Prologue: I initially miss-typed “the unforeseen god.” It could be the rainy-weekend binge watching of The Good Place with the cat I’m hanging out with that has me thinking of god. Or grief. Or Bob Goff’s, “Everybody Always” on audiobook. Or the promise to read a kids’ graphic-novel version of the bible that I am committed to complete-finally. The unforeseen god…the unforeseen good. I have a feeling this is not going to be the blog I’d been stretching across my thoughts’ canvas this week.
Disappointment…No – sadness that tastes first like grief has swung by the Hobbit House again. Thankfully, this weekend was quiet and rain-soaked offering every excuse to putter about in solitude.
Gary, the cat, and I curled up on Kitra’s couch and watched 1.5 seasons of a show that is smart, mischievous, funny and challenging and has Ted Danson playing…Ted Danson. Instead of camping and curling up around a fire, it has been…it is something else.
Putting the book and clothes I’m taking to Hamburg – and my godawful passport – into an ordered pile. It’s been reading. Resting. Bundling up in the rainy cold Sunday morning to run and being passed on the bridge heading out of town by a kid in a tank top and shorts (brrr). It made me laugh as I pulled my dad’s 30+-year-old Gortex running pullover tighter to me.
It’s been a listening call from my favorite son and a face-time hello from my favorite daughter. A looping dream that led me to tears for another and one that led me closer to forgiveness of an old wound. This season of disclosures and presidential taunting has been tough on us who know the sour breath of not-a-stranger on our face or the bewildering shame of wondering whether I wash then call the police or call the police and let this sit in me. Or don’t call and let the shame consume me faster than a judicial hearing.
And the lovingkindnesses of men who do not question the shotgunning effects of trauma on memory and women who – though they don’t understand through experience (thank the good place) – hold rule of law and compassion in equal measure.
So much unforeseen good.
Even as anxiety and loss kept me awake for nights, the exhaustion offered clarity to answer questions of “what do I want to do?”, “where do I want to go?”, and “does action really begin when hope ends?” A stripping away of all that I could or should do to examine next steps as I look for a tiny home in or near downtown Manhappiness, pay my bills, save money for a down payment and live a full life in this small prairie town while still turning my face westward looking for a place to land one day.
Sleeplessness to clarity. Too much awake.
I’ve also been reading more this week and taking a stab at that soul-quieting meditation. Not the wooohoooo kind of mantra-leading meditating, but the quieting of a heart and mind wanting to make peace with the way things are and find a way to inspire community again…among friends, across the aisle and the oceans that too-easily separate us.
I am not the only one. Men and women, friends and others have spoken of their bewilderment, of a nation divided, of unendorseable party policy and the fracturing of a national soul…of personal histories and families who disagree about what is true.
We may feel broken and irreparable, but we are not beyond repair nor hope. I believe this and don’t know why. We are still cognizant, still breathing…still passing this moment of history to the next generation and we have a job to do before we let this dumpsterfire define us.
Good people are still mowing lawns, loaning their cars and cats to people in need, checking on the kids and the old men next door…stopping traffic to walk across the busy road arm-in-arm. I’ve seen it.
This kindness is not theory. It’s not isolated incident. It is more norm than bastardized victimhood promulgated by power and entitlement. Yes, let’s focus on the wildfire so we are moved to act, but let’s also celebrate the very common decencies of strangers, people who disagree and families-people- who are more than they see themselves today. People who bake. Let’s celebrate people who bake. Seriously. Good place bless you, bakers.
Lately, I’ve had to keep a keener eye out for the unforeseen good. For the mid-October cherry tomato (my third this year), the monarch that struggled with the cold and survived the night in the dry coleus pot, zinnias firing up the bitter rain, friends celebrating hard choices and kids learning to read. And so much more.
I read of a post-wartime photographer who said he began to take photos to emerge from his war-experience and the trauma that haunted him. Me too. #MeToo.
And I will continue to look for the less seen beauty and the unforeseen good. For the way the clouds ripple and rivulet over the blue-to-azure sky and the way babies kick their feet when they are happy. For a father who keeps an eye out for his broken disillusioned kids to come home or who stands for his children.
Join me. Let’s walk arm-in-arm across this busy road and help walk one another safely home.