Words for These Days

Current national events have broken something open inside our collective awareness. The lines are being drawn and I’m not sure how things will look in the upcoming months. In my own body the pendulum has swung wide, from deep grief to galvanized anger. I never know what a day will bring. When you see Eric or my kids you may want to offer a kind gesture or a knowing glance. The truth is being revealed. We can no longer live in denial in these present days. 

It’s been a long upward hike. The air is getting thin and the laden backpack pulls us downward. The mountain pitch just notched up another few degrees. We stop, gather our wits, cuss, swig some water and shuffle forward – one foot in front of the other.

There’s no perfect or right way to do this. There isn’t. Ignore the voices that tell you there is. There isn’t. All of us have our path to plod, built for our unique story and body and experience. None of us can tell another what to do or how to do it.

Take some time away. The rest of us will breathe for you. It’s okay. Keep mindful but factor in some mindlessness too. A little Queer Eye is perfect medicine. A walk outside. Look up, notice the leaves, stop long enough to absorb the clouds – how they blossom and scoot. Remember that all life is life. All life is sacred, even those damned weeds that grow in the concrete cracks too skinny for plucking fingers. Talk to the weeds. Talk to the dogs, and if you’re in a good space, talk to the people about the dogs.

Find a book, one that sucks you in and is more exciting than anything your phone can offer. Put the coziest sheets and covers on the bed. Use your best hand lotion before you fall asleep. Open the window and let the breeze blow.

Make love.

Crack open a game of Monopoly. Play with the kid you know you can beat. It will teach them an important lesson while it helps you feel successful. Don’t rub it in, just retreat to a hidden corner and do a happy dance for five seconds or so.

Get good music on repeat.

Come to church and/or a Community Dinner. You will find like-minded souls.

Don’t answer the phone if you don’t know the number. Recruit someone else to listen to the voicemails. Refrain from answering your doorbell if you’re not expecting anyone.

Find your coziest blanket and snuggle with a child, a pet, a pillow, a partner (not always in that order).

Take your space. Wear the comfortable clothes.

Eat. Just eat. It doesn’t matter what it is. 

Monitor social media usage. As a form of solidarity and community, few things can match Instagram right now. But be careful with Facebook. Be careful with comments. Your engagement will NOT change anyone’s mind. Is it your work to be in community or is your work to challenge?  Pick one, you can’t do both right now.

Stoke your indignant anger. We need you soon. If your anger is latent, it’s because you need to grieve. Grieve well, friends. This is the true beginning.

Talk to someone – a pastor, therapist, friend. I have names.

I’m not sure what tomorrow holds but something has died. The personal and collective grief is real. My bones ache. My eyes are heavy-laden. My muscles twinge. My body is tired – a deep, painful weariness.

We don’t have to do our best right now. We just have to be: caring for ourselves, holding our people and/or pets, loving the earth, staring at the sky.

We are designed for resurrection. We are created for redemption. This is our birthright. 

Remember that Love Wins.

We belong to one another and we need one another.