I have sat here at my computer for an hour, trying to move an idea from my mind to this blog. I am failing at it miserably, so I will take a more direct approach.
Tomorrow morning, a Hindu chaplain is scheduled to offer the opening prayer in the United States Senate. It will be the first time in the Senate’s 218-year history that the prayer has been offered by someone whose beliefs do not include the God of Christians, Jews and Muslims.
The fact that this is happening makes me proud to be an American.
On the flip side, there are times (a lot of the time, actually) that I think America is broken. A few of the reasons why I think this is the case:
The Far Right, which wields considerable political power in the United States, has marginalized me. They have gone so far as to actually legislate a reduction of my rights, all because of who I choose to love.
Corporate greed has engulfed our nation: a shameful CEO essentially vaporized my retirement account when he presided over the biggest accounting scandal in U.S. history.
With my middle-class means, I am able to give my dog something that 50 million American humans lack: health insurance.
Our prisons are full, our children are hungry; the rich get richer as the poor get poorer. Proudly presiding over it all is a man who took this country – my country – to war on the basis of lies, and who now refuses to recognize that we have lost.
So why am I having such a hard time trying to express all this? Well, it’s that box of Pop-Tarts.
When I was 10, my grandfather visited me in South Carolina and took me out for the day. At the end of that day, he gave me a box of Pop-Tarts. Although most people saw the box as an ordinary package of breakfast pastries, to me, it was something entirely different: it was a seemingly magical gift – a connection to a man who, I thought at the time, had the ability to take me away from my parents and the mess of their brutal divorce.
I kept the Pop-Tarts hidden away in my bedroom, periodically pulling the box out of the back of my closet to relish what it represented in my mind. If ever in my life I was attached to something, it was to that box of Pop-Tarts. When my older brother found them a few months later, he opened them and ate them.
I was devastated. I cried for that box of pastries and for what I thought my brother had taken away from me.
Today, I can’t help but to think of those Pop-Tarts as I examine my adult attachments, especially my grasp of and on the world around me. Or, at least, the way I think the world should be.
My attachment to a box of breakfast food was silly, but it was very real. Now, I realize that my attachment to those things I listed above is just as silly, but they are very, very real to me in the here-and-now.
The conflict this creates within me is deep and intense. I am often left with a feeling that I am helpless and powerless, which is equally as silly, considering how good a life I actually lead.
And that’s where I am today.