If you’re anything like me, you like your coffee with heavy cream, your margaritas on the rocks, and the last six months feels like a permanent lock-in on a Tilt-A-Whirl Carnival Ride in a bad Jodie Foster film from the 70’s, and the kid next to you keeps throwing up in your hair.
Charlottesville to Barcelona to Boston to Phoenix.
TiKI torches are reclaiming their brand.
Tina Fey is eating sheet cake.
Everyone from Teen Vogue to Good Housekeeping is bleeding political commentary, and my Twitter addiction is escalating.
Here’s what I’m learning about myself:
If staying informed isn’t helping me love others, it isn’t helping.
Last week, I spent the day with my mom who will be 78 next month. She has lost her ability to read, to remember things, to sustain a conversation. She had a stroke 7 months ago, and I still can’t begin to understand the day-to-day adjustments my dad has had to make. Married over 50 years, this is love.
So, while our nation is pushing further and further into crisis, we took slow walks and talked about the weather. Repeatedly. We swept the patio, we cooked small meals and washed the dishes. We trimmed our nails and watched a pair of red dragonflies chase each other across the pond. We drove into town to share burgers and fries. We sat in the sun and complained about the heat.
The day was slow and seemingly inconsequential.
Because this is love in the mini-plains of our nation.
It is in our homes and in classrooms and in grocery stores; it’s in office break rooms and board rooms; it’s on the road letting others go first, making meals for friends who are weary, reading stories to our children so they can rest against our bodies and know they are safe.
Shock and disbelief aren’t the endgame. Mourning and repentance, anger and outrage, self-righteous indignation, these can’t sustain the hours of the day.
Isaiah 58 says it’s not about wearing sackcloth and ashes, it’s not about placing our face to the ground; it’s about rising up and working on behalf of the poor, the broken, the hungry, the oppressed. If you pray, pray before the dawn hits the sky. If you fast, fast quietly and show up ready to work.
Wherever you scroll: Twitter. CNN. Fox. NPR. SNL. Facebook. Washington Post. New York Times. Snapchat. MSNBC. Wall Street Journal. The Daily Show. TMZ. BBC. No matter.
I need to let it go. Or use it to love better. To listen to voices that aren’t mine, to pay attention to the vulnerabilities and fears and injustice across state lines. To learn how to stand up and step out, how to show up on behalf of others.
So let’s block out time this weekend to rest. To snuggle up and watch a film that makes you laugh, to lighten the pressure, to make pancakes in the morning while the sunrise brings hope. To show up on Monday, ready to love.
“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice . . . to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood…”