Overtime for my brain

Posted on July 28, 2003 by Sara Hickman. | 2 Comments

i’ve been thinking a lot about anteaters, david sedaris, why 3-D glasses tire the eyes, how to find more quiet time with my husband, and why glass can be melted down into sand.

i’ve been thinking about child labor, diamond mines, liberia, the 2004 elections, how everyone thinks they deserve to be tipped (even in subway sandwich shoppes), how kids talk back to their elders; wondering about stephen wright and whether he writes everything down that comes into his mind, or if he just has a mind for funny business. last time i saw him, his coat was too tight. i was worried he wasn’t eating healthy. i like him and i really would be sad if he left us too early.

i’m missing certain things. i’m missing a pair of shoes i bought on a visit to boston that i never wore…i kept them in a box for seven years and then gave them away one day. they were so pretty and soft.

i miss kissing someone for the first time. i miss the sound of a train breaking the morning air and fluttering the curtains on my childhood windows. i miss fishing and the simple pleasure of feeling a fish on your line… now i worry about the worm, i care about the fish and the feel of the hook in its lip.

i wonder about children in the dark. i worry when i hear a parent raise their voice too loudly, or raise their hand in anger. i worry about children being locked in closets and sold into slave labor. i worry about how some children have everything and others have nothing but misery and fear. i feel small and
inadequate that i can’t scream STOP and the world will stop being mean and ugly and hateful. today my little girl asked me,

“why does god make homeless people?”

and i had to answer that god doesn’t make homeless people, people do. that some of us have means to live comfortably, and those of us that can should share and provide for others. however, some people make poor choices, or through a series of unfortunate scenarios, bad things can happen to good people. and this is why family is important. we have to stick together. we have to be there through good times and bad. and for those people that don’t have “family”, then we are meant, as human beings, to be family to those in need.
a universal family. so, god made people to work things out together. sometimes god must shake god’s head and wonder why we are such numbskulls…blind and dumb down here on the planet, messing things up. but god never gives up on us. just like we, as family, should not give up on one another.

but greed has become popular.
it’s cool to be greedy. i see it in the ads on tv and in the movies. how to make compassion cool. how to make sending thank you notes vogue again. how to help others want to help others without a second thought.

how how how how how. my brain won’t stop. how.

2 responses to “Overtime for my brain”

  1. Jeff Stoodt says:


    As an English teacher I must tell you–I really enjoy your entries. You’re “freewriting.” (educational lingo)

    I connect to this entry because your anxiety seems especially sharp.

    I too get deeply worried that the world is becoming increasingly intolerable and hopeless. Yes, a big part of it is greed unleashed, without any temperance–this kind of freedom we don’t need.

    May I suggest a book that calms me? It’s called “Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas” by Elaine Pagels. In 1945 Thomas’s gospel was found, and the author discusses its message and how it differs from the other apostles.

    She also speculates about why Thomas has been suppressed by authorities of the Christian faith. It turns out that Thomas interprets Jesus’s message as being much more inner-directed–that the kingdom of God is in the here and now, and that God is visible in each of us if we could only see it.

    This form of what Pagels calls “Jewish mysticism” was threatening to the authorities in the early years of the Church as they created their hierarchy and creed. Pagels even asserts that the gospel of John-which consistently stresses the need to believe in an outside power–was crafted AFTER Thomas.

    Cool sidenote–the phrase “Doubting Thomas” originated at this time to describe his followers who wouldn’t adhere to doctrine.

    Anyway, the text is sprinkled with quotes from Thomas that resonate with philosophies you might know of. Here’s one–
    “Jesus said,’If you bring forth what is whithin you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.'”

    The wisdom of these words across the centuries eases my anxiety and heartens me. Let me know if you give them a try.

  2. Karen says:

    I miss fishing too. And I don’t like hurting the worm or the fish anymore. But I don’t mind putting a dead shrimp on the hook. Figure that one out. 😎

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