I tell myself on nights like these, when uncertainty hangs so heavily in the air, there is no reason to truly be fearful. This is the incredible privilege I have for being educated and American. Many others do not have the same fate. Should the war happen and I lose my job? I’ll freelance, again. Should I lose my home and belongings? I have good friends and an incredible family. One thing I can’t do, is live in fear. The closet monster of my past wins if I bow down to the idea that I will succumb to a horrible demise.
As an adult, the stakes are higher. I’m reminded of this each moment I tuck my children into bed and glance over as they snuggle into blankets or close their eyes. Monsters are stuff of legends, but never a truly REAL threat. Every one of us over the age of 2 has lived through a war. I remember hearing about Kuwait and wondering what would happen if Saddam Hussein was able to touch us, because Minnesota was almost light years away from Iraq to an 8 year old. I was terrified and often asked my father about the if’s and when’s. I didn’t realize that we are never more than one decision away from a regrettable future. I thought that Minneapolis was untouchable.
North Korea is exerting their power. We’ve seen this play out so many times over the years. The spoiled bully is bringing his guns to class. He wants to make a statement, plain and simple. It’s hard to imagine it’s the same behavior because the scale is so much grander. It’s almost unfathomable. We celebrated in Hollywood with Oscars for ZeroDarkThirty. We thought the boogey-man was dead. How soon we forgot after Bin Laden was killed that Ahmadinejad still wants his own statement. Many human beings believe that power demanded, but not earned, is worth the ruined lives. Our history books are filled with Hitlers, Lanzas, Stalins and Holmes. They are one in the same to me, not worth the paper in which their names are printed, unless caution is offered to remind our future generations that mass murderers and evil dictators can be closer to home than one might think.
There comes a point in adulthood that we realize, we can read news articles and be obsessively tuned-in to world events, but we don’t, (nor do we think we EVER will) have our parent’s knack to make it all so much better. As an adult, I long for a list of scenerios and outcomes, the cause and effects of anything that might touch my family’s life.
The worst part of growing older is not having someone to tell you, “There is nothing under the bed.” No hand is available to smooth your hair while gently proclaiming, “The sounds you hear, are the house.” And, there’s certainly no one to sit next to you and point out the fact that a gigantic monster could never even fit in the closet to begin with.
North Korea may be bluffing and still continue to run concentration-style prision camps for children and innocent human beings. They could even launch missiles at neighboring South Korea, killing lives that never asked to be pawns in a sick game. No life is more important than my life, so I feel a sad guilt that I can tuck my children in with certainty that no one is coming in the night to, “get them.” The thought that other mothers aren’t sure they’ll see their sons or daughters grow up because of war, famine or violence is almost too much.
It all comes down to the reminder that if we are lucky to be here, we can always rebuild. Therein lies my silver lining, but one that is not shared with those that live under the conditions of madmen dictators. Therein lies my guilt.