My California Girl called me the day after the election. Distraught. When you're distraught about something you call your mom, right? She should be able to fix it, make it better. But I couldn't fix it. I couldn't make it better. As I tried, she only became more enraged that I wasn't as devastated as she was. She's an intelligent, articulate woman, who thinks faster on her feet than I do on mine. The penny drops s-l-o-w-l-y here. It takes a while for stuff to sink in. Clunk. With her though it had sunk in right away and she was undone.
It is beyond comprehension that a person who has said such vile things about so many people could be elected president. Since nothing I said to try to calm my daughter was perceived as helpful, I want to let Kahil Gibran have a shot at it.....
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so
He loves also the bow that is stable."
It humbles me that five intelligent, articulate and very individual "arrows" arrived here through me. Makes me feel like a "portal" of some kind. I can no more imagine "the house of tomorrow" than my parents could have imagined the "house" of today. Each one of my children "have their own thoughts" and I am sure that they and their peers will step up to this challenge with the can-do attitude and creative thinking that, it seems to me, is typically American.
When I channel my Inner Pollyanna, people (husband, daughters, sons) smile indulgently, shake their heads and roll their eyes. I grew up in a world that has vanished, a world that protected me for a long time from some of the harsher realities of life. As a resident alien (will I be asked to leave now?) I do not have a vote, but if I did I would have chosen to abstain. There is no good choice between a rock and a hard place.
(It may look like I'm changing the subject here but I'm not.) They say there are no such things as co-incidences. Maybe "they're" right. Doing some badly needed dusting on bookshelves this week, I came across a book my oldest son sent me several years ago. I had good intentions at the time. I meant to read it. But, like lots of my good intentions, it disappeared under a gradually growing pile of other books. I sat down on the floor and started reading (this often happens when I'm in the throes of a spurt of domesticity.) And the further I read the more I found myself smiling.
Best book I could have read this week.Validation! Someone else agrees with me --- there is nothing wrong with having your Inner Pollyanna control your view of the world. The title of the book is "A Quaker Book of Wisdom - Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service and Common Sense," by Robert Lawrence Smith. It made me think I must have been switched at birth and should really have been a Quaker.
I wish I could quote all of it to my children and anyone else who thinks we're on our way to hell in a hand basket, but I'll confine myself to quoting only one passage ---
That is #5 in a list of ten life lessons listed at the end of the book. From silence, the Quakers believe, comes wisdom and it doesn't take a genius, or Pollyanna, to connect the ubiquitous lack of silence in the world today to a woeful lack of wisdom.
So call me Pollyanna.
I can take it.
And R? I hope this helps.