Sunday, August 13, 2023

Words from yet another hero, because I too feel "despaired out"

 Anne Lamott

From her Facebook Page

I have catastrophe burn out. I wish there was a box I could check on the menu that said, “Gone Fishing.” Ukraine has taken up most of my compassion budget, the earth’s heat wave has used up my allocation for terror, and then we have dear brother Trump’s steady poll numbers.


     And this does not even include the grief I feel for the people in my own small galaxy, where friends are under siege from disease, mental illness, and children of all ages who have had failure to thrive for decades.


     Life has been way, way too lifey this summer.


     I am kind of despaired out.


     So now what? Where is the renewal of energy and hope and willingness to help? I don’t know. But something has got to arise because I am shutting down: half and hour ago, I went to the Red Cross website to donate to the people on Maui, a place where I have experienced paradise a dozen times. As I was completing the form, a window popped up asking for a $12.99 processing fee. Really? I declined. 


      Then I went back to reading the New York Times. To put it mildly, I did not find uplift and hope there. 


     You can’t just put your fingers in your ears and shout “Lah lah lah lah,” when you read about climate change deniers in high places, or RFK, Jr. Well, I guess you can , but then you’re almost as deranged as they are.


     What I would like is for God to take over and sort things out. But my son frequently reminds me of this story: 


      A man was about to set off a voyage across the ocean, and he knew this journey was harder than anything he had ever done before, beyond his physical limits. So before he set off, he prayed to God. He said, "God, please help me." And God appeared before him and he said, "I'm here. Don't worry. We'll do this together. You grab the oars and row, and I'll steer the boat." And they set off. Well, after a while, the man's arms got tired, and he turned to God and he said, "God, I'm so tired. Do you think we could trade places for a little while? And I steer, and you row?" And God said, "I don't row, bro."


     People who were not raised by decent and politically active parents say dismissively, “Why don’t you just turn off the news?’” But there is a democracy to save for our young and we must remember Molly Ivins saying freedom fighters don’t always win, but they are always right.        


    People with unshakable religious convictions pat you and then assure you that God works in mysterious ways etc. Hey, thank you for sharing! 


     Where does this leave me? Willing and wanting to get back in that boat and row—helping the poor, registering voters, picking up litter—but maybe not today. Today is for prone yoga, ie, lying around with the animals. Today is for a beautiful, slightly-too-hot summer day. I haven’t prepared my Sunday school lesson, on the bratty older brother of the prodigal son who won’t join the feast because he didn’t get his way: my kids and I love stories about ourselves. Outside our living room window, hummingbirds dive-bomb the orange abutilon blossoms, making the poor kitty crazy, driving her to long stretches of mad chittering. She needs me. We have a deal: we help each other in times of stress. Gizmo the formerly tiny dog has gained the Covid three and ballooned up to an unhealthy 16 pounds. She and I could both use a little exercise. I need to go find her leash.

      I’d say it looks like I have my work cut out for me today; ah, today.


Lesa said...

Thank you, Kaye. Sometimes, I just need to hear that even Anne Lamott takes a day or two to give up.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Yep. Even Anne Lamott. ❤