. We became less mobile and confined to one place, to one ‘safer’ community. We continued our daily routine. We were happy and didn’t know what we were missing because we were surrounded by death and destruction. Stories of people being kidnapped and killed by gunmen, of being killed in the basements of their building by falling bombs made us realize how lucky we were. Life went on for those of us who stayed alive. But whenever I visit my parents and it happens that I am awake early morning, I wait for the sun to come up and look out at the horizon. But the sun coming out, it’s not the same for me anymore. There are too much painful memories attached to it. All those lives lost, all those years wasted.
And now that I am a parent and not living in the Middle East anymore there is a different kind of worry that keeps me awake at night. As Truman Capote wrote:
“It’s bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.”
What if the something you want them, your children, to have is a basic necessity like food, shelter, a roof over their heads? Some sort of stability? What if you can’t find the job you have lost through no fault of your own? What’s next?
I realize now it must have taken a great deal of guts and courage for my parents to give us that stability during the war and even send me to university. We are now living in difficult economic times. As a parent you worry about financial meltdowns, job losses, foreclosures, diseases, illnesses, famines, sex offenders, pedophiles, drunk drivers, the internet and all the evil exposure. As a parent you want what’s best for your children. As a parent you are afraid.
“Our real fears are the sounds of footsteps walking in the corridors of our minds, and the anxieties, the phantom floatings, they create.” Truman Capote
Sometimes perhaps we worry too much and are overwhelmed with huge responsibilities and maybe, just maybe, sometimes;
“What we want most is to be held…and told that everything …is going to be alright.” Truman Capote