I try to fill this blog with hope, and no small amount of humor.
But this week the heart is heavy.
I am mindful of the psalmist (Psalm 123):
But I’m also peeved and angry that 70-plus million of my countrymen are so aggrieved, or influenced by perverse lies, that they have fully supported a wannabe-autocrat in his actions and lies (averaging more than 30 a day, according to fact-checkers, in every single day of his time in office).
I’m angry that, while I have done everything I could to stop the spread of the coronavirus, many of his followers have not. And he has been the agitator who led the way in not wearing masks to protect others, in not ordering career government officials to manage the response to the virus, in not setting a national-level response and expectations for behavior.
Nearly 400,000 US citizens are now dead.
And he bears blame for some of their deaths.
And I’m still locked indoors, now for 300 days.
Our economy is tanking. Education of children and young adults is hurting. Families are fraying. People are dying.
Then we have open calls to insurrection. Race-baiting. Blatant and outright efforts to fan division rather than unity. Locking children in cages. Separating them from their parents at the border. Bankrupting the nation with tax policy. Fiddling while Rome burns.
I felt in my bones this Wednesday that something was going to happen. I thought it would be a riot in the streets, never imagining that a mob, whipped to a frenzy by him and his henchpeople, would literally take over the Capitol building.
How anyone can cheer that act is beyond my understanding.
And what’s worse? I, who pride myself on seeing all sides of a discussion, don’t want to understand that kind of hatred, sedition, and contempt for civil order.
I grew up in a time of governing from the middle. Oh that we still could, and would.
And while I’m at it, if any person alive doesn’t think that cultural racism exists in this country, just look at the preparations for and actions at the Black Lives Matter rallies in Washington this summer, compared to the preparations for and actions at the January 6 events in Washington. Don’t tell me that white privilege isn’t real. It is. And until all people are treated equally under the law, in person, and in all aspects of life, this country is failing in its promise and its reality.
Here’s a happy photo of Nelson in a bow tie, fresh from the spa on Friday, to brighten my gloomy post:
My annual photo review of the year . . . .
Food and kitchen time. Nelson. Garden. Little travel. Hardly any family time. Nine months of no theatre. But plenty of beauty, and of love.
I have friends who call this day “Christmas Adam.”
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.
My Bible tells me to pray without ceasing. Nelson’s canine version tells him “bark without ceasing,” especially when outdoors with the construction guys at the house to the south. One would think Nelson would tire, but he doesn’t.
I was pondering this morning the strange fact that 24 years ago tomorrow was the last time I saw my mother. From my loft apartment in the River Market in Kansas City, I listened to the international broadcast of the King’s College service, then drove to Lee’s Summit to collect her and drive her to the airport to return to Argentina. She had been home on medical leave (and to see her new granddaughter). We parted at the airport. She died 15 months later.
What does one do with some canned mango and some blueberries in the fridge? Add sugar, of course, and heat, and some lime juice and zest. And make mango blueberry jam!
I drove to Columbia yesterday to see my sister Beth, niece Kristen, and great-nephew Leo. Nelson accompanied me. The purpose was a hug and the handoff of some Christmas decorations. I must say that this aging body does not deal as well any more with four hours of sitting in the driver’s seat of a car. I needed a heating pad and some naproxen last evening!
And Beth brought me some Cheetos. I proved yet again that this is a bad thing, as this morning there are no Cheetos.
This morning I read Morning Prayer with a special intention for the Feast of Lottie Moon, who is now provisionally included in the calendar of saints in the Episcopal Church. Lottie Moon was a Southern Baptist missionary to China in the 1800s, and to this day churches in the denomination in which I was raised gather offerings in December to support international missions. My parents were supported by these offerings.
I found the collect for today to be especially meaningful:
O God, in Christ Jesus you have brought Good News to those who are far off and to those who are near: We praise you for awakening in your servant Lottie Moon a zeal for your mission and for her faithful witness among the peoples of China. Stir up in us the same desire for your work throughout the world, and give us the grace and means to accomplish it; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I’m slowly working through several months of Sojourners magazine. This article lead by Jim Wallis caught my eye today:
WHO WOULD HAVE thought that a verse from the first chapter of the Bible would become an “altar call” for a presidential election? Here is our call to faith as we look to Nov. 3: “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’ ... So God created humankind in [God’s] image” (Genesis 1:26-27).
I believe this text about the creation of humankind in God’s likeness is the foundation of politics for people of faith. It means how we treat other human beings, including our fellow citizens, is a theological matter and not just a political one. Mistreatment of our fellow human beings and citizens is also not just a political problem but an offense to the image of God, an assault on imago dei.
Here’s the full article from before the November election.
Winter is coming. I threw out the dead mums this morning, and cleaned some dead things from the flower beds.
The tree is alive with light, as is a candle at my side. Advent is almost over. Here’s a service and music for Advent, as wrap up this time of waiting for this year:
President Whiney-Pants is at it again.
Or should I say President Burn-the-Constitution-and-Subvert-the-Law?
The elected Representatives and Senators who are NOT speaking out about attempted dictatorship and coup are just as complicit.
That man is evil, and the spineless elected ones who support by silence are archangeled minions of their own destruction, and that of this country if they are not careful. At the least, President Man-Child is currently inciting insurrection.
And now back to hopeful things. Like Finals Week. And healthy singing. And cooking.
I am writing on Saturday, one that is only my second Saturday completely free since Labor Day. The freedom manifests itself as luxury.
So I take long pauses in Morning Prayer at my home altar. I say extra prayers for those I love, those in need, those who are traveling. And I ponder how best to focus my year-end giving for maximum impact on immediate needs.
The Great British Baking Show is such a delight, no? Peter nailed it this week, with a handshake and a star baker.
Full disclosure: in the last couple of weeks I have rewatched the Nadiya and Tamal season, and also devoured Nadiya’s Time to Cook on Netflix, from the BBC. Her ‘egg roll’ has become a quick favorite.
I’m outsourcing Thanksgiving turkey this year, purchasing 12 pounds of smoked turkey from Kenrick’s. And some of their traditional stuffing.
Meanwhile, the obscene fricktard cheese puff in the White House fiddles and furies while Rome burns. In the last week alone, this country has progressed to 12 million confirmed COVID cases this year from the 11 million one week ago. This appears to be a virus out of control, and only a massive unified federal response can lift us out of the horrible winter to come. But His Orangeness cannot think of anything but grift and grab and trying to overturn a valid election through whatever mean he can. He himself is illegal, methinks.
At school we will actually have a full faculty recital this week, streamed on YouTube for a sense of occasion. We have 1.5 class weeks left, and then a week of finals, and this long, strange semester will be over.
I am increasingly hopeful that we will be back to normal early in the third quarter of 2021, perhaps by my birthday.
How quickly a dog can go from fresh-smelling to dog-smelling.
I made an apple galette on Friday, in the midst of lessons, class, a faculty meeting, a webinar, and a recruiting fair in Dallas (all on Zoom).
As this is published, we will be in the Last Sunday of Pentecost, the end of the church year, Christ the King Sunday. Advent is but a week away.
My three-week beard disappeared on Saturday:
If only Governor DO-NOTHING had a crystal ball, or expert help, or science, or a shred of backbone, and had actually seen this coming and done something about it all summer and all autumn.
Imagine how things might now be different.
From my journal this past Sunday:
Dinner w/friends last evening. At a few minutes after 7, we turned on the Bluetooth speaker, connected to CNN, and listened.
In the nighttime, under a cloudless sky in Karin’s back yard, we listened. To hope. To reason. To Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.
With relief and with more than one pair of moist eyes.
I kept thinking back to twelve years ago, watching Jesse Jackson with tears of joy witnessing Obama claim victory at a celebration in Grant Park.
The joy is still there. But this time it’s salted with such powerful relief.
While the nightmare may return, it’s over for now.
Thanks be to God.
A powerful moment with Dr. Eddie Glaude.