We will survive

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Years ago fairy tales all began with ‘Once upon a time…’

–now we know they all begin with, ‘If I am elected.’”

Carolyn Warner*

We’ve recently ended another presidential election season, the most contentious in my memory. That’s not to say it has been the worst in U.S. history. There was a lot of name calling leading to states seceding from the Union in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of the newly formed Republican party. Recently I was listening to “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” on NPR and heard an interesting story.

The election of 1800 was a three-way race among Jefferson, John Adams seeking re-election and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton started a rumor that Jefferson had died. Communications being what they were at that time, Jefferson first heard of this several weeks later when he received a letter from a friend. He immediately sat down and wrote letters to several people telling them that he was, indeed, still alive and still a candidate. Those letters also took several weeks to find their recipients. But they had the desired effect. As a result Jefferson was elected to be our country’s third president.

So, should we be surprised at the recent political shenanigans we just witnessed? I’d guess not. The difference is that we now live in a 24-hour news cycle with information coming from many sources. As the election drew near I found myself becoming irritable with my great-grandsons who were just being their age. I was cranky at work. Each newspaper article I read or news program I watched made the situation worse. The vitriolic words spewed by both candidates and their supporters kept my insides in a twist. Yet, I felt compelled to stay informed, though I limited my exposure.

To do otherwise would be detrimental to my health, so I made a decision to take steps to improve my mental outlook. About a week before the election I began to pray to accept the outcome whatever it might be. On election day I went to the polls early and immediately felt a slight easing in my distress knowing that I had done my part in making this momentous choice. That evening I periodically checked election news to learn what was happening, then went to bed at my usual time. The next morning I clicked on the television long enough to learn who had been elected. I asked God to guide Mr. Trump as he assumed his new duties. These small steps eased my distress significantly.

Healing came Thursday evening when I attended a 4th grade Veteran’s Day program at my oldest great-grandson’s school. The children were decked out in patriotic vests and presented a program of U.S. history and patriotic songs. Each child had made a list of relatives who had served in the military. Those names covered an entire wall of the gym. At one point in the program each service’s song was played and audience members who had served in that particular branch stood to roaring applause. Then we were treated to a slide show of photos of many of those relatives in their uniforms. The program concluded with the audience standing as one child’s grandfather sang “God Bless the USA.” I was not the only person wiping tears of joy from my eyes.

As I write this, I’m crying, but my tears are healing months of distress and worry. I’m still nervous, but for my own sanity I must trust that we can survive this election and continue to grow as a nation. I trust that this will continue to be our legacy.

Spirit: Most of us have lived the past several months in pain and distress. You have shown us that the human race has survived worse and continues to thrive. Each of us, no matter who we are or where we live, has the ability to change the world just a little bit for the better. Please keep reminding us of that responsibility and privilege. And, so it is.

*Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, 1992, Prentice Hall, page 239

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 12, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

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Fear or safety, it’s up to you

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Protection comes from never choosing to believe you need any.”

Mutant Message from Forever*

Fear is one of our most powerful emotions. It protects us, but can also prevent us from exploring the world. We want to protect our children so teach them to be afraid of many life experiences.  Our lessons are valuable and well intentioned. Perhaps we’re a bit too protective at times.

Other times we overreact to scary situations. One adult acquaintance is terrified of dogs because a large, black dog bit her when she was four. No amount of calm discussion and comparisons that “This isn’t the dog that bit you; He’s brown not black; He’s small not big;” could convince her that it was safe to be near any canine.

Currently many of us fear the results of our upcoming presidential election. If this candidate wins, our country will go to hell in a hand-basket. If that candidate wins, our country will go to hell in a hand-basket. Our protection is to be informed, vote our choice and know that our country has solutions built into our founding documents. The Constitution gives us the power to remove incompetent or overreaching officials. It is a complicated, lengthy procedure designed to ensure that we, the voters, act thoughtfully and deliberately rather than in the anger or fear of the moment.

How do we know if we are acting purposefully? In the same book Morgan says,

“Observe yourself. It is perfectly all right to feel uncomfortable, just don’t deny or hide how you feel. From this we learn people can have differences and each is right for his or her own path. If you can’t honor your own feelings, it would be impossible to honor those of another.”

The biggest fear we all have to overcome is our fear of other human beings. A reasonable fear to be sure. Daily we hear of terrible crimes being committed. The perpetrator has what seems to be a valid reason for the action. Possibly that is to obtain a desired object or revenge, possibly to satisfy a religious tenet or political belief. The reasons are endless, and make perfect sense to the person whose behavior we observe.

There are a lot of ways to acknowledge and overcome concerns and fears. One way is to set our intention each day to be safe and protected. We can be alert to our surroundings. We can watch fewer scary movies. We can filter what we hear on the news to retain only the facts we need to know, rather than the fearful voice of the announcer. We can take reasonable precautions.

Years ago I worked in an office building situated in a run-down neighborhood. That location choice was made to encourage businesses to move to the area and to stimulate a community atmosphere. Some of my co-workers would not leave the building except to walk to and from their cars. A few of us would go for walks, alone or together, during our lunch breaks, shop in nearby stores, and generally act as if we worked in a more prosperous neighborhood. When questioned about my supposedly risky behavior I responded that I took reasonable precautions. I wore walking shoes, not high heels, so I could run if necessary. I wore pants or loose skirts, rather than tight skirts that would inhibit my stride. I carried a few dollars in my pocket instead of a purse that might tempt a thief. And I walked with a purpose, observing my surroundings rather than acting timid.

Those are simple solutions to one potentially frightening situation. We can face anything that comes our way if we choose to observe and face it with confidence.

Spirit: Thank you for giving us the ability to reason and made good decisions for ourselves and our loved ones. We know that by using that ability we can go through life with much less fear than we might otherwise do. We are also grateful for angelic protection. And, so it is.

* Morgan, Marlo, 1999, Mutant Message from Forever, page 249

** ibid, page 246

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 20, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.