The Welsh rats

It was a Weltschmerz — which we used to call “Welshrats” — the world sadness that rises into the soul like a gas and spreads despair so that you probe for the offending event and can find none.  –John Steinbeck, East of Eden

I’ve got the Welsh rats nipping at my heels today, and I can’t pinpoint why. The sun is shining, the house is clean, the kids are behaving, and I don’t have to go grocery shopping. At least not urgently. We can do without milk for a day.

But something is gnawing. I think the trigger may have been a conversation I had today in which I learned that a second young dad at our school has died in the last three weeks. The first had a pulmonary edema and died with no warning, and the second, lymphoma that was so advanced he made it only six weeks beyond his initial diagnosis. Between them, they left behind five children, the oldest in fourth grade and the youngest an infant.

I’ve been praying like crazy for the brother of my friend Julie. He’s a young dad, too, and he was just diagnosed with melanoma that has metastasized.

Lord, please bless Paul and his wife and their little son. Please help him as he goes through chemo. Please heal him. Please bless his family and ease their worry.

It is heartbreaking. The young dad for my own little family is out in west Texas today, and I worry for him, too. Lord, that he may be safe on the road. That he may be healthy. That we will grow old together and know the joy of our grandchildren.

I’ve wrapped myself in threads of illusion, a woven blindfold that blocks out the terrifying reality that almost nothing is within my control. When a thread slips, that’s when the world sadness rises into my soul like a gas. I think keeping out the despair is perhaps under my control.

To that end, I’m going to go watch Home Alone 2 with my kids. They think it’s hilarious, and I’m grateful to be able to cuddle up with them on the couch.


P. S. Ten minutes in, and I feel better. I love my goofy goobers. :)

Categories: Uncategorized

1 reply

  1. Thank you for your honesty and your open, caring heart.

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