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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Not enough time?

Thoughts to Ponder – November 11, 2015

“One of the most essential tasks for living a life of purpose and joy is to command your time, rather than let it command you.”

Martha Beck*

 Martha said it so well. In this age of doing more with less and over-scheduling ourselves with work, family and community demands we tend to live by the clock. As a result we feel constantly pressed for time. We feel there is just not enough time in the day to do what we want to do. And, if you’re like me, you’re thinking “Where did 2015 go? It’s almost Christmas. Did we even have a summer?” It seems that every year gets shorter. Or, is that my imagination?

Today is a day of reflection on the sacrifices our veterans and their families have made for each of us. We need to take some time to thank those we can and reflect on the contributions of those who have gone before. Regrettably, many of us look at the calendar and say, “Today is Veteran’s Day. That means the banks are closed. Darn, I should have gone yesterday,” making this day just another time issue.

Remember the old saying, “Take time to smell the roses.” As trite as it has become, those words hold a lot of truth. While we must give adequate time and energy to our jobs and commitments, we can do a lot more rose smelling.

We can take a moment to listen to what our child is telling us. We can take a moment to listen to the birds sing or watch a leaf float to the ground. We can take a moment to deeply enjoy that first sip of coffee, inhale the aroma, feel the warmth on our lips, hold the taste on our tongues, experience the warmth spreading throughout our bodies and notice the alertness coming to our eyes and ears.

Do we envy the person who is over-worked? Do we envy the person whose stress level is 15 minutes short of a stroke or heart attack? Of course not. We envy the people who command their time, finding moments to regenerate their lives and their souls.

Each of us can take a moment to be grateful for our own existence and the people in them. We can be grateful that we have events in our lives that make us think we are too busy to take a moment to express that gratitude. A quick “Thank you” tossed out in the midst of our busy-ness will reach its target and be acknowledged.

Spirit,

Thank you for this new day. Show me how to use each moment wisely. I choose to be the highest and best I can be this day.

And, so it is.

* Daily Inspiration, Martha Beck, November 11, 2015 info@marthabeck.com

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 11, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.