A lantern in the dark

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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.*

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*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.

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15 thoughts on “A lantern in the dark

  1. Daphne, yes we have problems in the world and country, but they are never as great as the world painted by far too many politicians. Yes, we have social injustice and poverty in our country, but for the large part we are doing pretty well.

    We must address the problems, but we should not overlook the positives. You might appreciate this assessment and contrast in the post I wrote yesterday called “While the Republicans bicker.”

    I enjoy your post and pictures. I am also glad you are volunteering. Doing things for others provides a psychic income. Way to go. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This really spoke to me. Like you, I want my blog to be positive, yet honest, and sometimes that’s hard in the times we live in. It helps to remember that there are many, many people who are stilling doing good in the world, and to add my small voice to that choir. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m more of a stoic and just carry on while everyone else is running and screaming. But I share your experience of wondering what the world is coming to and I love your approach of shining a light and volunteering for what you believe in.

    Blogs are for sharing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You always get me and this post had my eyes welling up on how close to home you got on our feelings of the world. You see I came from the generation that played wildly with no care nor did our parents worry about us. Then as a young woman I hitchhiked with abandon looking only for good. As time passed those things have become unheard of.

    But I still see the good in the world, just like you. My blog of nature and crows tries to make a place for others to see that lantern in the dark your speak of.

    I love what you are doing for the election. It is really important that we all vote. Second that we pick the right person for the job which we may differ on but that is America!

    Like

  5. Margit Van Schaick

    Daphne, when you link to ” children sleeping in the street”, you evoke vivid memories of my own childhood experience as a 4-year-old Hungarian refugee during World War 2, sleeping on straw in a school turned into a refugee shelter, witH my mother trying to make sure no rodents would run across my younger brothers’ and my faces. After five years of waiting, my family was able to immigrate to America. Those were five very hard years, with my parents keeping hope alive in the midst of hunger and hardship. I think it’s really important to be involved in being a citizen of our democracy, and I congratulate you on volunteering to participate in the Presidential election process. Why were we refugees? Because my parents did not want to live in a country occupied by Russia, in a country behind the Iron Curtain. Freedom is priceless.

    Like

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  7. Susan

    The best thing you can do during times like these is to keep on writing the way that you do, and keep looking for inspiration. You ARE a lantern in the dark.

    Like

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