Holding Tightly

One year ago, I was in Kentucky, at my mother’s bedside after she made a decision to stop eating.  Her death wasn’t unexpected.  She had lived a long, meaningful life with much more joy than sorrow.

I remember a little poem she loved to quote, one I’ve Googled yet never been able to find.  This is what Mother would say:

I hold my love but lightly,

for I know that things with wings held tightly

long to fly.

Mother did not hold love lightly.  She held to my father, her children, and grandchildren with fierceness I well understand.

And, now, as I approach the first anniversary of her death, April 17, I think of mothers in the countries with which we’re at war, mothers who love as fiercely as she did.  And as I do.

This morning I read an article, “War Looms for Obama in Iran, Syria, and North Korea,” by Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.  I felt my chest constrict over this:

 On the one hand, Americans can’t stand to deal with, let alone compromise with, bad guys like these three. None of these tyrants hesitate to spill the blood of their own people. It’s against the American character to look away from humanitarian tragedies. Americans always feel they have to do ‘something.’

The “bad guys” to whom Gelb refers are Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

I don’t include myself among Americans who can’t stand compromise.  Isn’t compromise better than war? Better than the conflict that results in casualties that alter lives forever here at home?  And I’m not just emphasizing deaths but also maiming, traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD.  And what we do to the people, including children, in the lands we invade to eliminate a “bad guy”—as well as what we complete when our weapons manipulate a family’s structure and a country’s ecosystem.

We have not looked “away from humanitarian tragedies.”  Instead, we are the architects of so many.

New polling indicates that a majority of Americans oppose war in Afghanistan and believe that Afghans want our troops removed from their country.  Meanwhile, members of prominent “think tanks” and candidates for “elected” office are posing the war question, as if the crown of power rests on the head of the person whose vocabulary encompasses the most battle language.

But it’s not about the “bad guys” in any of these foreign locations.

It’s the criminal war profiteers on Wall Street—those operating the strings that move US “leadership” to plunge our troops, their families, and people in the countries we explode into unthinkable disorder.

These Wall Street terrorists hold tightly, fiercely to what they love—the power of Big Greed.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland where she is among a sisterhood, including Laura and Erma, reminiscing about Gigi Comley, one amazing woman. Reach Missy at missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com