Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Nous Sommes Trahis

Nous sommes trahis! cried Napoleon's soldiers, when they broke and ran at Waterloo. We are betrayed! It has been, throughout history, a very common thing for running soldiers to shriek.

They had not been betrayed, of course. They had simply lost. But it's much easier on the heart to tell yourself that you would have fought to the last, if only the people you trusted hadn't let you down. And it doesn't take an over-clever Freudian or deconstructionist to guess where the idea of betrayal comes from: they themselves are betraying their people by running. They are, themselves, the people who were trusted not to let their side down. Nous sommes trahis, indeed.

The room slowly went dark; the piano became a looming mass on my right, and the crescent moon rose over the marshland below the bluff. I didn't want the massage to end. It was the one entirely right thing in my life.

Her husband had chased the kids back up to bed, with ominous threats of not being able to do something or other tomorrow if they didn't stay put. After ten minutes or so I heard a soft creak on the stairs. The six year old had to peek in to see her Mom getting a massage. Perhaps I should have looked stern and forbidding, but I couldn't help grinning at her. She crept down again, at intervals, while the moon rose, and we shared the secret of her disobedience: she stared in wonder, and I in turn wondered what category of experience this would fall into, in a six-year-old's world.

A ring of dust where the vase used to be.

Jesus, help me be kind. Help me find a way to be a blessing, not a curse, to those around me.

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