Jeb is the youngest and most recent addition to our asylum-seeker household. Though he’s been in the city since February, he’s been with us just two weeks. All recent immigrants face steep learning curves as they find their way in a new place. It can be revealing to walk through some of these processes with them.
In addition to working part time at an Amazon warehouse, Jeb has been attending classes at a local training center. He rides with a friend to work but has been biking to classes. Yesterday he said the weather was now too cold to ride his bike so he would take the bus to school. Continue reading
I’m trying not to think about the election being less than two weeks away. I’m unsubscribing to all the political emails that have been cluttering my inbox, writing “STOP” to all the political texts. I’m barely skimming the headlines, “watching” TV news with the sound muted while I work a mindless coloring app on my phone. I’ve hand-delivered my own ballot to the county clerk’s office. I’m trying to stay focused on the present, the day to day, the hourly.
It isn’t working. I’m still obsessing about November 3. Continue reading
Another blogger summed it up in a post called “Our Collective Exhaustion.” Patricia Pearce writes, ‘The body-blows that the daily news delivers are almost more than we can handle. Day. After day. After day. After day. It has been relentless.’
She goes on to say that our exhaustion comes from trying to hold back the inevitable:
Back in the days of going to church in an actual church building I used to comment to my husband, after some—not all—services, “That was good church.” What I usually meant was that some aspect, or some combination of the singing, sermon, and sharing during the worship service left me with a warm glow of inspiration.
I counted on but seldom gave credit to the thing that has really kept me going to church all these years, which is community. The “fellowship of the believers.” Continue reading
Six months or more into the pandemic there is a term for one of its side effects, which I am experiencing. “Experts Say ‘Coronasomnia’ Could Imperil Public Health,” according to this Washington Post article.
Evidently I am not alone in literally losing sleep over everything that is happening. I wouldn’t say it’s just the virus but rather the perfect storm of racism, deep political divisions, looming authoritarianism, and pandemic that wake me, achy and jittery, every night around two or three a.m. or prevent me from going to sleep in the first place. My body discomforts feed right into low terror about the country I will be bequeathing to my grandchildren.
I have been wondering how to deal with the fact that my life is brimming with good things while others are suffering, and chaos reigns in many aspects of the larger society. There is a scale between guilt on the one hand and smug, oblivious self-satisfaction on the other that I am trying to navigate. A delicate point somewhere on that scale is a state of humble gratitude. It is delicate because it is hard to rest there for any length of time. It becomes easier when I think of gratitude as a mix of comfort and joy. That’s what I have been experiencing lately.
Let me raise a glass to current life in our house, the Pink Lady. I haven’t named her recently or written much here because things have been shuffling and changing over the past months. We are still in a pandemic, which in itself changes things. I haven’t had much new to say about that for a while. But now I see some surprising ways the pandemic has brought benefits to us, thanks partly to the vision we had when we bought this oversized old home three and a half years ago.
One thing I used to do a lot with women friends was devise ceremonies for particular occasions, focused on individuals, that seemed to call for a little extra spiritual oomph. I have recently resumed that practice, and yesterday was a beauty.
We Protestants tend to be ceremony-shy, limiting our rites and rituals to big occasions such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms. But over the years, I have helped design and execute, or been the recipient of, rite-of-passage ceremonies marking such things as the completion of a thesis, imminent motherhood, a job change involving a new set of skills, a divorce, or a girl’s entry into puberty. Continue reading
I have read Mary Trump’s book about her uncle. I read it to gain understanding of what makes Donald Trump tick—and, with understanding, perhaps some compassion for someone I, to this date, can neither stand nor understand. Continue reading
According to my daughter-in-law’s amazing daily reports on Facebook we are some 123 days into limbo/hibernation, and that is what it still feels like to me because I’m staying pretty much hunkered down. Most days it doesn’t bother me but last night I felt dreadful, full of dread. The president and his minions seem increasingly deranged and so many people have invested their identities in following him. I could say they have drunk the Koolaid if that weren’t so macabre. That is a bit extreme but not much.
The effect of this going on so long and getting so bad is that it has given everyone time to get entrenched in their own views. Continue reading
During the pandemic of Covid-19 I have had a lot of time to think and read. I have also had a lot of time to spend in my garden.
When I am tired of thinking and reading, I am happy to go out into my big landscape garden and pull weeds. Since it is newly planted it has a lot of weeds. I do this in the morning before it gets hot. This takes up any morning energy I might have for writing, so, as a result, I haven’t been blogging recently–which is just as well, because with all that is happening I feel like I have nothing to say, nothing at all to add.
I really felt I had nothing unique to say about that other pandemic of racism and police violence that has captured our national awareness in the last several weeks on top of, because of, along with Covid-19. Could this at last be a transformative moment? Can the biggest mass movement this nation has ever experienced be sustained? How will that happen?
It was just too much to contemplate. And then poison ivy showed up and became my teacher. Continue reading