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.