Thursday night the family went out to shop and for supper and Friday morning I rose to bid adieu to my niece, who is going back into the bosom of danger for awhile.
About a half hour after she left my body said, "Whoa." I mean my internals actually SAID "whoa"...and other burbled gurgles. I spent a day pretty much in bed and the symptoms haven't entirely abated, but I feel better. Feeling better might have to do with the fact that I ingested coffee today.
Time elapses more slowly when you're ailing and I've gentled it out for a couple of days reading the new book "Coop" by one of my favorite writers, Michael Perry. It struck the perfect balance of escapist and grounding for me. His writing tends to do that. It is thoughtful but not brutal. He's a midwest writer...so I have eyes for the topography and memories to buck up my mental picture of what he's doing his best to describe. I'm almost through with the book and I'm procrastinating the ending.
The past week has been the forest of thought. The national dialogue is grating on me. We have murderers murdering and organizations attempting to place the blame on others than those who committed the acts. Dissent doesn't mean shooting someone, but dissent was being lamented even BEFORE these guys opened fire. Those who want to place blame ought to consider that condemning dissent might have, in part, played a role in the recent violence.
There's an idea that we are entering the post-American world. There's a pressure to label the nation a post-Christian America. If we're going to do that, can we logically throw in the idea of a post-racial America, too? It's only fair.
There seems to be a rise in anti-Christian vehemence in the country. Let's consider. Seventy percent (conservatively) of Americans consider themselves Christian. If you are one of those with the notion that a Christian nation is bad, do an experiment for me. Go to the mall. Now, consider that seven of ten people you encounter are Christians. Does it oppress you? Do you feel a sense of menace? Do you think seven of ten people you encounter can't be trusted to do the right thing?
As for evil conservatives, I think there's a tendency to label as convenient. When did conserving become a bad thing? Most of the conservatives I know are concerned that some liberals want to fix things 'till they're broken. I have to say, in all my internetical voyages, I never encountered a liberal who was ok with how things are going. There's always danger around the corner...someone oppressing someone someplace...some injustice to be magnified into a cosmic grievance. I know I'm generalizing, but please, you've all had ample access to the recent generalizations about conservatives that are floating around.
I think that sometimes it would be good to have a squaredance of the mind and appreciate what we have going. In the recent past there are things I can point to as instances of when we started going off the rails. When someone got money from McDonald's because the coffee was hot, that was a bad thing. It was a death blow to responsibility and common sense.
When Hollywood decided it was a political action committee, that was a pity. Right now, I've put "Far and Away" into the DVD. I think grandma will enjoy it. It was when Tom met Nicole. It was directed by Ron Howard, when he was making pictures that celebrate the human spirit and American perseverence. Before he made the political ad.
Grandma's sucking on a Tootsie Pop. At 101. So, I've had a couple of days to stomp through my forest of thoughts and enjoy some great writing and a good movie. If you find yourself getting jaded, do what I do. I guarantee that if you stop what you are doing and look around you...within 50 feet of you is a "good thing". Not in the Martha Stewart sense. It might be a tchotcke that reminds you of a pleasant trip. It might be a picture of a family reunion. It might be a 101 year-old grandmother exclaiming that her Tootsie Pop is "good!"
But there's something there that doesn't need fixing or changing. It's, in fact, beneficial to conserve it in the form it takes.