Friday, February 10, 2017

Past / Present

“Community means that we have a place where we belong, no matter who we are.”
~ Hillary Clinton

This comes from a handwritten  journal of quotes bequeathed to me by the husband of a friend who died two days before my birthday in 2012.. It is so precious to me; I loved (and will always love) her dearly. Her gentle nature, care for the planet, love of animals, and supreme kindness, are always with me. But, I’m still my cranky self; I think I should write a “positive” post full of gratitude and grace and hope. Brie would have known how to embed these in whatever she had to say, no matter how critical of and distressed by she felt about the powers that be. The quotes in italics in this post are from her journal.

I’ve lost my mantra. I’m hoping it’s only temporary. You know, the one I’m always quoting? “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” Bit of a distance from most mantras I’ve seen, but has felt apt for me for a long time. Many of us thought 2016 was a really hard year, distressing for so many reasons - medical/personal/emotional/political. I’ve heard and read this over and over again about 2016. The political is personal, medical, and emotional. The overarching spectre of Drumpf is now made real. Like an uncontrolled wildfire, it’s destroying everything in its path.

“...State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes, the energy sources, the kinds of security, for which you would kill a child. Name please, the children you would be willing to kill.”     
~ Wendell Berry

Betsy DeVos was confirmed to the Department of Education this week. Every public school child will suffer the consequences of the appointment of a billionaire heiress who has maybe never set foot in a public school. I’m not sure what will survive DeVos. I can’t help but wonder what Brie would think about all this, would have thought about the last year. What has happened in our country would have gravely injured her soul.

“Modern life requires an appreciation for the complexity and interconnectedness of people and other living things, if we hope to maintain both the planet and our democratic institutions.”
~ Deborah Meier

My friend was over having soup with me the other day. Her observation/fear that “ruling” by executive order, as Drumpf is, is how dictatorships rise to power. She was born and raised in Germany, a generation post-Holocaust, and she would know.

My brain is confused by the coexistence within it of an all-encompassing global and national depression, as well as the sadness that can at times accompany everyday life at home and in community (the passing of a beloved friend’s beloved dog). And of course, there’s the boat I contend with in which I ride out the tumultuous, unpredictable, unforecasted storm of cancer life with so many friends and strangers.

If access to health care is considered a human right, who is considered human enough to have that right?”
~ Dr. Paul Farmer

Poem for the week:

how do you stagger there
to a bewildered crossing of your finish line
perhaps so much like a metaphorical marathon?
you might be in pain,
all at once
half marathon but can't find marathon pics

what if you think, wait!
this is a mistake! i’m not finished!
this is my 20-mile mark
i still have the most challenging,
most satisfying last 6.2 to go
the part for which the human body
is not designed

why am i covered in a crackling silver blanket
so warm for all its lightness, its texture of paper?
why am i being led aside
to such a dark and quiet place?