The Irony

I wake up to the bitter taste of irony. I try to shake it off, like a bad dream, but it stays with me. Can one person’s idea of safety have the power to bring destruction to untold numbers?

800,000 people are working without a paycheck or else not showing up for work at all. These are the people who work security at the airports and control air traffic. They staff our parks and museums. They research disease, care for wildlife and oceans. They inspect chemical factories, power plants, and water treatment plants. They inspect our seafood, fruits and vegetables. They facilitate the distribution of food and medicine for women and children on Native American Reservations. They are FBI agents, Border Control agents. They work in prisons, the Coast Guard and Secret Service. They are government lawyers working on cases that have been waiting for years to go to trial: Immigrants who have been waiting for decades for their Immigration Court case to be decided, are now being pushed to the back of the line and may spend another 4 years in detention, just waiting for a new date. They work for the IRS, or did before this government shutdown. Promised grants for programs that help women survivors of violence are on hold. Read more about who these people are here.

Our family has lived through a season with no paychecks. The stress was all-consuming. We continued to work, care for our sons and do what we could do but our brains were constantly cluttered, full of distraction that seemed to make even the smallest of decisions difficult. So my heart breaks for these families and I fear for us as a nation. We are more vulnerable because of this, than for lack of a physical monstrosity to demarcate our border. If the pursuit of safety cripples those who keep us safe, how safe are we?

The good news is that we don’t need to sit around waiting for things to get better. Every day is an opportunity to create a better reality, right here, right now. Here is a link to a practical list of things you can do to help those affected by this shutdown!

 

 

Welcoming the New Year

2018 was brutal in many ways. Like a charming house guest turned hostile, it felt like it was pummeling us mercilessly in so many different facets of our life. More than once I lay on my back, literally, not wanting to get up again. I couldn’t wait for the end of the year to come, ready to flip the calendar and move on. As the end-of-year hustle and bustle finally started to die down and I had time to feed my starving soul and rest my exhausted bones, I decided to list all the good things that had come to us during this otherwise brutal year. Funny thing is, the list was longer than I would have imagined. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing that undid the brutality, but still, goodness was there. As I gave thanks for all that was good, something inside of me shifted. Like a crack of light filtering through asphalt after a seedling pushes it’s way through, light split through the haze I was in and reminded me that goodness is always here.

Instead of wiping the year from my mind like I had planned to do, I find myself dipping my head in silent salute, satisfied that I have fought well. I am still here, still standing. Stronger than before.

New Year’s Day found me in my favorite spot, my kitchen. As Ethiopian Short Ribs simmered slowly and the laughter of my family danced in the air as they sparred back and forth with each other playing a new game around the table, I held on to my “good list” and I welcomed the new year in the best way I know how. I know in my bones that there will be hard things this year, but I also know that there will be good things too.

This is life. Never quite how we think it will be, but constantly surprising us and wowing us, if we can be still enough to listen and take a really good look.