Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Farewell to Arms

I was just sitting on the sofa reading Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms. At a chapter break I laid it down and listened. Usually it's quiet, but tonight I can hear the booming of my neighbors' leftover fireworks.

In the book I just finished reading a battle and retreat scene. I don't follow war and battle in books (or even movies) well. I just can't understand what's happening. I'm not able to visualize it--I guess because I have no reference for what the author's writing about. But tonight I'm struck by the thought of war; by the thought that these explosions around my house right now sound as though they could be from weapons.

I'm very anti-war, and agree with David that we haven't fought a war for the sake of our freedom (that couldn't have been dealt with some other way) in many, many years. The booming outside my window makes me sad. Sad that our country is currently in the middle of a war. Sad that, in this fallen world, we resort to such violence. Sad for all the people that have to try to live in countries that are torn by fighting and killing. I'm thinking of the people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Uganda, Israel, Lebanon. People caught in the middle who just want to survive and hope against all hope for a time in the future when they can do more than think about surviving. For a time when they can flourish. For a time without fear for their children.

The children. I'm sad for the children.

I'm not going to spout off some patriotic jargon about being glad I'm living in a free country. I suppose compared to many other nations we're free. But the only thing that makes me feel patriotic is the Constitution and the ideals of our country's fore-fathers. I don't hate our country or wish to be in another--I long for it to be what it was created to be, what it once was. What I have given up hope for it ever being again.

But I am glad that, at least for the time being, the sounds outside my window are only fireworks, and I can look in on my sleeping children without fear for their lives.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rachel,
I'm with you there! And I do not think you're unpatriotic for not using the Fourth of July to celebrate a war like we're in some kind of video game and like the people who suffer are just pixels on a screen. I'm thankful to live in America and I wish things were different. Hope you're feeling better!
Kelly

bumfers said...

I don't think I've read that one yet, I want to though.
I forgot it was the fourth of july untill the fireworks went off. shows how attached I am ~