The world seems so much darker these days. Is it just me? I catch myself remembering back to when I was a teenager, or a child, and comparing then to now and wondering if it really is a darker place. I’ve no doubt there have been darker times, but not that I can remember. The news is hard to watch, filled with brutality, with dangerously stupid politicians (yes, plural) in this country, with people driven from their homes by war in Europe, even little children sleeping on the streets. This past August, this past fall and winter, I think my heart started to break a little bit. I found myself walking on the edge of sorrow, and picking a path to carefully steer away from despair, my heart cracked, the rough edges ready to catch on any sorrows I came across.
I’ve steered my way through, and looking back, I suspect it’s partly the perspective of a parent, and the worry that comes with that role. As old as time itself, as old as politicians, as old as war, is a parent’s fear of what the world may hold for a child in the decades ahead. I worry. And I am good at worry, I’ve practiced since a child. I have logged the hours. It is, I tell myself, a way to prepare for the worst, while always keeping an ear perked for the other shoe to drop. It’s not a practice I’d recommend.
I’ve been uncertain as to how to best reconcile my perspective with this online space where I write and post pictures of garden bounty and fat chickens. I’ve been trying to figure out how to acknowledge the darkness while remaining hopeful.
In that reconciling of fear and hope, I need to remember a simple thing: that just as old a tale as war, as old as politicians and as old as monsters, just as old as all of these things, are those who create a world worth living in. Story tellers and musicians and good people. A world with kindness and care, with art and joy and humor. A world with music, and stories, with fat chickens and good dinners, and with well-thumbed books. These are the things that make everything worthwhile.
So, I will keep posting here about my fat chickens, my favorite books, my garden, and my stories. This is my world, and I’m happy to share a window to it. I’m here to share, and to cheer on others who work to create and share and show the good parts of this world, and what it can be. This is the world I’m fortunate enough to enjoy. It’s a world I wish for every one. So I offer this space and hope that it will glow (like a lantern in the dark, one of many), this online space where all are free to stop by. I have a friend that goes to church to light candles for those he loves and cares about. For many years candles have been lit as an offering of hope, and prayer. So this site is, for me, my way of lighting a candle.
I also began to volunteer, as a way of getting out and actively supporting the world I want to see. And mind you, I have a full-time job, but I felt it was important to find the time. First, volunteering a few hours and then an hour here and there locally. And, since last month, I’ve been working as a volunteer for the national campaign of a presidential candidate. Yeah. Really. In case you haven’t noticed, the election campaign season in my country has gone off-the-charts-crazy. Actually, pretty alarmingly crazy. Like, uh, red-alert super embarrassing what are people thinking crazy. So I found the candidate who aligns with the world I want to see, with integrity, and consistent good judgment, with a record and vision I could stand behind, and I signed up to volunteer.
And you know what? So far, I’m really enjoying actively participating rather than just watching. I’m volunteering from home to send “Get out the vote” and “Get out the Caucus” texts to all states, as well as invites to events across the country. And when people have questions or respond, I am there to read and reply to their questions and comments, their photos of “I voted” stickers, their need to know where their polling place is, and when it closes, or how to caucus. It’s quite rewarding. If you get a text from someone who says “Hi… it’s Daphne w/…” that might be me!
So if you find yourself, as I did, trying to steer a path though ominous news headlines and crazy current events, I encourage you to share your both your perspective and your time. Get online, and get out there in the world and share the good you have, and the good you want to see.
Run against the grain of selfishness and fear. Acts of love and grace and hope are really acts of protest.*
*paraphrased from Stephanie Ebert’s “In the Valley of the Shadow Light has Dawned” who also has a blog called “Bridging Hope” that you can check out here.