Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wrung out like a dishrag...

as my mother used to say, meaning that she had gotten pretty tired after a long siege of demands upon her. Others say "rode hard and put away wet" to mean about the same thing. Me, I feel like I'm beginning to wake up to a new day, as though emerging from a long nightmare over which I had little control, which I could not even wake up from.

I hadn't publicly taken a position on the election, though anyone who knows me would guess I'd vote for Obama/Biden. And I did. But I don't feel it's quite proper for me as a minister to broadcast my support for a candidate and take the chance of making those who don't agree feel unwelcome in our congregation.

At our worship committee meeting yesterday, we were talking about the service last Sunday and teasing out the best practices we'd seen (we focus on this, rather than negatives). I mentioned that something that made me uncomfortable was the candle lit at Joys and Concerns by a person who seemed to assume that every person present was an Obama supporter. I winced because I know we have Republicans in the congregation who are good human beings and had their own reasons for supporting McCain. Others agreed and we spent a little time talking about how to deal with such a thing, though we didn't come to any conclusion other than to wait and see if it happens again.

There has been in me, all during the recent months of the election campaign, a sense of "duck and cover", of hanging on to a capsized boat in hopes that rescue would come soon. I hoped to be rescued by allies, but I just wanted to be rescued. My Myers Briggs score is ENFJ, heavy on the J----the need for closure. Just give me a decision----I'll work with it. But don't make me hang on too long.

One of my minister colleagues commented recently that she was riding the Cranky Bus, miffed about this and that, impatient, snarky about everything going on in the church. I have to say I have felt the same way for weeks.

I've been yelling at the cats for wanting in and then immediately wanting out again. Lily is a whiner, walking around the house meowing loudly and apparently aimlessly. Loosy is an obsessive licker, wanting to lick me constantly. Max is too loving and in my face rubbing up against my freshly creamed and chapsticked skin and leaving long white hairs clinging annoyingly.

I've been feeling impatient, though I hope I'm hiding it successfully and being pastoral, with glitches in a variety of situations at church, knowing that my impatience is linked to the long nightmare, not to the actual event I'm impatient about.

That's the key for me, figuring out where the crankiness and impatience are coming from and focusing on that instead of the immediate situation. I've been shouting silently at other drivers more lately, rolling my eyes in the grocery store at what I perceive as stupidity or disrespect, wanting to bop somebody on the head for just sitting sideways on my favorite exercise bike at the gym and having a long conversation with the woman on the next bike who is actually exercising while he is not. GRRRRRRR!

But it's all related, I think, to the terrible losses of these past eight years, the disrespect and lack of compassion for other people, the dishonesty of those who have brought about the current economic crisis, the materialism that suffuses American culture, the disregard for the health of our planet, and the actual cultivation of practices that actively hurt people and hurt the planet.

When I was active in a 12-step program, I heard a lot of people mention how the particular problem they were dealing with might have been the best thing that ever happened to them, because they hit bottom and were forced to re-evaluate their lives and seek healing and reconciliation. Maybe the Bush years were the best thing that ever happened to America, because we may have hit bottom and are now on the way back up. Back up to becoming a world power that is respected for its character, not its wealth or might. Back up to encouraging people to get an education, not so they'll be rich but so they'll be wise. Back up to loving our neighbors as ourselves, not so we can use them but so that we can help them.

Right now I'm just waking up from the nightmare and, though wrung out like a dishrag, starting to believe in America again.


LinguistFriend said...

I am very pleased that Obama has been elected, but he has not been inaugurated. There are two months remaining for those who hate democracy, both Americans and non-Americans, to work to make certain that Obama is not able to accomplish those things as president that we hope for. He, his policies, and his forthcoming administration have now become the obvious target for action. I will rest much more easily after the inauguration, although even that cannot settle such issues completely.

Mile High Pixie said...

Rev Kit, you said something I heard someone say in the bar I was in last night while watching the election results. This guy said that he felt we could and should all thank Bush for getting Obama elected. It may have taken a situation this big--economy + war + world reputation--for Americans to step outside their comfort zone and vote for an atypical candidate.

I too am relieved and wrung out. (My grandmother used to say "I been tore out the frame and sent into orbit.") I'm ready for us all, left, right, and center, to move forward with the business of problem-solving and actually making this country the greatest on Earth (instead of just saying that we are all the time).

ms. kitty said...

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. LF, I know that the times are still uncertain in many ways and I pray for the safety of our newly elected president and his family.

Pixie, there is always something to be thankful for, even when times have been so bad.

The Eclectic Cleric said...

For what it's worth, having cancer has really cut down on my own capacity for both crankiness and snark. It's hard to explain, but I just feel so fortunate and grateful most of the time, that even when things aren't going the way I want them to my discomfort with that tends to pass fairly quickly. Of course, I am INTP and about as comfortable with unresolved ambiguity as anyone I know. In fact, sometimes I worry that I've become SUCH a "non-anxious presence" that people wonder whether or not I'm even paying attention. But I'm still trying to figure out how I want to handle the post-election candlesharing here next Sunday. Do I just let them do their own thing, or do I light a "preemptive" candle of my own and hope it keeps the others at bay?

Miss Kitty said...

Excellent post, Ms. K. Just freaking excellent. Thank you--I feel much as you do.

ms. kitty said...

I'd say beat them to it, Tim. They'll probably appreciate it, rather than having to go through umpteen variations on the theme.

Miss Kitty, thanks for your kind words.