Sometimes the world is slightly thrown off it's axis. The way we look at things is altered, the things we thought were cohesive, no longer make sense. Ordinary activities seem a little more disjointed, a little pointless. We hug our loved ones closer to us again, are kinder to friends and more patient with strangers.
At others we grow bitter and shake our fists at the sky and hold angry monologues in the living room, because we have been here before. There is an insult to this injury, because it is one of many, part of a pattern that becomes clearer with every new hurt. We scold ourselves for holding out hope, against hope. We shake our heads at our own naiveté.
I'm of, of course, talking about the events of the last two days in the media, about Fergurson, the grand jury's rather unprecedented decision to not indict, about the civil unrest and militarized law enforcement response that followed. The talk of the town, the fodder of news and social media.
I was going to write about something else, about our travels last weekend to a family gathering to celebrate Charlie's grandma's birthday, about our favorite haunts in Port Townsend, a little Victorian city by the sea, full of wooden boat enthusiasts. How we ran into our dear friends in the middle of the street. How we always emerge from the bookstore with more than we can carry.
That all seems more than a little trivial today, but at the same time, I don't really have any words to write about the elephant in the room, its ghostly presence just standing next to all conversations, large, imposing, but hard to make sense of.
I'm still new to this country, still figuring out how this society works, where its traumas and pressure points and fault lines lay. How we deal with things here, what the codes and states of civil discourse are...
All I can say is: in our disbelief over yet another glaring injustice, let's not get use to it. Let's hold onto those unlikely hopes, because it's from those hopes getting dashed time and time again that our outrage stems from. And if we don't feel that outrage, then we'll be truly lost, used to idea that what we know in our gut is right will never come to pass in the world.
And more than that, beyond continuing to nurse our best hopes for our towns, cities, counties, states and for this country and continuing to be outraged when those hopes are dashed, we each of us need to think of something concrete we can do, to make sure these injuries don't keep compounding to the point where we're completely crippled.
That's what I'd like all of us to do even as we gather around heaping tables and quality time with loved ones: be grateful yes, talk and exchange ideas and acknowledge the myriad of collective hurts that hang over our heads, but also, come up with a plan of action, however small, to expand that gratitude and grace we're supposed to feel around these holidays.
Wishing you all a warm, kind, loving and thoughtful Thanksgiving,