Bob’s Big Question
Yesterday we were working through the section of the play where Bob describes being stuck and injured — his legs, in particular. This morning, the CNN website features a story about a woman being stuck and injured during this week’s tornados — her legs, especially.
In case you missed it, you can click on this photo to link to the story.
For me, it’s a reminder of the literal truth in the story Bob is telling. The injuries he describes are fictional, but they do not stretch truth.
More interesting — and important — than the injuries themselves is the way that this woman responds to them. Same with Bob.
Birdnow literally asks “Who is your greatest self?” but his story asks more: How are you hurt? Where are you “bleeding”? And what will you do about it?
Thinking of this actually reminds me of my mother — a woman who has certainly endured her share of tragedy. Her husband (my father) died at 29, leaving her with boys 6 months and 2 years old to support and raise on her own. Her second husband made the long, full descent to death by Alzheimer’s, and she faced all of the terrible decision-making and work that goes along with being the primary caregiver.
There is a moment Mom has always loved right at the end of Michel Ghelderode’s one-act play, The Women at the Tomb. The play is set in a house in Jerusalem where the disciples are gathering in the wake of the crucifixion. Crouched and silent in a corner is the most wounded of the living — Jesus’ mother. She says nothing as others rage and argue and panic around her. Finally, left alone, she stands and begins to sweep the floor.
Mom likes the complete story this tells. Sitting and grieving. And then the courageous doing. She knows the immense effort it can take to do something as simple as standing and taking the broom in hand. And she appreciates and believes in it.
This has always been my mother’s response to trouble, and is the way she has always responded to my own trouble. An interested and sympathetic ear, and then the question: Well, Son, what are you going to do about it?