My husband and I spent this week with our grandchild. I avoided the news as much as possible as I stayed absorbed in the imaginary, and therefore real world of a two year old. We looked out the window of their home and saw a jungle with lions, tigers, and bears. We put a soft, child-size bowling pin on our nose and one on our head and were in a marching band playing trumpets and trombones. Innocence, and then, there is the opposing force of war and I’m thrown into a tailspin of not understanding why and how we do this again and again.
When we returned home, the man who stays in our home when we’re gone was incredibly upset. Though born in Moscow, he came to this country as a young man and became a citizen. He was recently in Ukraine. He has friends there. He had been continuously on the phone hearing of bombs dropping and fear, fear, fear. News of the war I’d been avoiding became personal. I, too, wanted to hide in my house and protect myself and my children.
I think of Leo Tolstoy’s book War and Peace. What if everyone read it? Would we still destroy? Can we look more wholly and generously at this planet, not a very big one these days, we share?
We spent yesterday at the Hiller Aviation Museum with our grandchild. As far as he knows, he flew a Blue Angels jet and a 747. I think of words from the 60’s, “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.” What if no one on either side was willing to fight? I think of the Christmas Truce of 1914 when weapons on both sides were set down and people on both sides of the trench celebrated together. Can’t we do that now?
At the museum yesterday, Space Camp was happening. The children were in two teams, the red team and the blue team. Each team would launch a rocket-powered car. The children were not allowed to chant for their team. The idea was to learn about rockets and not to divide, cheer, and say one team was “better” than another. That works for me.