Tuesday, April 17, 2007

V-Tech: Time Helps, Time Doesn't Heal and Other Idol Thoughts

I'm watching American Idol right now. So far, nothing too impressive, but Simon seems unduly harsh on poor Chris. This Virginia boy is on the verge of tears. I would be, too. Melinda knocked it out of the park. Wow, can she perform! LaKisha undersung. That is, the song was too small for her voice. You know how Carrie Underwood has to free her voice to sing Jesus Take the Wheel? Well, LaKisha had to rein in her voice for the song. She needed a bigger, gutsier song. And I know the Anchoress doesn't get it, but I like Blake. I think he's held back by nerves. That could hamper his career, too. He'll have to get over it. Whatever "it" is.

Still, and all, I can't concentrate on Idol tonight. I'm thinking about when bad things happen to good people. Every day bad things happen to good people. Lives are changed permanently, irrevocably, painfully. And everyone, eventually, has those moments. The moments stretch out and change the perception of time. Surreal. Out of body. A flash. An instant. Pain.

There is a misconception that people who have experienced lots of pain acclimate to pain. This is untrue. In fact, people who have experienced chronic pain are more sensitive to it and more reactive under the threat of pain. It is not just physical either. Emotional pain can literally cause heart ache. That is, the part of the brain that registers pain in a body part, will register heart pain, when a person is distraught. Is that so strange? We've all had knots in our stomach or pains in our neck or heart-breaking, gut-wrenching sorrow. And we've all experienced it going from bad to worse and the pain doesn't lessen, the quality of the pain just changes.

In Virginia and all over the nation, there is pain. Watching the mystified, shocky victims talking to the press makes me feel revulsion. These people will wake up from their surreal experience and wonder who the hell it was talking to Stone Phillips. It wasn't me, they'll think. And it isn't them. Or rather, it isn't the people they now will be. They are changed. And the press and photographers exploit them all.

The V-Tech students, faculty and families will wake up tomorrow and be stunned to find that the world keeps on rotating. Life is cruel that way; the world keeps going while hell swirls around. Lance Armstrong described this phenomenon best in It's Not About The Bike. Going out and riding or doing anything seemed like such small potatoes after fighting for his life in a hospital, where time is suspended.

I'm rambling now. I'm tired of people having to suffer this way. And yet, there is no miracle cure for these types of situations--not in this life, anyway. A friend told me that time helps. Neither one of us is sure if time heals. Time fades the memories. Time gives a person the space to construct a context in which to place the trauma. Time is not magical. It doesn't erase anything--unless dementia or Alzheimers sets in. The years will pass and these resilient people will find ways to integrate even something so awful as this.

May they be conforted during their loss.

Remember the families of these people.


Anonymous said...

A line from the movie Black Hawk Down:

Wounded private: "But I've been shot!"

Sergeant: "Everybody's been shot! Now get in and drive!"

Anonymous said...

Just making sure you know that Chris Richardson is FROM VIRGINIA. And furthermore, he's from an area where most of the students attend VA Tech. So he really does know a lot of people at that school. If LaKisha made such a statement, it would be an obvious ploy to get votes.