Love With A Capital L

A journey towards living an inspired life of love in the modern world

Either/Or or Both/And — August 6, 2020

Either/Or or Both/And

Bryson DeChambeau is a professional golfer who recently added 40 pounds of muscle and started outdriving everyone in golf history. Before we get into today’s post, I just want you to know that I, too, will be riding along with the sports media’s silence and will not be asking the obvious question…Unless somebody else does. And in that case, the public narrative will be feigned ignorance, surprise and outrage. This is protocol. We all agree that we don’t really mind if every athlete is doped up, hitting balls cartoonishly far, as long as they don’t rub our noses in it with positive tests or confessions. So, yes, Bryson DeChambeau is a weightlifter and all the distance records will fall and we’ll all be keep our mouths shut about it. I honestly don’t mind, even a little. The only offensive thing about this social contract is the aftermath, when we self-righteously pontificate about ‘ethics,’ ‘fairness,’ and the children.

We sure are silly sports fans, willing to accept anything to defend our childish ideals.

Anyway. I want to discuss something today that is probably unrelated to Bryson DeChambeau. Well, if they are related, the link is in the stories we tell ourselves to understand, explain, or rationalize our behavior.

I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. This alone created an environment that is easy to imagine, many of us were raised (or now live) in spaces where we felt as if we were “walking on eggshells.” Someone was unpredictable and volatile, often violently so, and to survive, we learned to be pleasers. We avoided conflict, suppressing emotions and opinions in the service of what we thought was peace (but was in reality it’s opposite). That’s the first thing.

I am also deeply sensitive and empathetic, with a gift for being able to truly see all sides of every argument. I do have deeply held principles, but they do not hinder me from this ability. It’s why I make everyone pretty comfortable. Ideally, this is the safe space from which they can honestly seek the truth. When there is disagreement, I often don’t confront. I listen and ask a million questions, believing that this safety is essential to growth, free of judgment, free to change.

Now. I am either crafting beautifully valuable soil…OR I am a child pleasing his father, afraid to confront and suffer wounds on the broken eggshells.

I wonder which one it is.

I am also a guy that tends to black & white, always & never over-generalizations. Last night my thought was that maybe my wondering which one is actually wandering down a misguided path. Like most things, I have learned, the answer is both. My ridiculously simplistic question, “which one?” is only answered with a “Yes.” I am crafting beautiful soil AND I am pleasing, ignoring the song of my soul and spirit. I read that wisdom is less what to do as it is when to do, because the right action at the wrong time ceases to be the right action. In fact, the “right” thing can destroy relationships and build thick, high walls of steel.

The answers we receive are directly related to the questions we ask. Flawed questions will never lead to true or meaningful truths. Today is a very good day because I think I’ve finally stumbled into the question that can lead me away from that familiar fear of a child and into the man I have been called to be. Now, I can wonder something altogether new and exciting; what that, what I, will look like.

 

 

RAIN!!!! — August 4, 2020

RAIN!!!!

It’s raining. Actually, that’s an understatement. Tropical storm Isaias (pronounced, I think, E – sah – E – yas, I heard it’s Portuguese and that sounds like it might be true) is pounding the east coast of the United States, which is where I live. We need the rain, the grass has been brown-ish and dry and it has been unbearably humid for weeks and weeks.

On this damned humidity: I have asthma, but I don’t usually suffer anymore. When I was a child, I did, but not much anymore. Only if I exercise outside in the winter (so I don’t) or if the humidity is so high it strangles me. This is that kind of humidity. It’s like having a serial killer just outside my front door, lying in wait to choke me the second I leave.

So, we need the rain.

But in September 2011, another tropical storm (Lee) barreled into town, loaded like a freight train and flying like an aero plane. (That is a reference to a perfect Guns N’ Roses song as well as a story about a G N’ R cover band written by Chuck Klosterman that I just loooove. The song is Nightrain, by the way.) Lee came in and set up in the sky over my town, unmoving, and 3 days later, my house and everything I owned was underwater. This event was so significant to my family and I that we often speak of our lives in before- and after- flood terms. Each of us were forever changed. People were terrific and people (mostly people in utterly broken systems, like insurance companies and government agencies) were horrible. To quote a famous novel, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Now we watch the weather and consume forecast models like addicts. A hard prolonged rain sets us on edge until the sun comes out. We check the basements and gutters over and over, every puddle is a sign that we should at least start to consider packing up our photo albums and overnight bags.

When we had to evacuate our home in 2011, we took only 1 tub of toys (Rescue Hero figures) because whose house really goes underwater in Pennsylvania? A few years later, we lent those Rescue Heroes to another family for their boys and they were returned 2 weeks ago, so as it pours against this window, that exact tub of toys is within arms reach.

My wife texted me an hour ago with a sad face and I know, baby, I know.

It’s interesting. If you ask me about it, I would tell you it’s one of the best things to ever happen to me. I am different and I wouldn’t be without that time of growth, of tremendous stretching. That’s true of most pain, though, isn’t it? While we don’t wish it to happen to anyone else, and likely wouldn’t choose to travel those roads again, we are thankful for who we are now. (At least I am;)

Except when it rains.

The Fling — August 1, 2020

The Fling

On Saturday mornings, I attend a contemplative retreat. Long periods of silence and meditation aren’t everyone’s bag, but they are certainly mine. The pace and noise of life very easily prove overstimulating and leave me exhausted and empty, to check out for even an hour on Saturday mornings are like water in the desert.

This week was no different, but it is a seemingly throwaway comment made early during the hello’s and how are you’s that I wanted to talk about today. The woman, Susan, quoted a tv show called Northern Exposure: “It’s not the thing you fling, it’s the fling itself.”

I never watched the show, don’t remember the context she provided, and honestly couldn’t care less about either. The quote is absolutely perfect and vital to our every moment of every day, no matter if the show was great or terrible, no matter what they were flinging or why.

I might amend it slightly, to say “it’s not the thing you fling or where it goes (if it goes anywhere at all), it’s the fling itself.”

If I write this post for the likes or comments, with an eye towards potential advertisers and income… well, so many things will happen. I’ll probably, on some level, conscious or not, begin to tailor it to reach the most eyeballs. It will cease to be 100% honest, because authenticity is usually packaged with sharp edges. I will drift into what I think you want to read instead of who I am, carefully crafting the image of taste-making, (insert popular characteristic I can pretend to possess here), supercool famous blog rock star. I will shoehorn the “thing to fling” into the popular trend.

And if I don’t get enough response, then what? I’ll quit or I’ll put on some new clothes and opinions and try again to fit the current to achieve an imaginary idea of success. Either way, it’s superficial and fake. It’s what we used to call, back in the day, “selling out” and the internet is lousy with it.

As you may or may not know, I am the pastor of a small church and as far as I can tell, the Bible is (among other things) a library of books connected by the Art of Subtraction. We subtract all of the ways we invent to manufacture an image – in the Scriptures, it’s called hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is meant to describe actors on a stage, bending themselves into a role to be what the audience wants them to be. Except in this case, our lives are the stage and we bend ourselves so much and so often that we forget who the person is under the mask. It’s a focus on the ends, the responses, the rewards, instead of the life-giving passion and fulfillment that only comes from stripping the expectations until we are left with exactly who we have been created to be. We subtract all of the extraneous layers until we are left with the genuine true us.

Now, maybe that includes gigantic paychecks from YouTube and fame beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe I’ll be driving a fleet of Rolls Royce’s by next summer due to an avalanche of social media adoration. Maybe I’ll be the next darling of Instagram or TikTok. But if that pseudo-success includes any hint of pretense or masquerade, it’s going to feel hollow and leave us wanting more and more, trying to fill the hole that all of our different costumes can’t plug.

It’s the fling, the process, the naked transparency of being exactly who we are and doing exactly what we’ve been made to do (whatever the thing to fling or where it is flung), that tears down walls of division and builds something new, inspiring, significant and undeniably awesome.

The fling is what builds a beautiful life.

General Zod In Waco — July 30, 2020

General Zod In Waco

I told you last week that I was falling apart, right?

We’ll talk about that in a few paragraphs, but first I want to give you a quick recommendation/review. I followed up the Filthy Epstein documentary with the Waco series, also on Netflix. It’s a 6 part series based on books written by those closely involved, produced by and starring Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon. Taylor Kitsch hasn’t been in anything I’ve seen, but is outstanding as David Koresh. Michael Shannon has been in quite a few things I’ve seen (General Zod in the newest Superman movies, Walt Thrombey in the awesome Knives Out, etc) and is terrific in everything, including this, as the chief FBI negotiator.

It’s the feel-good hit chronicling how the FBI & ATF murdered 76 people. Maybe we can talk about the things the Branch Davidians (the group led by Koresh) did wrong or that we don’t like or understand. Surely, there are plenty of those to discuss. But I’m absolutely positive none of those things deserved the death penalty. It was disgusting and when the final credits rolled, I cried and cried. It’s beautifully written and acted, an excellent miniseries.

Now back to the beginning. Nothing is new about me falling apart from time to time. I have ups and downs, like everyone, but as I am told, not everyone feels them quite like I do. When I was much younger, the dark down parts felt like they’d never end and I’d often contemplate anything to end the darkness. Now, I don’t ever think about making today my last day, because I know the darkness isn’t forever. I know the darkness will pass and it will be light again, sometime. That’s as good of a definition of faith as I can find.

It’s been dark for me for some weeks now, and as my tears dried from the horrors of Waco, my heavy heart plodded to why? After breakups in college, I would listen exclusively to the Smiths, Morrissey and Depeche Mode and the other saddest songs I could find. I’d play “Unloveable” on repeat. Why purposefully walk deeper into that abyss? As I watch the pain of Federal Agents being sent into Seattle on the news, why am I choosing the story of Waco, TX? When I’m overwhelmed with sadness, maybe the murder of women and children isn’t the best option. Or is it?

Just like in the kitchen, it really matters a what we put in our bodies. But I’m not sure what that even means when it comes to this. I refuse to ignore or avoid the pain of real life…but maybe diving in so fully isn’t the healthiest, either. Maybe I need, say, 2 Morrissey albums and then a mindless electronic dj mix, like a cold glass of water tossed in my face to remind me that a full life contains joy as well as pain, mindless superficiality in addition to matters of weight. Depth includes laughter, too. Not just tears. Who knows?

But I can’t stand electronic dj mixes. (I call them mixes – maybe that’s what they call them, too – because they’re not songs or albums, they’re just beats and pulses. They’re not really anything, are they? Besides awful, I mean.)

So. I don’t have a nice tidy ending, here or in my broken heart. We’re just having these conversations.

Hot — July 21, 2020

Hot

It is hot where I live. I saw a meme (which are what passes for the wisdom of our generation) that compared these days to the level in Super Mario where the sun was trying to kill you, and that’s close.

Anyway.

I watched the Netflix documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich last week. This was a series that detailed how an empty vessel of a human being victimized tens (probably hundreds, maybe thousands) of young girls. He did it because evil exists in the world. He also did it because no one would say or do anything to stop it, because money talks and/or because they enjoyed the sexually trafficked children as much as the monster in the title.

Just a quick aside: When Bill Clinton says he absolutely was not on the island or in any of Epstein’s houses, and there is evidence that he was…well, it’s a very bad look. I didn’t think he was necessarily involved in the trafficking, but the lies scream that there is something to hide and I might be wrong. He may have been a fine president and a swell guy, but he has proven over and over to be of pretty poor character.

I am also watching the downward spiral of humanity in America played out on my television and social media every second of every day. I happen to be a man who believes in God and the Bible and follows Jesus. I think there probably is an enemy (I don’t think too much if he’s red and horned and carries a pitchfork like in cartoons, though) and if there is, he would absolutely start with isolating us from each other. We would stop listening and only talk. The separation would make us myopic and selfish, only concerned with what we want and what it means to meeeee. It would make us see in terms of us/them, as enemies instead of brothers and sisters. It would make us desperately need to be right, at all costs. At that point, culture would be a tinderbox, waiting for a spark, which this enemy would provide. We would tear each other to shreds, literally and figuratively.

I see politicians and political parties elevated to gods, doing anything and everything to achieve and secure more and more power. If any of us can trust even 1 word spoken by any politician at all anymore, I simply can’t imagine why.

So, how did we get here, where an angry review of a well-made film became an indictment of our recent collapse? It’s easy. Because the vast majority of the people and systems in the documentary were riddled with corruption, consuming anything and everyone in their way. Now, it’s 2020 and the names of the people might have changed and the systems might have cooler logos, but it’s business as usual in the empire.

I’m not usually this frustrated or depressed. I’m actually pretty relaxed, if a bit high-maintenance at times. I have a perfectly lovely rabbit named Honey-Bunny (like Amanda Plummer’s character in Pulp Fiction) and 2 hamsters (Snowflake and Pete). My favorite song is “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” and my favorite book is “Breakfast of Champions.” You’d really like me I bet. Maybe not today, though. Maybe it’s this heat. It’s oppressive, like one of those new heavy blankets that smooshes you into the mattress.

 

This Morning At The Gym — July 13, 2020

This Morning At The Gym

Once we received our “Green” designation, the gym I belong to was free to open. There would of course be the changes we notice everywhere – space, masks, distance, etc. One big change was the hours of operation. Instead of 24 hours, my Planet Fitness now opens in the morning and closes at night. This was the one that caused me an unhealthy level of concern.

You see, I transferred to PF because the old gym had a morning employee problem. None of them could be counted upon to open on time. There were 4am’s (too many to count) where we would sit in our cars or on the sidewalks and wait…and wait…and wait, until we could wait no longer, and abandon our workouts.

The great thing about a 24 hour gym is no one ever opens so on one ever doesn’t.

(Before I get too far, I am still aware that we are in a global pandemic and the problems of hours of operation and irresponsible employees at a local fitness center are not what any of us would call too important. But we have been in an intense time of anxiety and upheaval – maybe a sense of normalcy is exactly what we need. In a time where things are wildly coming undone, maybe a sense that there is something at all that we can affect holds some allure. Maybe in that sense is the key to regaining our mental as well as physical health. Maybe not – just know I know how trivial this 1st part is.)

So, a week into our re-opening, the gym doesn’t open. While I’m sitting in the parking lot, with nothing to do, I post on the Planet Fitness members page on Facebook. Not because I’m particularly angry or looking for retribution (after all, these things do happen), but because I understand the power of a “Me too.” Someone else saying, “yeah, I understand” and that being the truth is undeniably healing. Especially now, I just want to feel like someone else is there, like someone understands.

My post was taken down in minutes by the Admin, but not before I would receive 5 surprisingly nasty comments. Instead of presence and understanding, I was mocked and berated.

I don’t know why they were so mean. Of course, everybody can be mean online in ways they would never to my face, but where does that impulse come from? In the Fight Club film, after mercilessly pounding another, the narrator says, “I just wanted to destroy something beautiful.” Is that it? When we feel stripped of all power (whether ecologically, biologically, or politically), is any exercise of force enough to regain the illusion of control?

Is that why the discourse online has devolved into a battle royale, where the best insult shouted the loudest with the harshest 4-letter words “wins?” Where our most devastating hurts must be passed along to another immediately, safely behind a screen of anonymity?

I know this gym nonsense is trivial, but this condition sure as hell isn’t and if we intend to move forward, as a nation, as human beings, I think we’re probably going to have to acknowledge all of this powerlessness and isolation that is causing so much suffering. We’re going to have to acknowledge that we’re not just names and avatars and the sum of our emojis. We’re going to have to acknowledge that we’re all just people who are in this mess together.

Family — July 8, 2020

Family

We need to talk about The Family on Netflix. It’s about a super-secret Christian organization that may or may not be pulling all of the strings in America. Full disclosure: I’m only 2 episodes in (out of 5), maybe by episode 4 or 5 I will no longer use the phrase “may or may not be pulling the strings.” That appears to be the way it’s going. The music is ominous and in my experience, it’s not usually very awesome anytime anything is super-secret. But I don’t know that yet.

So far, it’s a group of boys hanging out together having Bible studies and playing football, men having clandestine meetings with politicians and world leaders, and women who say things like, “the men spend all their time serving others, who is serving them?” Maybe that’s ok. Maybe it’s even ok to have frat house-ish buildings with tax-exempt religious status, too.

But politicians seem to historically have pretty much trouble with infidelity, and this super-secret Family rationalizes these indiscretions with a shoulder shrug and a questionable reading of the story of David & Bathsheba: an “oh well, when you’re chosen by God, these missteps don’t matter much.” And then the bright lights go away, politicians keep their offices and their club memberships. And maybe that is how it should be. Forgiveness is a vital tenet of the faith, right? We all fall, right? These politicians get caught, (then, ONLY then, always after they get caught) are sorry, have a community in place around them to help pick up the pieces of their lives and re-dedicate themselves to their wives, children and constituents. Is that cool? Redemption in real time?

I suppose it depends on where you stand how you tell (or interpret) the story.

For the first 22 years of my life, I hated God and Christians. I would have heard this story as one of pure corruption. The “Family’ of swine are grossly manipulating a nation of marks, using Bible verses to achieve and increase their money and power. It would make me want to throw up all over their frat-houses and twisted insincere ‘apologies.’

Then I fell in love with Jesus and for the last 8 years, have been a pastor of a local church. Now, I hear this story and…

Well, if I am honest, I hear it exactly the same. However, the big difference is that now I can hear that there might be another side of the story. I can watch 2 episodes and think that though I don’t personally know John Ensign (former Senator from Nevada, whose repaired marriage ended in divorce after he resigned from his seat), he might not be a high character guy.  But if he is in fact a swine, maybe they all aren’t. Maybe some are just young guys looking for meaning and a space where they can support the leaders of our country, love the people who live here, and play football in Washington DC grass.

When you gain or lose weight, it’s slow and over time, totally unnoticeable until someone you haven’t seen for a while reacts, right? It’s that way with spiritual growth. We don’t really feel like we’re moving all that much, still make mistakes, still raise our voices to our children, get heated when we’re cut off in traffic. But it’s less often. And there’s less and less time between when we act like idiots and when we know we’ve acted like idiots. Watching this documentary, I can recognize that I am different. I still don’t have all the answers, but I’m far less inclined to pretend that I do, and that’s really something.

Princess Poppy — July 4, 2020

Princess Poppy

Yesterday I was working out and a song from the animated movie Trolls came on my playlist, “Get Back Up Again.” I’ll give you a second to find it and listen.

…. 

It’s great, right? But it isn’t the most masculine thing (or progressive or in any way ‘cool’) you’ve ever heard. Usually, I listen to punk rock and Morrissey and, well, right now I have a new song by Beck playing. My taste in music is exemplary, I take great pleasure in finding new and exciting artists and records. Then there is this embarrassing Trolls song that I repeated 4 times in a row during my workout. Just a sweaty dude listening to Trolls. 

If you were to know only that about me – that I LOVED “Get Back Up Again” – you could draw certain conclusions about me. Conclusions that would probably be wrong.

Todd Snyder wrote in one of his greatest songs, about a woman referred to by another as a prostitute: “I’m sure she is, but that’s not all she is.”    

She was all kinds of other things, too. So am I, and so are you. 

I write so much about this lately, (and in every election cycle), because I pay an inordinate amount of attention to social patterns and culture, and it’s impossible not to notice how we’ve been divided into groups based solely on 1 facet of ourselves. We’ve been sold the lie that this one facet is the only thing about us that matters. Now, this has always been a temptation, from the beginnings of history. In the Bible, a man asks (about Jesus) if He knows “what kind of woman she is.”

As Todd Snyder would say, “I’m sure she is, but that’s not all she is.”  

Yes, we are addicts, alcoholics, abusers, prostitutes, mask-wearers, non-mask-wearers, Republicans, Democrats, cheaters, liars, vegetarians, pescatarians, Keto, nurses, pastors, punk rockers, jazz elitists, smokers, non-smokers, people who read books on a Kindle, even people who LOVE an Anna Kendrick song from Trolls.

But that’s not all we are.

We are Children of the Living God, created in His image – Republicans and Democrats alike (gasp!!!) – and we’ve been created by, in, and for, love. This terrible lie has caused us to forget that simple, monumental fact. Almost nothing that is happening can be called love. Instead, it’s the same old violence, rained upon each other and upon ourselves.

I keep writing about it because I’m so sad to see how easily we’ve been manipulated into believing that we are so different, that these differences are irreconcilable, and that these differences are so fundamental to our existence that we would behave so awfully towards one another. I’m just so sad, the heartbreak compounded by the largely ignored truth that each act of violence originates from an unbearably deep reservoir of fear and pain in the violator.   

It’s another page in the us/them fictional dogma we accept. Huge segments (maybe all) of the things we see and hear are grounded in a desperate need to draw battle lines, where “we” are 100% right and “they” are 100% wrong. This pandering rips at the fabric of human decency and the only real desperate need is for revolution.

So, let’s do that. But it’ll be a revolution of love. We will show up to love each other – no matter who the ‘each other’ is. Our Each Others will be our neighbors and our enemies, our co-workers and our brothers and sisters, Republicans and Democrats.  

It’s an unlearning of centuries of curriculum, a complete overhaul of the theology of comparison and competition, and I can’t imagine that it’ll be easy or smooth or without some real setbacks, but as Princess Poppy sings, “Hey! I’m not giving up today. There’s nothing getting in my way. And if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again.”

The Beach — July 2, 2020

The Beach

Last week, my family took a short vacation to a Delaware beach and here are a few observations from our time away.

Human beings continue to grow while the bathing suits continue to shrink, at an almost equal rate. There was more skin on very public display than I was prepared to see, and I just cannot imagine the hormonal overdrive my teenage sons were forced to manage. I guess the takeaway is that maybe the self-loathing body consciousness that so many deal with on a daily basis is disappearing. That’s a very good thing, but I’m left wondering what acceptable beach attire will be in 10, 15, 20 years. I also now understand the stodgy old folks who were always complaining that “nothing is left to the imagination.” If we are shown everything all the time, what are the consequences? I know I’m dangerously close to becoming stodgy and old, but there is something to be said for butterflies, anticipation, and those beautiful intimate things we share only with another, isn’t there?

At the beach we stayed (Rehoboth), masks were mandatory only on the boardwalk. That said, in one block, we counted 60 individuals without any sort of face covering. Why? Why do we so strongly resist this mandate? I was in a convenience store recently where NO ONE (including the employee) wore the masks the signs lied were required. This screaming rebellion is obviously an act of aggression, but against who? Me? (What did I do?) You? (What did you do?) The Governor? The entire government? Authority? Maybe it’s simply a re-claiming of our personal freedom. In that case, I can probably get on board with that. 1 question: Is this revolution against any and all forms of law? Or just this one? It’s just a mask. Honestly, I hate it, too. I miss your faces & smiles and to wear them forever seems like that might be too high a cost, but it’s been 3 months and maybe we’ve saved lives…but we all draw our battle lines in different places.

Speaking of masks, I ordered a sport mask in early April that hasn’t arrived yet. They sent another when I complained that also hasn’t arrived. If masks are so important, I wish we could get some. Or at least, I wish I could someday get mine. (There’s going to be a super nasty review on Amazon coming.)

On the way home from the beach, I discovered that there was a COVID-19 outbreak and anyone who was there should be tested immediately. So I’m mostly quarantined again. I’ve been waiting like an animal for my gym to open and it does tomorrow and I CAN’T GO!!! I still don’t know if it’s a “new normal” or if this, too, shall pass, but I do know I’m different than when this all began. My vision is clear and focused – many of the things that proved distracting are being excised. My restlessness is being replaced with patience, gratitude and kindness. There’s a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. And to be honest with you, that’s a pretty great place to be.

It’ll be fascinating to look back in 1 or 5 or 20 years to see who we all became.

— June 24, 2020

I haven’t watched anything awesome lately. This space has sort of become a de facto reviews page, where I describe the documentaries (usually) and other artwork that has recently moved me. I really love to do it, art is a thing that can bring us all together in our humanity, in our shared experience and emotion.

But I can’t help but notice, as a society, we are pretty uninterested in being together. We don’t care very much about our humanity or in sharing anything.

We fight on all platforms of social media, arguing over every possible position. Scrolling through Facebook is the virtual equivalent of family holiday meals, with one huge difference. We’ve been told to steer clear of politics and religion in conversation (On the one hand, I could never understand that – they are the most fascinating topics to discuss. On the other, because of our desperate need to win and validate ourselves, these exchanges turn violent in no time flat.) and for the most part we do, in real life. But from behind our screens and keyboards, we become so aggressive and condescending to each other in ways we never would face to face. Everything has become a Fortnite battle royale, complete with guns and pickaxes.

It’s so depressing. That’s what you hear in my words. I haven’t watched anything – or at least nothing I want to write about – because this pall that’s hanging over us is more and more oppressive, dulling our smiles and spirits. I’m awfully sensitive, as well.

We have forgotten – maybe it’s due to the isolation of this pandemic – that we are deeply connected. The Facebook “friends” aren’t just pictures and profiles, they’re flesh & blood mommies and daddies, sisters, brothers, neighbors. “They” read, laugh, pray, cry, do pushups, just like “us,” wherever we choose to draw our lines between us and them. Just because he wants to open businesses or not, just because he wants to wear a mask or not, just because he’s voting for that guy or not. These decisions don’t necessarily make him a monster, it just makes him agree or disagree. Who knows why he does? We’d have to ask to find out and nobody is willing to ask, we’re far more content to guess and cast those conclusions in stone.

I haven’t given up. You know by now I’m not that guy. We’ll remember who we are, and we’ll remember how to love and care for each other. Of course we will. But sometimes, baby, it just gets really heavy.