It can be easy to live in the now and feel as though things–life, crime, politics, religion, social justice, weather systems, family dynamics, everything–have never been in more turmoil than they currently are. Particularly without some historical tethering to keep things in perspective. I have always been hungry to learn of the past, exploring legacies–the good and the bad. I believe that worldly fuel helps us avoid slipping into the “end of times” abyss one can find themselves sliding into … especially after the relentless global devastation we’ve experienced over the last 18 months.
And here I sit in front of my computer trying to pull my brain through the fog for a light editor letter for this darling little history pub during weighty times. Fresh off another high-profile sexual harassment accusation case, the fall of Afghanistan, parts of Haiti leveled by another earthquake, inequities all around us, fires burning all around us, a summer robbed by historically sweltering heat and stifling poor air quality. Topics such as the rise of Covid’s Delta Variant, pro- and anti-vaxxers and maskers, how to safely send kids back to school, returning to in-person office settings or working remotely, job losses and industries plagued by apathetic workforces, and wildly rising housing markets, all the while grappling with grief from the grand adventure of “the life and times of upheaval.” All this and a steaming bag of poo has everyone rushing for one another’s throats because we can’t seem to have an opinion or passion without simultaneously wanting to take out someone else for theirs.
On Sunday, our steaming bag of poo was car trouble. My son’s car has a warranty covered issue and is in the shop for who knows how long, again. So, he and I are sharing my car, which, confession, makes me prickly. On this hot as heck 100-degree day, as my son was about to use my car to go to work, my daughter needed to rush off to her dad’s house in her car that … wouldn’t start. After a few frantic attempts to jump start her car, I knew I needed to cut loose to run her to her dad’s house before my son needed to leave for work. As I called her dad to ask if he could meet us halfway, my daughter began advising me on my driving which is another thing that, confession, makes me prickly. And just like magic, within a couple of sweaty moments, we were all snapping at one another.
“Okay,” I lamented. “I apologize for being intense. None of us are mad at each other. We are frustrated by the situation, and we need to lean into grace, so we don’t chop up each other for no good reason.”
“Oh, so there are good reasons to chop each other up, Mom?!” asked my teen.
“There isn’t ever a good reason to lash out and hurt one another,” I replied.
I remind myself—and you—of this as we move forward under pressure cooker times. There is so much noise right now the world needs a few of us to take a step back and vow not to contribute to the chaos. To have and keep and nurture our passions and our opinions, to expand our world views, to be tender toward ourselves and those around us even when those around us bring out the movie-esque warrior fighter royalty from deep within our souls. There are so many voices right now it’s cluttering up our minds, it’s contaminating those once sacred spaces of relationship and community and care for one another. As righteous as you may feel in these moments, it’s impossible to think clearly under the circumstances.
I write this in honor of all we have experienced throughout time and our lives. I write this in honor of everything you have experienced in your life – the physical, the emotional, the psychological. Even though now may not be the worst it has ever been for our world and for humanity, it has been heavy on all of us in ways we most likely can’t or won’t ever fully realize. Leaning into grace may feel counterintuitive when our environment lures us into madness and begs us to rise and fight with one another. I vow to stay aware of my state of mind, to not emotionally chop up others and to always ask myself what kind of mark—what kind of legacy—I am contributing to. And I challenge you to do the same. For, as we’ve learned through history, this, too, shall pass.