I haven’t had much mental energy lately. The election and subsequent ensuing results have whalloped me with a head cloud. A dark blue cloud. Many of my friends and family have been pulled low too. My sons and their loves have been whacked down. So, being bitten by the maternal worry-gene, I fret on their behalf. Before and since the election, the disaster of the Dakota Access Pipe Line continues and I am sadly certain that the water protectors will be removed and will lose their sought after rights. There are too many financial entanglements in both parties of the U.S., our President-elect and the Democratic Party both have close ties. As a nation, we have never respected the rights of our Native Americans and I don’t expect that to start now, an expectation which fills me with shame and anger. But, like others, I am trying to keep my head up, to respond positively to some of the feared challenges that may ensue for my country, and ultimately, the world as far as global warming in particular goes.
In the midst of adjusting to fears about a Trump presidency, life has gone on, as it must. A dear friend and her husband have moved back to Israel. Blue. Another dear friend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer — her prognosis is likely to be excellent, but these announcements shake me back to my diagnosis for a little while. Blue. I want to twitch my nose, a la Samantha, and make it all better for her. A family member has had some challenges with a mental illness. Blue. My elderly inlaws are unable to make wise decisions regarding their care, or, in the case of one, to be realistic about the fact that he/she is not immortal. Blue. Their stubborn independence causes stress for my dearest one, my husband, whose job is extremely high stress this semester. And, he has been quite ill and having inherited certain stubbornness, he is unable to take the time off that he should to truly heal. Blue. My prayer list is long, but my focus in prayer time is shot. Sometimes, I resort to what feels like cheating. “Lord, listen to my friends. I’ve got nothing today. I am shot. Help me focus.” More often than not, when mental fatigue drowns my ability to pray or meditate, I simply ask, “Help me be a blessing for someone today.” And, I try. But suddenly, I looked up, and Thanksgiving was over which means one thing to a Christian. It’s almost Christmas.
Advent began yesterday. I’ve written before of Advent being the time of year when it’s most embarrassing to be a Christian. On the heels of that American nightmare known as Black Friday and today, Cyber Monday, we must turn to the reality of Advent and what it offers all of us, of any faith or of no faith. In my previous post, Intentional Waiting & Writing, I wrote:
Advent is a time of active waiting with a spirit of expectation, longing, yearning and hope. It is a time for reflection, for silence and looking inward. There are implications to this season for writers – writers of all, or no faith. Waiting can be the key to revising a piece you’ve fallen in love with. Letting it sit, putting it away, hiding it, whatever works for you – sometimes, a waiting period is absolutely necessary for revising. And for me, the waiting period is necessary for revising my writing and my life.
Whatever this season means to you, if you’re in a part of the world, like mine, with shorter daylight, grayer days, the knowledge that the world around you will soon seem monochromatic, try to think of winter as a time of active waiting. Active waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means paying attention, looking inward and expecting a renewal.
Diana Butler Bass had a marvelous piece in the Washington Post the other day called Forget red and green: Make it a blue holiday instead. She writes:
Yes, I am blue. Judging from conversations with friends, reading social media and following the news, I know I am not alone. No matter how one voted in the recent election, it is obvious that happiness was a big loser in recent months — with therapists, psychologists and clergy reporting high levels of “Trump-related stress,” especially among women and minorities, including symptoms of depression, sleeplessness, anxiety and isolation.
She also writes:
Blue holds the promise that the sun will rise, and that even after the bleakest, coldest, longest night, the light will break forth, as the new day arrives.
Blue may be the color of sadness, but blue is also the color of hope.
Let us not forget that. Blue can symbolize sadness, but also hope. And, guess what? They can coexist.
I will leave you with Willie Nelson singing Blue Skies as that’s the best song I found with the idea of blue and hope mixed. Enjoy!!