New Schedule For Today: Make Room For Processing Evil In The World

I am a scheduler. I start thinking about what a particular day will look like about one week out.  It’s compulsive and comforting.

It’s also a false illusion of control.


This morning, as sleep eludes me I find myself reaching for today’s schedule, desperate for whatever solace it offers, even though it’s an illusion.

Last week, I could picture today with clarity– wake up and cuddle with kids, go to work, come home, dinner and bedtimes.  One week out, everything looked completely routine.

Over the weekend, I added some flourishes– Let’s try a new crab cake recipe Tuesday night and complete 2 research projects on attorney fees.  By Monday  morning, Tuesday’s docket looked typically unrealistic with more on my To Do list than I could actually accomplish.  Just how I like it.

What I didn’t account for was needing space to process the events in Boston yesterday.  Last week, I didn’t picture Tuesday Me trying to accomplish routine tasks on roughly 4 hours of sleep and a disturbing feeling of terror stalking me.  I didn’t know I would labor under the burden of images of explosions and smoke and innocent runners who were trying to cross a finish line only to be marred and terrorized by a bomb attack.

I didn’t know that sleep would elude me almost all night.  I didn’t know that I would be haunted by my Facebook feed full of messages to runners, quotes from Mr. Rogers, and pictures of first responders.  I certainly didn’t account for the energy that I would need to grapple with the savagery of humankind.

Somewhere in my schedule I need to make some room.  I need some space to breathe and mourn and make some peace with the evil that happens that I will never understand.  I don’t see much space for that– maybe on my train ride home or when I’m chopping tarragon for the crab cakes.

But I’m going to need more than a few stolen moments where grief and terror can be processed alongside tonight’s dinner.  I don’t think multitasking will bring me the solace that I seek.  Honestly, I don’t know what will.

But I do know that today’s schedule looks not just ambitious, but actually abusive.  Each devastating act of terror– from a madman with an assault weapon or a concerted effort of anti-American groups– shatters one more sliver of my innocence.  I want to make some time to put those shards back together, or at least somewhere high on a shelf so I don’t cut myself on them.

And it’s certainly going to take more than my schedule to make me feel safe and comforted today.


34 thoughts on “New Schedule For Today: Make Room For Processing Evil In The World

  1. I’m with you. Every time one of these events happens, I feel like part of my self (and my kids’ innocence) is taken away. And I feel bad saying that since my family is fortunate to not be directly impacted by these tragedies. But it’s getting increasingly harder to explain this world we live in to my 8 1/2 year old who is just starting to process that it may not always be a safe place for her. Hugs to you today.

  2. This is a good reminder to take the time to process. For me, I am avoiding t.v. media and sticking to the written word (which isn’t that much better). But the visuals and the constant replays affect me. The thing that angers me most is the innocence lost (like the horrific Sandy Hill tragedy). And in this case, the little boy who died waiting to cheer his father on at the finish line. Just read that his mom had brain surgery and his sister lost her leg. Why people prey on innocent people (or anyone for that matter) will always be a disturbing mystery.

    I was deeply moved when I saw the hoards of people running to help the injured. There is still good souls in this world. Let there be peace. Hugs my friend.

    • Yes, hugs. A media diet at times like this is essential for me. I am heartbroken at the lost innocence as well. Runners should have only to worry about blisters and bonking. Not bombs.

      • Oh sweet tea that’s so true. I saw that little boy’s face waiting for his daddy and it ripped me open. Prayers.

        On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM, Outlaw Mama

  3. So much conflicting emotion. I feel so connected yet so far away. Every siren and helicopter that flies overhead steals my breath. I think I am going to move to Canada.

  4. I am a schedule clinger too – and for the same reasons as you – it gives me that false illusion of control. I hope I do make room in my schedule to acknowledge what happened – sincerely acknowledge it – and be frightened and sad but also grateful – while trying to remind myself that 99.9% of the world is good. *hugs*

    • Exactly. Some guy held the door open for me from about 6 feet away this morning…he could have totally gotten away with NOT waiting for me and I felt so grateful and cared for from that gesture. I want to magnetize to the good.

      On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 10:09 AM, Outlaw Mama

  5. I was up all night last night too. I kept thinking about all the people who finished the race, and the people who never got to finish. And I was thinking about my own races, and the one I have coming up in a couple weeks. Maybe this hits me harder because I’m a runner too, but today I am just completely shattered, and I don’t know where to put this grief.

    • I was thinking maybe it was the runner thing too. Next to my office desk I have a picture of me doing Chicago’s marathon because it reminds me that I can do things that seem IMPOSSIBLE (like my job or running a marathon). Today I can’t stop staring at it wondering how I would have reacted or what if…. It’s so morbid, but I can’t stop.

      Please be safe when you run in a few weeks!!! I am sure PittsB will be on high alert.

      On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 10:26 AM, Outlaw Mama

  6. I hear you and am right there with you. I don’t know what it will take to ease the terror I’m feeling. I’m grateful not to be alone in this grief and am wiped out by my fear overdrive. I think chopping tarragon is as good an idea as any I’ve contemplated or heard. 😉 Love you.

    • HOnestly, it will be the first time in my life I’ve ever chopped (or used) tarragon, but it’s part of my branching out to new foods initiative. Maybe it will soothe the soul.

      On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM, Outlaw Mama

    • I know. I can’t stop thinking about and don’t want to read anything that’s not related but I am started to get morbid and it’s not my job to read that stuff. My job is to read tax code on social security benefits. No comment on that.

      On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 11:25 AM, Outlaw Mama

  7. I turned on the house security system last night for the first time in a long time. It made me feel safe, made me feel like the bad people wouldn’t reach us. Of course that bitch Shirley in my head told me that they still could and I stayed up half the night upset about the prospect of something else horrific happening, something else making me trust less, something else responsible for my change in attitude from easy going to always frazzled. I don’t want to give in to that fear; I won’t. What if cannot rule my life or psyche. But it creeps in and tries its best. It’s trying so hard.

    • I did the SAME THING with the alarm system. It seemed like something to do to keep those sleeping babies safe. Nevermind me and my husband. I don’t want to give into fear either, which is why no more internet for me today. Except email. And Twitter.

      On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM, Outlaw Mama

  8. Isn’t it strange how one day everything’s normal, and the next, the world seems to have fallen apart? It’s smart to make sure you have time to process. After Newtown, I was down for a long while; Christmas didn’t seem to be the same last year. I don’t even know what I’m saying here, except I agree, and I too am shocked & heartbroken.

  9. What powerful phrasing: “…shatters one more sliver of my innocence. I want to make some time to put those shards back together, or at least somewhere high on a shelf so I don’t cut myself on them.”

    My prayers, too, are with everyone in Boston. But I think this also should make we North Americans a bit more aware what it must be like to live in a country where this is a routine event and you worry about it every time you go to the market or your place of worship, or let your kids outside to play. The people bleed the same way in Syria and Mali and Somalia and far too many places in this world. I pray for all of them.

    • I know. My husband read me the stats for Iraq deaths and I thought it was for the year-to-date, but it was for the DAY. I can’t believe how naive I am. Not sure what to do about that without scaring the life out of myself.

  10. Christine – this was a great (as usual) and honest look at how we cope. Your first sentence “I am a scheduler” made me laugh because that is sooo not me. My sister the CPA got all those genetics. But the more I read, the same thought had occurred to me today. Our safe cocoon that we call home is an illusion. I agree that it is evil. Some people think that word is folly or make believe for simple minds. There is dark in this world and every now and then the veil of good is pierced. And that’s when I finally realized there is nothing I can control. When my oldest went off to college. I give him to God. And realize anything can happen.

  11. You summed up how I was feeling in words I couldn’t find at the time. That Thursday into Friday during the hunt, I was up all night glued to the news. No one said it, but there was a little part if me that kept wondering what if they came to NY. It was like 9/11 all over again with the worry and the guilt for worrying about something that was not about me. It was not a good time in my head that week. Thank you for sharing this.

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