There is nothing quite like the months leading up to one of our presidential elections to utterly exhaust ones faith in the common threads that bind humanity. I believe still that we are far more similar than different, and even that there is typically common truth, light and goodness at the root of most of the conclusions and opinions we all develop; that it is simply our individual experience that accounts for how those good things end up manifesting themselves in such extreme variations of opinion; but the near-constant barrage of those seeming differences during times like this strain and tax those certainties of similar bases and common threads rather fiercely.
It is a relief to me to be able to step aside, hunker down a bit, regain my footing, and refocus my center. And there is no better place for me to do that than in the midst of my own tiny sphere and world. After all, it is here where I can most easily look for hope, spread light, and be reminded of the strength of love.
We spent last weekend up at Bear Lake. The older four ventured off with Mike to shoot clay pigeons (which, your tender hearts should all know, are not “pigeons” at all . . . nor even shaped remotely like pigeons – so, that is a comfort). The boys played Monopoly – placing hotels wherever it suited them and handing out bank money with abandon. Lots of Lego creations were . . . well . . . created. And we went on a small hike wherein, not far from the start, a man waved us wildly down to protest over our proposed evening walk. When we questioned if this was not, as we’d understood it to be, Forest Service land. He faltered – conceding, awkwardly, that it was public land, but, he insisted it was a horse trail, not . . . a people trail. While I didn’t see how our family stroll was any of his particular business, patient Mike calmly reassured him that we’d taken horses on the very trail before, knew it well, would exercise great caution, and had no . . . ill intentions (after all . . . we had no six packs of beer, no cans of spray paint, no weapons, and . . . most of our party was under the age of 12). Still, he seemed in great agitation over letting us press on. Perhaps, it occurred to me later, it was mearly agitation over what he suspected would end up thickly coating the bottoms of all of our shoes. If so, his worried suspicions on our behalf were proven correct. On all counts.
Perhaps it doesn’t sound exactly like centering, but . . . it feels like it. My self. My God. And these people – even on a manure covered horse trail – they will always be the surest and safest place for me to find perspective, strengthen my resolves to be compassionate and good, and to begin fresh. Again.