Saturday, September 8, 2012

This summer

As the [sometimes only physically present] parent of a small child and owner of a home, it's easy to get stuck on my family's day-to-day situation. Since LG has been born, my mentality has basically been What do I have to accomplish before LG goes to bed? Before I go to bed? Before AD leaves on his next trip?--living my life a few hours or few days at a time. In a phrase, modern survival mode. There is so much I could say here about this mode of living, but that's not really where I want to go with this post. What I'm trying to say is, though the stuff going on with myself, my family, and my home takes up 90% of my cognizance right now and so far 100% of this blog, I want to acknowledge that there is much going on outside of my little family and our suburban existence, and while I don't get take as much time as I'd like I need to learn about and participate in the [local, regional, national, global] community, that I am aware of and compassionate to (though sometimes feel powerless to change) what's going on out outside of "us," and I want to raise my child[ren] as such.
[I do want to say here that though I love my next-door neighbors and the {perceived} safety of the suburbs, I do not really enjoy living here. Last weekend we visited my brother in Kalamazoo, where I spent 6+ years of my life, and my heart longed for the diversity, culture, and smaller circles in that mid-size city. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when we visit AD's parents rural property, my heart longs for a natural place where our neighbors aren't on top of us and we can just be. Either of those settings, I think, would be more conducive to participation in the local community than the large metropolitan area like the one in which we currently live.]  

So there's my long winded introduction to a post about the things I'll remember about this summer that lie outside of my family. In a word, this summer has been weird.

First of all, after a peculiarly mild winter, summer weather came to Michigan very early this year. The temperature crept up to the mid-eighties as early as the end of March, and it hasn't really cooled off a whole lot since then. Or rained. The majority of the country has been in a drought (the worst in 50 years, with 57% of the continental U.S. in moderate to extreme conditions) that's ruined or severely stunted the corn and soybean crop, and thus beef production as well; "they" (my sources here NOAA and CBS) are projecting food prices to rise 3-5% in the next 6-8 weeks, and possibly 10% in 6-8 months if conditions persist.

Despite the dry weather, the mosquito population seems to be thriving and successfully infecting humans with West Nile virus; in fact, 2012 is the worst outbreak since it was identified in the U.S. in 1999. So far, six elderly people in Michigan have died from the virus. What freaked me out was a newspaper article about a local lady who found out she'd contracted the virus via the Red Cross after donating at her church blood drive; she said the only time she's exposed to mosquitoes is when she waters her garden at night--which is basically the only time of day I water my garden. Lord knows I'm not getting up earlier than I already do to water, and I suspect a few midday waterings burnt up my dill and cilantro. Lord also knows that I'm not going to go to bed cloaked in Deet, and since bathing before bed is not really an option anymore with the effect my new CPAP straps are having on my hairdo, I guess I'll be taking my chances and venturing into the backyard unprotected.

Besides West Nile, there have been a lot of weird illnesses popping up this summer. Pastor Brad got Lyme disease after a week at camp, an aquaintence got MRSA from an infected bug bite and had to be hospitalized for three days, and two women in the metro area, ages 18 and 33, have had a flesh-eating bacteria--the 33-year-old died, and they think the 18-year-old got the bacteria from shaving. Shaving, people. Feel free to use this as an example if anyone  complains about the "forest" on your legs/face/[insert hairy body part here].

So far in this post, I've touched on some death: death of crops due to drought, death of people due to bacteria, virus, disease. Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of death of people around here due to violence from other people, namely, someone in their family. 

I am not sharing the details of these deaths out of sensationalism, but because these events have affected me and have been a part of my consciousness this summer. Though I don't watch the local news or read the newspaper, due to the aforementioned weather situation, I have been checking weather on the local news station's website several times a day, and have become somewhat enthralled [and horrified] by the unfolding of these events. Earlier I alluded to the perceived safety of the suburbs, and the following murders attest to that. Within two miles of our house (which is in a nicer area than AD and I ever dreamed of living--thanks God, for letting those first six houses we wanted not work out, though I was not thanking you at the time),  there was a murder/suicide of a couple in their 50/60s, and there was also a crazed 19-year-old who killed his ex-girlfriend's mother and new boyfriend with an ax and then shot himself.

Becoming a mother, and experiencing both the love you have and the physical, mental and emotional work you put into your child, really affected my processing of the following murders and the circumstances around them. First, a Farmington Hills man was killed by blunt force trauma [and his wife and son severely injured] inflicted by his adoptive son and a friend, who had come to the home for money/property they could steal and sell to get K2 (aka Spice; if you're not familiar, it's synthetic marijuana that was being sold at gas stations and convenience stores {at least in Michigan} up until these events took place). Less than a month later, a grandmother shot her 17-year-old grandson because she suspected he was using K2 and might kill her in a violent rage. Two Westland teens that had been visiting an uncle in Detroit were found murdered execution-style, and most recently, a Notre Dame premed was charged with killing his father in their basement and dumping his body in field. With the exception of the Westland boys, these murders all took place in the wealthiest county in Michigan. 

If you're still reading, reader, I'm sorry if this post summarized information for which you're already aware or don't particularly care about, or it if has come off as "doom and gloom." However, these events and circumstances have been wearing on me. It has been a long, enduring summer, and the thing that's been resonating with me more and more is the concept that evil/Satan is everywhere.

But so is God, and in Him, so are you: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." ~ Ephesians 6:10-17, NRSV

To finish up on a lighter note, I'll leave you with a few summer pics I haven't posted yet. One Sunday during July when AD had the day off, we met up with one of LG's friends from daycare and his parents for a picnic and playtime. Here's AD and LG playing at the splashpad that day:

Afterward, I changed LG out of his swimclothes and into a fresh diaper on the tailgate of the truck. LG doesn't slow down much, but I was able to get a rare pic of him just kicking back and relaxing:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...