I came to some peace this morning, sitting in Meeting. Kate and I have had a couple of conversations in the last couple of days about how hard the elections hit me, how I may be wallowing in the depression a bit, how being a sad-sack is justified and at the same time how life goes on…
So we went to meeting this morning. I braced myself, driving over, for an hour of popcorn, of people hopping up and sitting down and needing to vent the same depressed, futile anger I was feeling. Instead … silence. Long stretches of silence. And then a message about a poem of Jesus and the disciples walking through a trash heap and Jesus finding beauty even in the teeth of a decomposing dog, which he said were like pearls. And a message about the gifts we bring to the world. And then more silence, and then the kids came in from first-day school.
And then I stood, my heart racing like it does when I stand in meeting. Here’s about what I said:
I woke this morning out of a dream that the world was ending. A black egg cracked open and robotic overlords blossomed out of it to overthrow us all; I was speeding down the highway with one of them in the passenger seat, explaining to it why I thought progressive politics was important. America the great experiment, and the possibility of good governance, etc.
On Wednesday, on some level, I realized that I had the five stages of grief on my plate. The first several stages have been easy: denial, anger, bargaining… no problem at all. But I’ve been pushing “acceptance” around on my plate like overcooked eggplant, refusing to eat it, even though I know it would probably be good for me.
I’m reminded of two things, standing here in Meeting. One is an interview with Pete Seeger I heard several years ago, in which he was asked whether he was sad or frustrated not to see the causes he’d struggled for all his life not come to fruition. He said no, that he’d learned that one didn’t have to see the touchdown made; one’s responsibility was simply to keep the ball moving downfield. That daily progress, however small, was all one really needed.
And the other thing I’m reminded of is the old parable about the psychologist and his two sons, one a pessimist and one an optimist. The pessimist, presented with toys and games for his birthday, fretted about the bill. The optimist, presented with a room full of horse manure, laughed and clapped and said, “With all this around, there must be a pony!”
At this, the room laughed and brightened, and 5 minutes later, we were all shaking hands and saying “Good Morning!” I felt… relieved. The koi in the pond don’t know or care about our election results, and I don’t feel the need to drag them around for years. We go on. We carry the ball down the field.
Or, in Kate’s and my case, we make inari-sushi for the week, go see The Incredibles (HA!), and neck in the car. Things could be worse.