I think we can all agree, stress is a huge part of our day to day lives right now. Whether you’re on Facebook or Twitter or wherever else, all anyone is talking about is politics.  And they aren’t just talking. They’re arguing and name call and bickering.  It’s a lot like being a gibbon near the chimpanzees that Lori wrote about in her post. You’re just hoping that you aren’t the one they decide to tear apart.  It is exhausting.

Or it can be.

This week a friend commented that I don’t seem quite as strung out as everyone else. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Honestly, it is a very legitimate question.  I am, to put it kindly, a wee bit high strung.  Being around people who are stressed out really puts me on edge. Even a calm crowd gets on my nerves. What’s my secret?

I’m disconnecting. I’m not going to go so far as to shut down my Facebook account or go off Twitter.  But I only check Twitter once each morning and again around noon.  That’s it.  It means I don’t see every tweet but that’s okay. I’m surebookshelf I’m missing some great knitting and book news but I can only take so much of the angst.
I’m nesting.  Not in the “I’m about to deliver sense” but that’s what my husband calls it when I clean out, reorganize and redecorate.  No redecorating yet but I’ve dug out a set of shelves in the basement and now I’m cleaning them off. I’m also sorting and recycling here in my office.  One entire shelf was cleaned off and I now have a place for my Star Wars chest (yes, I’m that geeky) and my library books (again, geeky but all is good).

norwichWith this extra time in this renewed space, I’m praying.  Granted I’m not praying as much as I should – 24/7 seems pretty reasonable all things considered – but I am praying.  In part, I’m doing that by focusing on a particular prayer.  This week my focus was a prayer from Julian of Norwich.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

When I pray this or any of my other favorites, it orients me toward God.  When I’m facing God, I’m not obsessing about what whoever said, what is and isn’t truth, and who may or may not be about to do what.  I’m focusing on God.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

Disconnect. “All shall be well…”

Nest. “. . . and all shall be well . . .”

Pray. “… and all manner of things shall be well.”

It may not be the right combination for everyone but it is the combination that’s working for me.

–SueBE

anderson

I’m learning a lot from PBS natural specials. Last night, I watched a troop of chimpanzees launch a concerted attack on a group of gibbons — surround them, roust them, attack them, tear them apart and eat them. It was very disturbing. I mean, isn’t that a little like cannibalizing a cousin?

And did you know that a full 20% of squirrels — that’s one in five — doesn’t collect food for the winter? No. He (or she) steals them from other squirrels. In fact, lives a life of crime. How does that happen? Are some squirrels born bad? Is it nature or nurture?

I guess what upsets me so much about these acts is that they are so very human. And aren’t animals supposed to be better than that? I realize how backwards that sounds. So often, humans are lauded as the highest of God’s creatures — the only ones who think, who have the ability to plan, who are moral, who are civilized. Except maybe we aren’t. Maybe we’re just less-furry mammals. Because we steal. We kill. Even human flesh isn’t off the menu (so to speak) for a depraved few. So what distinguishes us from so-called lower forms of life? Maybe less than we think.

Yet animals are also capable of extraordinary acts of goodness. A dog will nurse kittens; a cat will nurse a puppy or a rabbit. Strange animal friendships abound: a dog and a cheetah, a gorilla and a kitten, a bear and a tiger. In many ways, animals seem more capable than humans of reaching across lines of perceived differences and striking an accord. Yet we’re the ones with free will. And, at least according to some faith practices, the only ones with souls.

Maybe it’s time to take a good long look in the mirror. In what ways are we no better than animals? In what ways are we perhaps worse? In what ways might we learn from animals how to treat one another and the planet we live on?

I think God gave us a wide range of examples to follow — or to eschew. That’s why our world is so vibrantly alive with so many species of living things. Our job is to observe. Not to judge — we have no real moral authority for that — but to look, examine, and see how we want our lives to differ or mirror theirs. And to protect them, because we aren’t any better than they are. We’re just different. And we all have something to give.

Except for mosquitoes. Those little monsters are pure menace. Am I right?

goldberg

berleUse the tools God gives you to create opportunity!

norwich

Justice is not “just us.”
It’s everyone.
It’s every one
doing what that one can
and eventually, it is all of us, together.

So it really is just us. There is no “them.”
You and me again become we.

Step one: take one step.

Well, if you read the news these days, it’s discouraging, but there are still good people in the world doing positive things.

Like this flight attendant who saved one young girl from a sex trafficker and this tightrope walker who saved one man stuck in a ski lift.

These individuals didn’t save the whole world, they saved one person. Just one. But that one person really matters. To their friends, to their families. To God.

Both of these things happened in mid-air, so there was no other way to get help. Sometimes God puts a person uniquely equipped to save the day in exactly the right place.

We’ve all seen the protests, picket signs and caustic comments online. There are small pockets of positive resistance forming out there, waiting to connect with each other and spread peace instead of discord.

With all of the drama going on, that may be where the next groundswell sets in. Singular acts. Small gestures. Just you. Just me. Just us. Being neighborly. Keeping our words civil. Treating each other like extended family.

Hopefully, the next hashtag that catches on will be #JustUs. We’re all in this together, and there really is no Us Versus Them. We’re all “Us.” U.S. We all live here. We all belong here. We don’t all have to agree, but we can get along if we all agree to try.

Even aliens – and by that I mean, from outer space – should be treated humanely. The other type of “alien” doesn’t really exist. We all came from somewhere else. Now we’re here.

Post-election, my vote is to get past this ugly chapter and get on with the “one nation under God” thing. It’s time to put aside those weaponized words and meet each other as human beings with healing hearts. Somebody’s got to take the first step.

keller-on-bravery

curie

chanel

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