And then I was hit on the head by a most unlikey source: Vougue

08/Feb/2007

On Tuesday Mr Flinger and I had something we do not get the luxury of very often; Time.  With LB in school now two full days a week, we decided to have lunch together, just the two of us, like we did when I was pregnant with LB and he worked 15 minutes from home. It’s been over two and a half years since we’ve had this set up. We decided to take advantage of it.

We sat at Borders reading magazines quietly, each of us able to peek up from our article, smile, discuss a point or two and continue reading. We decided to reach for magazines with much fluff and little content since we were indulging ourselves for the afternoon. He chose a men’s motorcycle periodical and I picked up the latest Vouge. What I did not know, was what a profound impact my choice would make on me. One that would reach far beyond the hour and fifteen minutes we had to share together.

There, in between the perfume samples and scantily clothed women, I found an article about a woman who escaped a Muslim family and more than a few civil wars.  The writer sits down to interview Ayaan Hirsi Ali and tells a story of epic heights. Her life, she tells us, is woven around survival and struggle. She questioned her religion and became more than an outcast; she became Dutch parliament. There are tales of rescuing family from Semolia, of saving a baby hours before his death, of taking children out of lice-ridden environments with algea water and giving them clean clothes and food to eat. It was after reading the excerpt from her new book Infidel that I looked up at Mr. Flinger and began to bawl. I blubbered something about our “fucking granite kitchen counters and the fucking mortgage” and mumbled about how lucky we are to have worries about our jobs and our healthy baby.  I muttered on and on between bouts of sniffles and hiccups about how petty my life is and how safe and secure we live and how, amazingly, ungrateful I am for that security. I looked up at him and said, “I have to buy this book.” I was off to search for it and found it minutes later.

I posses now a book so rich and well written, I can not wait to read. It sits and stares at me with authority begging me to log off, come read. Turn off the TV, turn off the images, turn off the music. Come and read. Read about a life you have the great fortune to not experience and about the religions of the world that preach about a god while neglecting the people. Come find some perspective and leave the dishes/laundry/blogging behind. Come, it calls to me, and learn something. Perhaps there are bigger issues than those in my own head.

I need to listen. I need to go read. I need to go and find something bigger than myself. How long this will take? I can not say. A week? A month? Three months?  I’d like to take some time and remember that there is actual suffering in the world and that being caught up with work and daycare and bills is not struggle. It’s luxury.

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