Past-election contention has brought many of us low. I don’t do contention period. Raised in a home where civility ruled and voices were never raised, my skin is thin.
Reading the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report citing 867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the United States within the ten-day period following the November 8 election did not cheer me up. And so I began wearing a safety-pin – symbolizing my readiness to take a harassed victim’s side.
Although I am still wearing the safety-pin, I’m not so sure that its political symbolism is perceived. Some people probably think that I’m prepared should my bra strap break or the stitching on my coat come lose. The possible uses of a large safety-pin are numerous: a large pin could come in handy if I’m accosted in a dark alley or on a flight commandeered by a terrorist.
A better symbol might be the Shaker’s heart-in-hand. The Shakers were a charismatic religious sect of dissenting Quakers who left England to escape persecution and establish a utopian society. They came to the United States in 1774. Today, Shakers are estimated to number four. The sect’s celibacy no doubt played a part in their decline.
As for the heart-in-hand, the symbolism is obvious. My hand is open in a sign of peace, and my heart is there for everyone to see. My Christmas cookies say it all. Some might dispute the wisdom of extending my hand to “the others,” but show me the person who can say ‘No’ to sugar and butter.
In general, I am trying to be better about “living in the-moment.” I used to scoff at that phrase. Moment? What moment were they talking about? Was it the moment before I fed the horses, or the moment before I went to work? Maybe it was the moments before herding kids? Or the moment prior to eldercare or community service? Ha!
But the last few years have been better. I do have moments now. Not that I make the best use of them, but I can’t complain about outside obligations. Not too many months ago, inspired by Oliver Sacks, Mark and I decided that we needed to observe the Sabbath. We would not work, cook, drive, or use any media on Saturdays. Rather, we would quietly observe our place in the universe.
Despite our aims, I think that we observed our version of a Sabbath on only two Saturdays. As the third Saturday approached, we noted that we had plans for that Saturday. Would Tuesday or Wednesday be a better choice? And, it was downhill from there.
What we have successfully accomplished is to cut our media time. Instead of ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts,’ we have begun to think of listening to world news as ‘Death by a Thousand Snippets.’
Wishing you Happy Holidays and hearts in open hands.