Torch Song


I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. (Isaiah 27:4)

If I didn’t love my kids, all of them would be dead by now, throttled by the hand of parental wrath. Countless times they have tried my patience to the frayed edge of madness. Over and over they have pushed the buttons of Armageddon. They have frustrated me to volcanic rage. They have smiled their beatific smiles while calculating my irrelevancy. They have blasphemed me with angelic voices, stolen my peace, inflicted migraines, emptied my treasury, raided my refrigerator, and used up all my hot water. There is no doubt; had it not been for a persistent and wholly unwarranted fondness for them, they would be morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably dead.

But, of course, they are not dead (yet). This is partly due—no, mostly due to their blatant but nearly fail-safe strategy which takes advantage of the one weakness among an otherwise invincible arsenal of patriarchal domination and retributive justice: they are, to my profound vexation, my own kids.

Mild skirmishes with these minions are easy to deal with. In cases like that, diplomatic solutions work well enough. Political successes (when I get them) also make me feel spiritually progressive. But there are those times when, rather than sitting at the table, I want to throw it at them. There are times when unleashing the furies would feel so . . . well, so good. Sometimes I want ruin! I want wreckage! I want desolation! And it would be a hell of a lot easier to trample on the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored if the faces contemplating their imminent extinction didn’t look so doggone much like my own.

So instead I fume. I sputter. I preach. I whine. I pout. I shrug. I relent. I forgive. I love. Hell, sometimes I even like.

Damn it.


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