Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Misbegotten Momentum

Unthinkingly, I killed them. My hands are weapons. So too are my intentions. And since these irritating things were so many, and so small, I lifted my hands and clapped them quickly, and caught at least two if not more of the little black devils. And then I washed my hands of them. And only then did what I’d just done strike me: I’d just killed! So easily. Was it because of their size? Me, who goes with a ready-at-hand glass and stiff-paper to the windows, and catches wasps, flies, spiders, moths, and even the occasional mosquito! (I almost always smile at the story the trapped little things’ll have to tell others, out there, in the big world, about the glass space-ship that swooped down on them while they were in an alien land, and how they were magically transported to the outside of its foreign boundaries and then swooshed out and set free!) But that did not happen to those two or three teensy little black midgets, ‘miggies’, mites, fruit-flies that beleaguered my kitchen. Clap! And they’d summarily been disposed with!

Like transitional prepositions, we find the smaller the significance to us, the less we care, the less we accord value. Outside my window two deer and a fawn nibble on the lawn as I type. There are frogs and birds and bugs galore outside my house. But I do not invite them in. In fact, I place a piece of juicily smelling fruit on my deck at the crack of my balcony door, and hope all the fruit flies (for a whole colony of them breeds at my kitchen waste-bin, where the fruit residues to them seem plentiful, and free,) ... I hope that the kitchen bugs, with the waste bin now disinfected, that the kitchen devils will leave their new territory and go back to where they came from! Go! If they don’t...? It’s my life! Mine. Or theirs?

The BBC video link (below*), if you watch it, will be indelibly horrid. Sorry. We cannot escape that awful feeling of being overwhelmed. We cannot escape! How to survive, let alone to thrive, among a culture that is intentionally bent on overtaking your life? All you know, believe, cherish, and value can be supplanted by the sheer volume of foreigners, aliens, and ‘others’ who come across our borders. Should you too move to smaller and smaller packages of land, where you can draw up your borders and, draw-bridge like, demand of any person attempting entry to your castle a full, complete, comprehensive disclosure?

We live in such fear! The incursion of ‘others’ is so very-very difficult to integrate. If I happen to live in, say, Gondwanaland, then the objective is that all those taking up residence will adapt to my language, to my education system, to my cultural and commercial values, and hopefully, even convert to my religion. But, alright, I’ll let them build their own church and practice their own beliefs; just don’t interfere and expect me to dismantle my own! Take over my schools. Even on my beaches, as a Gondwanalander, I wear a hat! You may go half-dressed. Don’t hate me for not worshiping the sun! And don’t tell me....

Expectations delivered by others can be so very hurtful. Beliefs can be so destructive. Values can be so disenfranchising. Other’s intentions can be so alarming! If able to start over we might, with immigration policies, expect that before entering our county ‘the other’ would learn our language, adopt our social and cultural ways, and agree fully to contribute toward our country by paying taxes and doing what he or she can to make a living of dignity and worth, instead of being a drain on the rest of us. (And ditch-digging, or dish-washing, or laying bricks are all services of dignity and worth; I’ve personally done all three!)  Most significantly, we’d expect that the new immigrant subscribe to our wish to sustain that which we have, not to overwhelm us with the encroachment of an entirely new way of being. But the missionaries didn’t do that, did they? And history did not allow for that, did it? And throughout all of the pathways of man, the times, they are a changing. We can but care however we can. However minutely; indeed.   


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