Woman on a Journey

Better Times: Must We Wait for 2021?

Sunrise Rum River

I wish I could give you 5 Failsafe Things To Do To Survive 2020. I can’t.

My coping method has been to count the months until 2021 and use that number to calculate how strong I need to be. Except that I’m unable to reach that level of strength, and it requires the assumption of two things that aren’t assumable:

1.) We will have better times in 2021. I’ve pinned my dreams on this. Even though COVID-19, racism and the effects of global warming will exist, my hope depends on a change in government leadership so we can face these problems like intelligent human beings who believe in science and right and wrong. This leads to assumption #2.

2.) Trump isn’t reelected, something none of us can assume.

On days when I lose all hope, when I believe I can’t handle my anxiety and fear of our president and his supporters, I fantasize that facilities are springing up to put people into suspended animation until better times arrive. You record your criteria for better times, which could differ widely, and when those conditions are met, the facility wakes you up. There is no handsome Prince to kiss you awake but perhaps if you pay a little more money, they would have you dream that’s how your awakening occurs.

I do realize how dark and wrong this story could go. And that it’s just another way to ignore problems, to distract ourselves from them, to leave the solutions up to someone else.

Isn’t that why younger people are inheriting a very messed up world? They have every right to be angry.

Because better times don’t just happen. Better times are something you work on, create, play into. They are an outcome of how we live, how we view the world, and how we treat each other.

Do What You Can at Home

There’s things you can do within your own household, which is appropriate when we are spending more time at home and adding such things as gardening, bread baking, and cooking to our daily lives.

In our homes, we can conserve resources, quit shopping for things we don’t need and products that aren’t environmentally friendly, shop local and support small businesses when possible, maybe even plant a tree.

Those things are doable. They are within our influence and control.

Taking action in the larger world can appear too big and overwhelming, even in better times. The way things are now, we’re just trying to get through each day. Still, there’s a step you can take.

Vote

People who can legally vote should register to do so and vote in the upcoming 2020 election. I may not agree with who you vote for, but I will stand up for your right to cast your ballot.

Vote by mail, drop-off box, or in person. Just vote. There are links for information for each state at https://www.vote.org/covid-19/.

I was also going to include here several paragraphs about how to select one issue you feel passionate about and do work in that area, but I decided it wasn’t anything you don’t already know. It may also be too much, depending on which survival mode level you are in. If you are dealing with school-age children or are a teacher, you have enough on your plate.

Focus on Taking Action, Not on Criticizing

There is a great deal of finger-pointing, they’re-so-bad-and-wrong, we’re-so-good-and-right, talk out there. Talk is cheap. People can change (if they want to and work at it), but until they change, what we have to go on is their recent actions and words when they don’t have a carefully prepared speech. Enough said…

Instead of getting drawn into attacks and criticism of people and groups with opposing views on social media or elsewhere, we can focus on our own actions and words.

I was in a Zoom meeting bible study, reading Romans 12. We got to verse 17-18, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

I hope you aren’t put off by the bible reference. I almost left it out, but that’s an intolerance fear, which would defeat the point I’m trying to make.

The important part is the question and thoughts the bible verses raised. I think they may be on other people’s minds.

In the Zoom discussion, I brought up how difficult it is to live principles of peace and love when it seems like cruelty, selfishness, and greed rule the day. Nasty voices appear to be what people listen to and believe as truth. Good people are painted to be fools or worse. It’s tempting to strike back out of self defense. How do you not get discouraged?

Being a Peacekeeper

Someone in the group reminded me that being a peacekeeper doesn’t mean laying down and letting people walk on you. It doesn’t mean remaining silent.

You can be vocal about your beliefs but make your communication clear and respectful. Have clarity and truth be your focus rather than trying to say (or yell) something you think will change someone’s mind.

You don’t need to win but you do need to stay in the conversation. That’s how you participate in your community and live well.

Living Well

I’m not sure how to define living well, but I find the sound of those words comforting. It’s not living perfect, or being right, or living safe, or living successfully, it’s living well.

We can’t change the world if there isn’t any beauty or pleasure in the process. Maybe changing the world feels beyond our reach, but changing our view of the world and each other does not.

At the end of yoga sessions, sometimes people repeat together, “The light in me, honors the light in you.”

It’s an easy thing to say in a room full of people doing yoga. Not so easy in a grocery store where someone is screaming at an employee about their right to shop in the store without a mask.

And yet I’ve seen videos where employees remain level and polite while being threatened, called names, and given the finger. They should be paid a lot more.

My point is that it is possible. Not easy. But possible.

Like the store employees, I wish everyone over and over and over in my head to “Have a good day,” and be well. And I hope you can find one thing to do today to create better times for yourself. I believe we all benefit when you do so.

 

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8 Comments

  1. I really loved this post. Thank you for sharing so openly. I think it can be hard sometimes to admit we’re struggling, particularly as a Christian, I can feel like I should have infinite strength and courage. I have to remind myself that while God does have those things, I do not so admitting I’m finding things hard is ok.

    This quote from The Fellowship of the Ring popped up on my timeline yesterday. I found it comforting, not just in relation to the pandemic but also to so many injustices and darkness I see in my country and the world. A reminder that I cannot control others, I can only play my part. I can keep putting “good” out, even when it feels like the “bad” is swallowing it.
    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    1. I love this quote from Fellowship of the Ring, Katie! Thanks for sharing it and your thoughts and for visiting my site. Your comment is much appreciated in these times where we are attempting to call up strength and courage, which sometimes means admitting things are hard.

  2. Lovely piece that left me feeling calm and hopeful.
    And while I sometimes find bible quotes off-putting (which you acknowledge can happen for some of us), I appreciate that you included it as part of your beliefs and of course, the “live in peace with everyone” is not exclusively a Christian value.
    I am reminded of my favourite philosophies best expressed in the Desiderata, one part of which states: “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and be at peace with all persons. Listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant for they too have their story.” So much wisdom expressed in this writing, and it always gives me a sense of Peace when I read it (which is often, as it’s posted on my bedroom wall and has been with me since I was a child in a dysfunctional family).
    I’m not an avid news follower aside from keeping up on current events. And for those times when it seems that darkness, anger, and negativity are taking over everywhere, I am reminded that those are only the things that draw the spotlight. I firmly believe that kindness, goodness and justice continue to be the norm not the exception. I see it in every day life. And I’m sure you do too. And that is partly why I’ve chosen to make a comment on your blog. Connection and Solidarity, to be another positive voice in the world.
    Congratulations on your written submission. It sounds like an interesting combination of subject matter!

    1. Thank you for leaving your comment Linda. I appreciate connecting with another positive voice. Your quote from the Desiderata is wise and something I try to remind myself frequently these days. You never know what’s going on with people.
      And I think you’re right that kindness, goodness, and justice are the norm. We need to pay more attention when we see it and be grateful for the people out there working for a better world.

  3. What a beautiful piece of writing, and so timely too! We are getting into a municipal election here and I am once again chairing a re-election campaign for a candidate whose ethics I admire greatly. I’m doing this despite my ongoing disappointment with our County elected officials as a group because I feel that if this true gentleman can consistently rise above the antics of some of his colleagues, so can I. It’s not easy though, as you so eloquently noted. Please know that beautiful pieces of writing like yours inspire others to keep on trying despite what surrounds us. For that I am so grateful!

    1. Hi Nancy! It’s great hearing you’re involved with a re-election campaign. I so admire people that get involved to that level. I imagine it can put you in the line of fire at times. Thanks so much for your comments!

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