Shaken, Not Shattered

I am going to go a bit off topic today, but I will try to bring this back to recovery. I know many of my brothers and sisters in recovery share my thoughts and are feeling sad, lost, and afraid this morning. I also know that many do not. You may not agree with my assessment. You are welcome to your opinion. I respect your opinion, please be respectful of mine.

Once again, I find myself sitting on a plane on the way to a business meeting, so familiar, and yet so ungrounded. I left the house well before my son woke, after a fitful few hours of anxious sleep. Benadryl didn’t help.

Like many, I watched as the election was televised and saw my fears become manifest. I watched as a man who had campaigned on a what I saw as platform of hate and intolerance gained more and more ground, defying the polls. I’d never trusted the polls. I’d gone to bed, expecting the outcome, but not quite accepting.

I wonder how my son is this morning. He was genuinely fearful of this outcome. He is almost nine. I contributed to his fears by letting my own fears show over the past eighteen to twenty four months. But there were other factors in his fear. He heard the cyanide laced words of the man in the media – you couldn’t avoid them.

He understands what it means to build a wall, he understands what it means to dislike others based on skin tone, he understands distrust of other religions. And he knows what’s right. When he first understood racism in the first grade, he spoke of wanting to protect his friend Jameson who is mixed race.

I wish I was there today to tell him that things will be okay. That the world will continue to spin on its axis. That we have a system of government that ensures that even if we elect a megalomaniac full of vitriol to the highest office in the land, we have the legislative and judicial branches to prevent a dictatorship.

But, I am not at home. He will take his comfort from his mother.

I am not so saddened that we did not elect our first woman president as I am that we elected a man who I believe represents everything that I do not. I honestly never thought she was electable. Nor were her opponents in the primaries. I am saddened that the political parties couldn’t come up with a single candidate who I felt represented what the country needed, and who was electable. I am saddened that we have such a divided country. I am saddened that so many people chose to take comfort in words that cause so many others such distress.

I am shaken, but I am not shattered. Last night, I thought I’d be shattered. There were times when I thought that a drink would help. That numbing out would make this pain go away. I wanted the pain to go away. But I didn’t have a drink. I am not shattered.

I am resilient. Those of us in recovery are resilient. We are survivors.

The world will not end. We’re in for rough weather. We have a strongly divided country, and I suspect that many who chose to vote for hatred will soon find that the promises are empty, that we are in a ship without a rudder, and that our captain might not have an actual plan at all. Things will likely get worse before they get better. It’s gong to be hard. But we will get through it.

Those of us who choose love and kindness over hate and vitriol, we have work to do. We cannot afford to continue in the us vs them mentality. We must find ways to be inclusive. We must find common ground – it’s there I assure you. We must continue to work for what we believe is right and just.

We must do as Saint Francis guided us.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

Brothers and Sisters in recovery, it is okay to feel sad, lost, and afraid, but today is another new day. A day to begin the begin. A day to remember what we have overcome.

A day to rise.

13 thoughts on “Shaken, Not Shattered

  1. Damien, this is fantastic and so true. Now is the time for us to shine individually. My 27 year old daughter called me absolutely distraught last night. I told her that now more than ever she/we need to reach out, show love, be kind. I also posted the Prayer of St. Francis this morning also before reading this. Words I will need to read and heed daily for awhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. …”and I suspect that many who chose to vote for hatred”…

    And you wonder why we’re divided?

    I didn’t vote for hatred. I voted for sanity, in an odd way. It’s a long story, but if we want to heal we have to look in the mirror first. First five ste… heck, all twelve will do.

    We had a Republican Congress under Newt Gingrich balance the budget and get us a Surplus with a Democrat Bill Clinton. Anything is possible with a little want to, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One more thing Damien. He didn’t defy the polls. The polls were all wrong except one. One polling company got it right. Little known and rarely cited, the pollster added a trick question to his poll and he kept the call to 1-2 minutes. The question was “Who is your neighbor voting for”. With that question he took the onus off the person being polled and put it on his or her neighbor and cracked the “I don’t want to be berated by you because I’m voting for Trump” voter. That factored in a three to nine point bump for Trump. Exactly where it shook out.

    Before you get out on a tangent, know this: We won’t cop to who we are going to vote for because we don’t want to put up with the insufferable hatred and attacks lobbed at us for choosing to vote for the guy on the right…. and some of us just wanted to see exactly what happened last night – the rigged media getting it all wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very interesting social engineering tactic. I respect your right to your opinions and that we have a difference of opinion here. I appreciate your insight. I am hoping that with time I may be able to get past the vitriol and truly understand why people chose to vote for a man who so many find so repulsive that his supporters didn’t want to expose themselves as supporters. There’s something interesting in that dynamic, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is something interesting in that dynamic and I explained it thoroughly. As for the attractiveness of each candidate, the other option wore corruption well.

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      2. I’d argue that both candidates wore corruption equally well, but that’s just my perspective. Thanks for keeping this conversation civil. I’ll endeavor to examine my language in the future as a result of this discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Today I went to work treating communication deficits in children with disabilities. Black, Latino, and Muslim children. Children from LGBT families. I kept thinking how we tell them that they’re country voted on the side of bigotry, islamophobia, misogyny, racism, and hatred. How do I express that they are safe, loved, worthy, and protected. It is so important to rise up in these times to remind each other of these loving connections even when the atmosphere feels devoid of it. We must especially remind our children. Thank you for a post that has brought me some comfort and resiliency in a dark time.

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    1. A friend of mine posted the following on his Facebook account. It comes from a note to parents the Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District in California. This is what he suggested in terms of talking to frightened children:

      “On the national front, please know that history has shown us that we are a strong nation of people. It’s during times of stress and turmoil where we must resolve to be our best selves. We must embrace the rules of our democracy and at the same time reflect upon what got us here. For my own children who were questioning how the presidential election could turn out as it did, my message to them is: ‘It will be okay and we will learn from this. This is our system. In order to impact it, you must get an education and be the best you so that you can make a difference.’ I also stressed the importance of them being respectful of people who have differing views than they do.”

      I think this sums it up well. When I asked my son how if he was sad about the results, he said, “No dad, I’m scared. I don’t want to see a wall built. I don’t want Muslims to be sent away from our country.” I used similar words to the above with my son, and they seemed to set his mind at ease.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this, Damien. Politics is a tough one. I have purposely avoided discussing this after the election. I know a lot of people are hurt and downtrodden. But my take is similar to yours – the world is not ending. I can only take care of my backyard.Some folks will hit the streets and start groups and coalitions and other social justice measure. I am not one of them – it’s not in my design, but what I can do is just ensure that the world that I and my family is one of harmony and serenity. Taking challenges out of empathy and love rather than fear and hate. The St. Francis prayer is bang on.

    Great piece, man.

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Paul. It was a difficult decision for me whether to post anything remotely political on this blog, but I felt that it was the right thing for me to do. Appreciate your comments and the insight from our northern neighbors.

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  6. Thanks for the message Damien. I do feel better today than I did. Things just came to a better balance like you said they would. Sober boots? More like sober slacks!

    I also appreciated your disclaimer D. Above all we on recovery need to stay together through this, our lives depend on it!

    Liked by 1 person

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