So, I am here, and fine, and I apologize if I worried some of you. I had to go to Anchorage right after the election and have just returned. It was kind of interesting speaking to the Alaska Broadcasters Association and the Unitarian Fellowship right after the election, to say the least, but I think I did okay. I will share with you some of the Unitarian pastor's comments, which were heartening, when I receive them.
"Please help me find the good in this. I'm devastated and terrified about the election results and don't feel strong enough to explain this to 8-year-olds, let alone bring a little girl into the world with this much bigotry and hate and sexism and awfulness. What's the silver lining?"
"I arise this day Blessed by all things, Wings of breath, Delight of eyes, Wonder of whisper,Intimacy of touch, Eternity of soul, Urgency of thought, Miracle of health, Embrace of God. May I live this day Compassionate of heart, Clear in word, Gracious in awareness, Courageous in thought, Generous in love." -- John O'Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Invocations and Blessings.
Our church gave out a list of morning prayers for each day of the final 30 days leading up to the national election. It’s not political, rather designed to help us “ask God for courage and wisdom, and thanking God for love and joy.” It’s more than a little ironic that today’s prayer is “for our own work for the common good.” This afternoon we have a big meeting in Haines to determine if the community should vote on the controversial harbor expansion project. It’s a long story. I have dear friends for it and against it.
A healthy society is one "in which people who orient around religion differently can disagree on some fundamental things and work together on other fundamental things...how do you have a society in which people who disagree on where to draw the line in the Middle East will perform heart surgery together, or serve on the PTA together? Isn’t that what a diverse democracy is? And it feels to me like the central thing that we do is nurture that ethic of a half-full cup of, “I will disagree with you on this set of things and continue to work with you on this other set of things.”-- Dr.
I have been thinking about this line I shared with you from Garrison Keillor a few months back-- and how it resonates so well with both local and national politics right now:
"Anger is poison. Meet hostility with courtesy. Don't spit into the wind. We've got to live with each other angel cakes."
I typed it out and carried it to my first Haines Borough Assembly meeting, placing it on the table where I could see it. It helped me then, and continues to in dealing with a couple of ugly emails I've since received.
This morning I had a note from a reader who recalled a poem I'd shared a while ago about kindness and empathy, that she knew ended with the word "bone", and how she needed to hear it again, but couldn't find it, and did I know what it was? Yes. It is Miller Williams' "Compassion". He was singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams father, and she wrote a song based on the poem. The sentiments in it are also something really important to keep in mind as I am sworn in tonight as a Haines Borough Assembly member. (The meeting begins at 6:30.) Honestly, is anything in this world truly random?
Of course all anyone is talking about is the snow-- about a foot at our house-- and how could it have been such a surprise? My friend Leigh said she looked out the window and dropped her morning glass of water right on the floor. Even my very organized neighbor has garden hoses that are now buried. I spent an hour this morning shaking the leafy branches of my cherry trees, lilacs, dogwood bushes, Mt. Ash trees, and some of the fancier roses with a broom to save them from snapping.
From "Angels", a poem by Mary Oliver:
"I don't care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's enough to know that for some people they exist, and that they dance."
This weekend we celebrated two birthdays in our family, my grandson baby James, and my fourth child, his Auntie JJ. Here they are when James was brand new. (He's two now!)
In church, we said the birthday prayer from The Book of Common Prayer for them: