A pretty but too early snow falls in my birthday week. Global warming, they say? Well, the snow is falling on autumn leaves that are still attached to trees. Trees used to always be bare by my birthday. In recent years they hang on at least two weeks longer than before. So what does it mean when fall comes later and snow comes earlier?
The key is that it is unusual. Nothing is normal. Or, the new “normal” is change and disruption. Unpredictability is an ambiguous gift for my birthday.
So also goes the political scene. I may or may not watch the impeachment hearings. I follow developments through the nightly Facebook posts of the historian Heather Cox Richardson. Trying to understand what’s happening, with as few distortions as possible, seems all I can do. The facts are important but they’re not enough. Background and big picture are also needed. Richardson provides this but it doesn’t give me any consolation. The election, in which we will all have a tiny bit of say, can’t come soon enough.
I hear this morning of a major disruption in the life of an acquaintance. I understand nothing of this. I understand so little.
I understand so little of what our asylum seeker, waiting just on this side of the border to be sprung from detention, is going through or has gone through to get this far, though I speak to him briefly on the phone almost daily. I wait to hear the full story face to face, but even then, how can I understand fully? We will do what we can to provide support for this one person while thousands of others suffer.
Sometimes a little understanding and a little power can make us feel all the more ignorant and helpless.
And yet I feel like celebrating my Big 75th Birthday day after tomorrow. We’ll drive a few hours east so our daughter can give me healing energy and bodywork and take us to tea and dinner. Joanna has a gift of healing that I am always ready to receive. I am really ready for it this week.
I am inviting friends and readers to party with me by contributing to the cause where I have been exercising my gifts in recent years: the Congo Literacy Project. This project and being a grandparent have been among the greatest joys of this period in my life.
Sometimes the greatest gift is just to know one or two things that we can offer joyfully to the world. And to know one person, or two people, or a community who can join us in living with grace in uncertainty, pain, and change.