Sunday Morning ~ Coming Home
Kungapande tambala kudzaca. ~ Even if there were no cock, daybreak would come.
~ Chewa proverb
May 29, 2022
It’s always strange coming home from an intense experience. Sometimes it’s a huge relief and I sink into my house like it’s part of me. Other times I go into a funk for awhile feeling like there’s no place here for me. The adjustment timeframe varies between a minute and a month. I guess the longer I’m away the more difficult the re-entry.
I listened to very little news while I was gone and it was an incredible relief. It also gave me some perspective on how the bombardment of information shapes our sense of well being. Even though I was hearing difficult personal stories and seeing traumatized families, I was less anxious. I felt more positive about our future. The strength and resolve of others was infectious and it seemed all difficulties could be overcome. I was in a constant state of awe that life could go on so normally when there was an active war with bombs dropping so nearby. Bakeries still made gorgeous pastries. Families still strolled through the parks. Markets still sold fruit and vegetables. All this was in vibrant color to me. I wondered how it was being reported back home.
I was only gone for six weeks, which, is not very long so I was a little blindsided by this feeling of…despair is too strong a word…maybe despondency is more like it. I left a place where people are fleeing a war to return to a country where kids are massacred in school, people die while grocery shopping, and women are being stripped of their basic human rights. It all makes me question where the war is.
What often makes returning difficult is the way I imagine home life to be while living in another culture. No one is invading my home or dropping bombs on our houses. I can travel freely. I can say what I want. It makes me incredibly grateful to have been born into this life in this place. But that’s all a romanticized version of home. That’s what happens while I’m witnessing suffering far from home. Upon return I am reminded of how imperfect and flawed our society is and how the outward appearance is only the reality for a privileged class. I got home, caught up on events and though, Ugh, this is where I live. In a country where politicians allow this to happen. In Maine, our beautiful state, farmers are fleeing their poisoned land, not sure what damage has already been done to their health. Our senior senator continually votes to perpetuate the atrocities inflicted on women, children, and minorities. I feel cynical and duped. We’ve done a good job of making sure there’s an enemy for everyone. How did it get to this point?
I’ve heard criticism about how this country isn’t taking in as many refugees as it should. I stop and think who would want to come here anyway? I had the opportunity to observe the Polish medical system, and though not perfect, people are able to access care in a timely way, are treated respectfully, and are not worried about how to pay for it. I was flabbergasted at how efficient it was. This illusion we are fed in the U.S. about having the best medical care in the world refers only to those who are privileged and white. Otherwise, it is a disgrace. An expensive, inefficient, inequitable disgrace.
Whew! Debbie Downer today. Until Tuesday I felt like the war republicans have launched on women would be the tipping point. I thought this fury they’ve unleashed will overpower them at the polls and the pendulum will finally start swinging back. But It’s not that simple. It’s all been strategic and now I’m wondering how much worse it has to get before things turn around.
My consolation is still knowing we can vote our way out of this. I’m grateful for those who stay positive and see a solution. I’m more and more alarmed when I hear others despair. Giving up, I remind myself, is only for those who have nothing to lose. I look at my grandchildren and shudder at what others have lost. I don’t know how they bear it or how anger and despair doesn’t consume their spirit. For their sake alone we can’t give up.
I walk by and get a whiff of the lilac blossoms. Their scent is like a drug, and I think those lilacs will blossom whether I appreciate them or not. So why not embrace all that is good, and somehow, without surrendering ourselves to anger and frustration, plod forward. I feel like we owe it to everyone suffering right now.
Love to all,