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.
I am so pleased you were able to verbalize my thoughts. For many reasons these holidays bring sadness with them. Memories of past Christmases as a child when our biggest worry was …..did Santa get my letter or will the right person invite me to the Christmas dance? But this year with all the uncertainty concerning the future of the world, sadness is an easy state into which to fall. So I do as you do, I walk down the road that I have walked for years, I play with my granddaughters, I visit with friends who are going thru many of the same things and I find happiness in unlikely places. The Cardinal at the bird feeder, the I love you, Grammie, from the Littles and a good latte drank while reading a good book. Merry Christmas.
Karen, I am so glad that you are there, reading my blog and responding. I look so forward to your insights. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Love,b
In a time when I feel like I’ve lost some precious things, I have been lucky to be reminded of the brightness of the future with every movement of my unborn son, every uncontrollable giggly shriek from my wild little girl, and every snuggle of my grandson. I’ve watched my teenage daughter truly become a woman, both in terms of suffering and joy — thankfully, the joy has won out. I have amazing friends and family. I have a wonderful home and a Viking husband. I have a job that fulfills me. I love and have love.
Mary Morris, you always say the right thing. Thank you for this wonderful message on Christmas Eve. Love you so very much!
I feel the same way about the approaching administration. It’s nice read the same feels of someone else. Even in a weird way it’s comforting.
I love the blessing of my children. Watching them finish high school and start college has provided happiness, sadiness, and sleepless nights in 2016. Looking forward to more sleep hopefully, in 2017.
I love my new job as a principal in an elementary school of 645 students. This new challenge has given me the much needed distractions and ample amounts of activities/work to keep my mind and body busy as my empty nest has pleaded my heart.
I love and am thankful for family and friends who provide my life with insulation in all the gaps I need filled. Without them the breeze could be chilling.
Happy Homidays to you and your family.
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Linda, I love that you describe your friends and family as insulation. What a beautiful way to describe the warmth and comfort those we love give us. Happy Holidays to you too!!!
The reason you feel love when you look upon the simplicity of nature is because the universe was created by our creator and he marked it with love. God is love and his signature is on all creation…in the songs of the birds to the vastness of space…it is simply beyond our comprehension how much our great and awesome God loves us! Yes, we must share that love…it is to reason we exist. In the scheme of things, (many things we do not understand) God keeps it very simple…love one another…
Ah yes, Patricia. I do believe that too. Whatever you believe in, whether it’s God or the Goddess or an innate goodness or a divine energy or just human kindness–it is very simple: our call is to love one another. The world in all its immense and incomprehensible beauty does show us that.