Photo: Things are going more slowly than I’d like, but I’m enjoying how the design is turning out.
I woke up this morning with my stomach in knots. The Husband and I voted last week, but that hasn’t eased any of my ill feelings. On top of everything else, everything else, the underlying feeling of dread and anxiety is causing me physical illness.
From corner to corner of my little suburban world, I’ve been huddling close with trusted people to lament about the tension. So many whispers of sickening dread, so many sighs, so many crossed arms. We keep giving each other the same instructions: keep the faith, engage in the positive, preach when possible, absolutely vote and urge others to do the same.
I confided to a friend that I’d asked The Husband to consider moving out of the country. I even floated the idea that I’d be ok with being a royal subject (yes, friends. I’m that panicked!).
My friend said something so utterly wise that I have to share:
“But nothing is going to change. Not the day-to-day, the people we see, the people we love. We’re still going to all be together, we’re still all going to be here working it out.”
Sure, we wouldn’t like what was happening around us, but at least we’d still be here, connected to the people we love and value, working together, doing the things that must be done.
As I have written in previous posts: every generation before us has thought they were living in the end times. Yet still, they carried on. Together. When the sun didn’t fall out of the sky, they kept doing what it takes to make the world go ’round. They did so with their neighbors, for better and for worse.
I’m going to get up on Wednesday morning and bake bread, because people will still be here and the people I love will be hungry. We’ll all be here together, no matter the outcome.
My Quiet Thoughts come from the glorious wisdom of the utterances said between friends. As we all look on in disgust at the wider state of things, seeing a big picture that scares us, even wakes us up at night, sometimes the focus on the beautifully mundane, the complex and yet intimate, can yield profound wisdom, even a little bit of hope.
My Quiet Thoughts also come from a truth that has been forgotten in all of this but hasn’t gone away, and is the single most important thing to remember: when the lawn signs go away, the commercial breaks back to blessed materialism, the landline no longer ringing with robocalls, and the vestiges of power peacefully passed from one person to another, we’ll all still be neighbors.We’ll be people working under the same sun and same flag. We’ll be neither angels nor demons, as we were never those things to begin with. We will go back to the people we’ve always been.
We are better than what we’ve convinced ourselves we are.
We’re better than this.
I’m not sure I’m going to sleep any better tonight. I’m exhausted, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be sleeping any better. But, I’m grateful for my friend and her words. I know that she didn’t know what she was doing when she said them. If we’re lucky, our teachers come from unexpected places, our best lessons at unexpected times.
Everyone keeps saying it’s just a few more days until it’s all over. That’s true, but it will feel like an eternity. Keep breathing, Dear Reader. Keep marching forward. And, in your debating and your terse conversations, remember who you’re speaking to: neither an angel, nor a demon, but your neighbor.
It is a Friday night in November, chilly and with extended darkness, sweetened by the smell of burning wood, noisy with the crunch of leaves falling and being tread upon. The farmhouse is warm, with the occasional breeze coming through ancient drafty windows. It smells of jerk chicken and pesto meatballs, all sent out of this house for a boy scouts meeting/potluck. It’s a time to take up a book or, for me, needle and thread, and let the world fall away for a time. It’ll all be there for you tomorrow, Dear Reader. We all will.
My first wish for you comes from the sweet intimacy of a silent room: nothing on, nothing beeping, nothing notifying you of anything. I wish you time with yourself and nothing else, listening to nothing more than your breath, your movement, the beating of your own beautiful heart. Take a little time to think your thoughts in peace, to wander in a place only you know and where only you can go. In your stillness, Dear Reader, I wish you peace. We all need a little bit of it right now. I wish you broth, savory and warm, full of goodness that nourishes. Bonus if you make it yourself this weekend. May I suggest one of these vegetarian options? I wish you the opportunity to make something with your hands. If you’re as anxious as I am, or if you’ve been hunched over words/computers/paper all week, let your creative energy come out in some sort of tangible way. When was the last time you took out an instrument to play? Or doodled? Or made something out of clay? Maybe collect some of the falling leaves and press them between some wax papers like when you were a kid. Finally, I wish you the opportunity to do something kind for someone else. Tell someone important that you love them. Hold the door for the person behind you. Sincerely ask someone how they are, how their day is going. Put into the world what you are yearning for–a little bit of warmth, softness, calm.
You are loved, respected and admired, Dear Reader. What you contribute to the world matters. Never forget that, even in the tense times.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, stay safe out there and take care.