Today the British government has announced that by 2020, the UKwill take in up to 3,000 more child refugees. (Although, this announcement also contains the (frustrating) caveat that those who have already reached Europe will be excluded from the new initiative).
My fear is that these children will be so deeply traumatised, so broken by the horrors they have witnessed, that they will carry their wounds in places of quiet agony, affecting their emotional, psychological and in many cases, physical, development.
Not that I don’t welcome these children with a desperate surge of maternal passion that is quite foreign to me. Not that I would want the UK to take any less or to be any less involved. It’s just that I can’t get my head round the atrocities that these children may have witnessed. I can’t conceive of how they will communicate their loss, their grief, their horror and their fear; things that feel impossible to communicate ev
en as an adult, familiar with Western patterns of interaction and with a sound knowledge of the English language.
I want to help. I want to teach, or counsel, or care for or SOMETHING. Just something.
There’s a more than a little irony in the immediate cacophony of internal noise that is triggered by the word ‘quiet’. I hear my dad’s ‘story voice’ reciting Merton’s When we Two Parted‘ against a background hum of ‘Silence is Golden’. A memory of a most beautiful place stirs sleepily and I feel the haze of Burgundy sunshine, lagoon like pools and the muffled sounds of people’s reflection at The Source.
Quiet. A concept known to all. Heralded as a panacea, a state of the soul, a level of consciousness, a discipline, a practice, a revealer, a healer, a sedative.
Yet. Quiet. Used as a weapon, a punishment, a cop out, an ally, an accomplice, a collusion.
Quiet. The absence of noise, yet, the stillness within sounds.
Absolutely NOTHING will pop up in my head when I try to think of an ‘N’ to write a short, imaginative and captivating post about. Why it is that I am so wholly devoid of inspiration I don’t know. It’s possible that a pervasive tiredness bears some responsibility, that and the illness I have tends to hijack the parts of my brain that might be otherwise creatively engaged.
So N is for Nihilism. For the philosophically uninitiated, this is the belief that the world and everything in it, life, values, morals, laws… are meaningless. There is no POINT to anything, nothing has any meaning.
Macbeth sums it up beautifully when he says:
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
It’s a painful thought; one which challenges the my Christian faith on a daily basis at the moment. It would be so much easier to believe that life really is just a brief candle which is eventually snuffed out to burn no more. Perhaps owing to the extremist tendencies of Anorexia, nihilism stalks me daily, lightly running cold fingers through my hair. Death-coated whispers trickle through the aural canals, trembling tiny bones and dizzying my stance.
Turns out I have something to write about after all.
I’m not talking about the type that you have at night… although I sometimes dream so vividly that they will cast shadows across the consciousness long into the day… No. I mean the dreams that I might have stuffed into a tiny corner of my mind many years ago.
Even before Anorexia poisoned the greater part of my mind, I think I’d stopped dreaming properly. I was a ruthless gardener, pruning without sentiment, uprooting indiscriminately. No sooner than the fresh stem appears, I cut it off.
For the purpose of this post, I’m laying my secateurs down. Curiously, I have to really squint to see the tiny beginnings of dreams. Some so small I can’t even identify them.
One is to travel. Preferably across the US… in a truck… with a camera and a guitar.
Another is to live abroad for a year
One is to recover from this illness and then serve others who are plagued by it.
And I’d really like to have a craft business, or a coffee shop.
Oh… and I want to write a book… or two…
Then there’s one I can barely see, is a dream I fear to admit. The dream of all dreams. The dream that almost everybody has. I screw up my eyes and exhale as I blow away the seeds… If I admit it, it might not come true…