This week, I wrote and published a poem titled “God Bless America.”
It’s my somewhat-cynical take on some of the legal, moral, ethical, philosophical, metaphorical and literal paradoxes of living in America today.
One of my best buddies, himself an exceptionally observant, talented, thoughtful (and often-dark) musician and writer, commented online: “Heavy stuff.”
I replied: “Heavy times.”
Sadly (for me, more than you) my brain swims a lot in the deep waters of the injustice that surrounds and threatens to drown many people in our world. Sometimes, it gets to be too much.
When that happens, when the world gets too heavy, the only thing to do is, go light.
That’s what happened this week. Hence, the poem. My head, heart and spirit shut down under the crushing weight of the political hijinks and media nonsense, repeated and pounded and repeated and pounded and repeated and pounded and…
I needed a break. Sometimes, the universe obliges.
My wife, Kellie and I had already made plans to see the new “Mission Impossible” entry Friday evening. Understand, our cinematic tastes run in different directions. Nor do we particularly enjoy going to the movies these days – the volume is too loud, the snacks too expensive and I can’t yell “Alexa, PAUSE” when I have to use the washroom like at home.
Still we both love the MI movies and have seen all of them on the big screen, usually on opening weekend. (Same with any James Bond film. Kellie loves both franchises. Go figure…)
We enjoyed a nice pre-movie dinner, found seats near the top of the theater, held hands, and really enjoyed the film – perhaps the best one yet.
That helped a bit.
Then, Saturday morning, I picked up my four-month-old granddaughter, Riley for the day. Our daughter Emma, like all modern young moms, returned to work a few weeks ago. We agreed to watch Riley on Saturdays. Agreed? What am I saying? We practically insisted!
Kellie spent most of the day with friends, saying goodbye to a member of their cross-stitching group who is moving to Florida. So, I had Riley all to myself. We – well, I — made a snap decision to take a long, leisurely walk on the Centennial Trail/I&M Canal path. Riley slept, I programmed my phone to “Blues” and hit shuffle. Three hours later, we both felt refreshed.
That helped a bit more.
Then, Saturday night, Kellie made a wonderful, light dinner – a Greek salad and a chilled bottle of deliciously-fruity and crisp Sauvignon Blanc. We ate outside, surrounded by flowers and vegetables in their full late-July glory, the soft breeze whispering around us.
Later, we broke out the Scrabble game. Please keep in mind that I make my living from words and am highly competitive about just about everything. Kellie is not competitive at all, and is a master of puzzles of every kind, including word games like Scrabble. I don’t like losing. She usually wins easily, and yet doesn’t seem to care either way. So, this is a big deal for us.
She routinely kicks my butt, often doing something ridiculous like using one letter to connect four words and earning a triple word bonus. It boggles my brain, but we have such a great time that I don’t mind losing. (Although, I will point out that in this case, we split the games.)
That helped a lot.
Now, on a beautiful late July Sunday afternoon, I feel a lot better.
I’d like to credit one thing or another as the definitive cause, but really, who knows or even cares?
Certainly, the long walk eased some physical tension. Communing over dinner out of doors calmed my spirit (cuddling up to nature is always important.) Definitely, hanging out with the sweetest four-month-old baby girl and the most intuitive life partner/chef/Scrabble champion I know, is key.
More important than what brought the peace, was that the peace was brought. When it was needed most.
In our human arrogance we try to wrest credit for every good thing that happens. To put a name to it, own it or capitalize on it. Shame on us.
Sometimes, it’s enough to just accept the Good when it comes, with sincere gratitude and awe for the mystery itself, understanding only what is most essential to understand:
That someone, somewhere, somehow, knew that you needed it.
Heavy stuff, indeed.