I want to keep this simple.
I am just home from a walk around the same block I have been walking since the fifth grade. The block has changed a bit. Sidewalks mean that I no longer have to walk alongside the ditch like my cousin Daun and I did when we were in high school and exercising before the first morning bell. Fields of corn and horses have turned into a ball park, a beautiful park with swings and slides, a bike park, a soccer field, a swimming pool, and now a super cool tree-identification park. Each time the block changed, my stomach roiled. I’m not big on change. I liked the fields. I liked the horses. I liked the corn and the butterflies and the quiet.
Even so, it’s a great place to walk. And I am learning to love each change–super-cool-tree-identification center easier to love than ball park, but then I’m a slow-learner.
Just now, I went out walking in order to look for love. I’ve been adrift these past several weeks. I watch the news nonstop. I knit. I light up the house and wrap presents. I drink wine in the evenings and watch more news and go to bed with a fist-sized knot in my chest and when I wake, it’s still there.
Last night, my husband and I were watching TV (the news much to his chagrin–he prefers old episodes of Bonanza) and, of course, coverage turned to trump’s weird tweets about a jacked-up plan for nuclear security. We began to reminisce longingly about the days of George W. and his friend Dick, of how much we miss those guys and John Boehner. My husband said a couple of pretty-unloving things about the administration-to-be, and we sat silently together for a little while.
We are not mean people, and yet I feel mean-spirited, angry, frustrated, and anxious. I know what it is–I am surprised. I am shaken. I am shocked, and I do not know how to process these feelings of groundlessness so I turn to anger. It’s easier, after all, to be angry than it is to face the deep abyss of who this election tells me we are.
And it all feels a little silly to me too. After all, I have a very nice life. My house is lit up with lights and candles. My tree is in the front window, and beneath its piney-looking limbs are way too many presents wrapped with bows. I just took two loaves of cinnamon bread out of the oven, and I’ve got a ham in the crockpot. The next few days, I will spend time only with people I love. We will eat too much, exchange gifts, sing Christmas carols, go to church, laugh at each other’s jokes, drink Christmas punch, and be stupid awesome together (that’s for you my cousins!). I feel a little silly being so sad.
And yet I am.
So I am looking for things to love. And I wonder if you would too. At least for the next couple of days. I have to tell you that each time I go outside, I find something to love. The natural world is so full. Today the treetops were furred with starlings. Their soft, dark bodies perched in the bare limbs filled my heart. They are always there, aren’t they. But when the days are stark and the trees have shed their leaves, I can see them. What a gift.
There is so much love in the world, and it is love we have to cultivate. It is only love that will save us. I believe that, but it’s easy, so easy to forget. So I thought maybe we could help each other here. I’d love it if you posted pics (I think you can) or stories of things to love in the comments below.