That feeling of dread is returning. It’s more than an upcoming dentist appointment but less than a cancer diagnosis, and it’s moving in fits and spurts–fits from our ex-president who tried to get his way and failed, and who has returned as a regular in the news as the January 6th hearings are underway, an unfortunate yet necessary waste of resources. The replays of his voice, fantasy rhetoric and loop of lies is today as draining as it was the first go-round, and once again, it leaves me simultaneously drawn in, mortified, and depressed.
The spurts are sprays of bullets still and increasingly killing all manner of good, unsuspecting, and undeserving humans. Seems we’ve evolved into an insecure power-hungry lot, and as the world shakes its head and laughs at us, we are failing at life’s most basic tenet, to protect our own and revere these precious lives we’ve been given. The acts of violence themselves are horrific, but that the call is coming from inside the house only heightens the horror and gives way to a weary disbelief and shame as we ask ourselves, “Is this really who we are now?” I’m encouraged, however, to learn of upcoming changes to gun laws in the works.
I’m simultaneously drawn in, mortified, and depressed.
It’s no wonder our baseline worry is higher with all this plus a pandemic, inflation, gas prices through the roof, the war in Ukraine, hate crimes, racism, hunger, and the list goes on. I can neither process nor solve it, but I know I won’t look away; the load is too great, a pile that won’t stop growing.
I’m unsettled and distracted, all over the place on most days as it is, but these days are dizzying in their onslaught of bad news. I’m a Type 2 on the Enneagram, a helper who struggles to find limits and prioritize all the helping, someone who can absorb and feel so much from the news and even TV shows, so I’m trying to balance the overwhelm with how much I can do in my own world and beyond. I realize I need to cover my own face with a mask first before helping others.
As summer settles in, I’m remembering those innocent childhood days running through sprinklers and selling lemonade, and ripe peaches dripping down our chins. It doesn’t much matter if my current mood matches the season’s, Summer 2022 is here, it’s hot and it’s happening, and it will be gone in a blink. There is still much work to do on every front, but I need to take a break from the news, eat a tomato sandwich over the sink, get to a pool and lie out in the sun, and shuck corn for succotash. These rites of summer sometimes feel pointless against this world gone to hell backdrop, but there is a point, and it’s going to take a concerted effort to resuscitate these once effortless traditions, but I think I should.
There is a hopeful intentionality to this magic hunt, pausing long enough to climb into the season and feel it on you. Maybe these efforts are contrived or some wistful homage to a sweeter past, but they deliver the power to activate all our senses, trigger our best memories, and deliver new ones. Summer’s sure doing its own part, cranking out magnolia blossoms, sunshine and butterflies, and as with every year, everyone’s invited.
I can tell I need an anchor, a reminder of something predictable and beautiful that hasn’t been tarnished by our man-made noise and mess, a calm in this topsy-turvy sea. I think it’s been here all along with bunnies munching on the lawn, lightning bugs blinking as the day winds down, ceiling fans spinning at full throttle and fruit flies buzzing around the peaches on my windowsill. There is tremendous reassurance knowing these things are still here, same as they ever were, and that not everything breaks, and I’m on a hunt for more.