Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Seeking perspective

Four years ago this month I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It knocked me for a loop – in a single moment my world was turned upside down. Unless you are in my closest circle of trust, you probably didn't know this about me. I couldn't talk about it. Every time I tried, I cried. My tears went on for weeks, and then one morning I woke up and decided that I could face this blip. It was hard, and it was painful, but I survived. From it, I gained a new perspective – a new appreciation for life.

This morning, I woke up with the same sucker-punched feeling. My perception of the world was again knocked for a loop, upended.

Just yesterday I was so confident; so happy to be heading off to cast my vote for the first woman to be president of the United State. I put on my pantsuit and had Ed take a photo to text to my girls. I wanted them to know what a milestone this was for me, for them, for all the women in this country.

It concerns me greatly that I was so mistaken about the will of the people. I know that we live a semi-secluded life here on Farm Dover, but I consider myself fairly well informed about current affairs. I listen to NPR and watch the nightly news. I read from fairly diverse news sources. I had no idea that this would actually happen. Even though I now consider myself "a rural person," I was caught unaware of how profoundly disconnected people were feeling. I feel bad about that.

This morning I was in shock (still am). All I could do was shake my head in disbelief and wipe away my tears.

I then put on my overalls and headed out with Ed to unload a truck-bed full of compost, plant two smoke trees, clean up the ceramic planters out by the cottage and check on the hearts-a-bustin' trees down in the deep woods. As Anne Lamott reminded me: "if birdsong were the only proof that there is another, deeper, wider reality, it would be proof enough for me."

We came in for lunch and I checked my email and found a note from Hillary. It read it part:

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.


Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will. 

I am so grateful to stand with all of you.


To all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks -– sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. 

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives. 

To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. 

I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will -– hopefully sooner than we might think right now.

And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world....

As my young friend Sydney observed: Today is painful and scary and disorienting. I'm sad today, but tomorrow I will pledge my allegiance to this nation, rise up and fight for what I believe in. Hillary wasn't going to fix all our problems. We are going to fix them. We are going to make the change. Today I am sad, but tomorrow I will do more, I will work harder, I will fight for us. 

I sense that it will take me some time to come to terms with this outcome. I will need to keep an open mind,  listen carefully, be thoughtful, and continue to seek perspective. 

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