I’m been troubled by how enthusiastic everyone is about the death of Libya’s terrorist dictator, Moamar Ghadafi.
Not because I thought he was a great guy or someone I’d like to hang out with. But because it disturbs me that we celebrate the death of a living being, even a bad one. I try to think about what it would be like in the time of Hitler and how such a horrible human being deserved everything he had coming to him. Perhaps that is how we rationalize such outcomes, an eye for an eye, let the punishment fit the crime.
You can’t argue with that.
But as I discussed the news with my children, who happened to overhear it on the radio on the way to school, I said there are many ways to look at even this, and when we celebrate the death of a person, we lose a bit of our humanity in the process.
Many ways to look at things.
Last night, as we drove home from tennis along a familiar route we had driven thousands of times in the past decade, we passed the tiny abortion clinic on Southfield Road that attracts religious protesters who stand vigil with their placards, even in the driving rain.
“Mommy, what is abortion?” Asher asked.
I found myself in a conversation I never imagined I would have, not with my 5, 8 and 9-year-olds. I’ve always been pro-choice, always supported the legality of abortion, even as I don’t really think I could bring myself to have one. And then I was explaining what it is, exactly, to my little angels, and Asher said, “Well, that’s really mean.” And Eliana said, “If a mom doesn’t want the baby, can’t she just give it up for adoption?”
And I tried to explain that sometimes it is the better alternative. But I couldn’t figure out why. And so I relied on Jewish Law, which puts the life of the mother before the life of her unborn child, if one or the other is at stake. But I still felt that I was left with a hopelessly imperfect choice.
It’s like that. Some situations are so easy, you know right from wrong and good from bad. It is easy, then, to be sincere and have integrity like a bouquet of flowers in your moist hand.
It’s the times when no outcome seems just right, when each option is inherently flawed, but you must make a choice and resolve whatever issue stands before you. So Libya is freed from dictatorial rule and more than three decades of terror. A rape victim doesn’t have to carry the child created in that violent act to term. A life is lost in either case, a life that I don’t feel perfect enough to judge.
Today dawned in shades of pastel, the cold morning sky aglow with color. “Like a rainbow,” Asher said. Until we realized not every color was represented.
Later, the art of nature faded to gray and rain began to fall. Small drops, but steady, cold and dashing. The ground has been gleaming with wet ever since, the clouds a moving mass of fluffy, the color of dirty snow. It’s like that. One moment, you know how it’s going to go, the next you really cannot imagine.