It’s Christmas Eve. Again. The years churn up faster as I get older, and a year-end always takes me by surprise. I’m turning 63 in January. You’d think I would have figured it out by now, wouldn’t you? When it suits my purposes, I can be a slow learner I suppose.
The political events of the past months have rendered me wordless. That’s right, not just speechless, but wordless. Bear with me here. I’m not a big political talker so this won’t take long. However, it is part of the story of 2016 so it demands a mention. In the words of Elvis, many of us following the news stories felt “all shook up”. Never mind that the word should be shaken, rather than shook. We’ll let that slide for now. It was a tumultuous year, and the election brought a level of discord to our nation that won’t soon be forgotten. For me, I felt horror that so much ugliness was let out of the bag. Not just in the election itself, but from the people of this beautiful country. Family, friends, neighbors, all sniping at each other or unfriending one another because of differences in political opinion. It was hot and vulgar and it still is. It wasn’t even often about the political party. It was all about the leader of the party. People felt such helplessness as they watched it all unfold that many did not even bother to vote. And it isn’t the voters that angered me so much, as it was the apathy of those who just couldn’t even bother. How privileged we are to have a vote, and how irresponsible of us not to. Even if we’re not crazy about either party at the moment, not to vote? Unthinkable to me, and to many who value the right to have a say in how our country is run.
As the year moved forward, I felt dread about our political future, oh hell, about any future at all if power fell into what I felt were the wrong hands. The more I heard, the worse it got. Even when I tried to avoid the news reports to save my own sanity, the turn of events haunted me. It was everywhere! I did something that I hadn’t done in years. I stopped writing. It was like I was immobilized and I’d closed off one of the best parts of myself. I felt numb, but I still hurt. Can you relate? It was like watching a horror movie, only it wasn’t fiction. Nothing was going to be hunky-dory in the end. It was still going to suck. Bigtime. Then there was the mourning when it all came to a close and DT won. Just like the stages of grief we all know so well. I still couldn’t write. And I was angry, and afraid for America, for the world. I still am. I have friends in both camps, and our friendships have survived the past year. I have faith that they will survive the next, no matter what comes to pass.
Finally, after the railing, whining, anger, and imaginings, I realize that one person is not going to be able to reverse this process, drag him out of political office and make my world right again. I don’t have the power to have him replaced no matter how many petitions I sign. He’s not going away any time soon. So, the fact is that I had better get a grip and get on with my life.
I still believe in the goodness of human beings. I don’t believe all people from over there are terrorists. I do believe that the world has evolved in many ways to become better because of individuals who tried to light up their own little corner of the world. I think that comes from kind actions, showing up, speaking up, spreading the Light, being authentic, and being generous with love. I believe that giving is stronger than shoving, and that good will prevail over evil. Many people think I am a Pollyanna and I have been accused of that many times. I am a lover of kindness, generosity, goodness, human dignity, and decency. I believe that when others are hurting and we have the power to help them, we need to step up. I believe we need to speak out against injustice and stand by those who are persecuted. I believe that sharing goes beyond our own family or community and extends out into the world.
And I believe in the goodness of humanity, despite current evidence to the contrary. I believe that the way we change the world is by changing ourselves, and being generous in our own lives and our way of being. I believe that our kindness will affect those around us, and like the flu bug it will spread and multiply. I believe that the best way we can heal our country and the world is by first healing ourselves and our own personal relationships. And that we need to stop with the mentality that says there isn’t enough to go around, that if someone else prospers we will lose out, that if we share our bounty, we’ll get less ourselves. I don’t think we have finite boundaries on plenty. I think that we just have to be part of new ideas that will provide not just for ourselves and our own families, but for everyone in need. That takes a dedicated country, pulling together, caring in our own communities and willing to give pieces of themselves selflessly to others. And you know what? I believe we are up to the task. I think that if we listened carefully and we weighed what we saw, and if we had a vision for a world we’d be proud to live in, that this is the lesson we could take away from 2016, that WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS. And that WE HAVE THE POWER to make change.
Do you still think that I am a Pollyanna? Yeah, I know, but that’s okay. The world needs me as much as it needs you, and together we could make monumental change. I don’t mean in some huge, grand gesture, but by the way we conduct ourselves day to day, year to year. If we are going to live in this world, let’s claim it and be agents of change. And above all, let’s believe in the power of love. I still feel that it is greater than all the weapons on earth. Sometimes it’s too easy to get lost in the mayhem and forget that “we are all just walking each other home”. May the peace of the season be upon you.