Friday, September 13, 2013

The Year of Living Ironically, Or, Poultry at the Post Office

Dear John,
I got home just in time for the final episode of Burn Notice. I won't spend time on it here, but you can ask Madeline to tell you all about it - she'll be there soon. Give her a kiss for me. I haven't cried that much over anything but you in years. It was terrific.
I got one of those where-am-I shocks today. But this time the shock was that I wasn't shocked. Let me start at the beginning, and proceed from narrative to irony in a decent fashion. I went to the post office this morning, and there was a loud noise of cheeping coming from the back. I was too curious to leave it alone, so I stuck my head in the office and asked if they'd started breeding parakeets. They told me that they often get shipments of chicks. And I said, "oh, of course," and went on my way. About a mile and a half later I was jolted by the fact that I wasn't jolted by the fact of chick shipments at the post office. It seemed perfectly normal to me. I grew up in Atlanta, for crying out loud - I'd expect to have some kind of reaction to that. But no, it seemed quite unexceptional. I suppose I've been here a long time. See what you've done to me? You've turned a big-city girl into a woman who expects poultry at the post office.
This is a photo of the historic irony that has been developing around us. Loving the ironic as I do, I have to chuckle at this. It's absolutely true. I'm having to re-evaluate Putin. This is real politik in spades. He has an understanding of the situation in the Middle East that our politicians don't, and that's because he sees it in the greater context of the religious history of the region. Our media broadcast that a certain village was destroyed and citizens murdered by Syrian rebels because the villagers had backed Assad. Russian media report that the churches were desecrated then burned, the convent was destroyed, the Christian population was lined up and ordered to convert to Islam, and the ones who refused were martyred.
Putin understands the distinction between "murdered" and "martyred." He seems to understand the Syrian meltdown as the current stage on which the centuries-long battle between Christianity and Islam is being played out. He makes no sense to a lot of our leaders. But right now, it's our leaders who don't make sense to me - Putin I understand perfectly. That's a little scary. But bless him for making us hold off on acts of war which would have put us on the side of Al Qaeda! And bless him for understanding the reality of good and evil, and absolute right and wrong.
So please pray for Syria, and for the decisions our leaders make in the coming weeks. Pray for the nuns of St. Thekla's convent. Pray for the Orthodox Christians who converted to Islam today rather than accept martyrdom. Pray for all of us. Pray that somewhere in this sea of irony, common sense finds a foothold. And continue to pray for me, that somewhere in the mix of humor and sarcasm in my head, compassion and humility can find a foothold.
Love you, miss you, adore you,

No comments:

Post a Comment