Saturday was a beautiful, sunny, cold day. We spent most of it at the pond. We shoveled, skated, slid, sledded, tromped, ran, played Frozen (I am Elsa, always), climbed the beaver tree, tried to light a fire, ate lunch on the ice and immersed ourselves in the magic of the farm.
I started the year motivated, inspired, optimistic and content. But as January went on, I felt more and more that the world is filled with cruelty, conflict, intolerance, tragedy and lack of care.
The farm is always a refuge, and I’m glad to be able to retreat here. But hiding out at the farm is not a solution. We also live in the world, and I want it to be a good, kind, safe and healthy place for Ellie.
I don’t have a solution.
One thing I can do is speak up. Honestly, I’m fearful to speak too loudly. The intolerance I see in the world is not disagreement. It’s cruel, personal attacks. Fear keeps me quiet, within the shelter and safety of the farm.
But, I can share others who are speaking up.
Usually at the end of the month, I share links to things that are funny, inspiring, thought-provoking, motivating, positive. This month, I’m sharing two posts about the protest that happened this weekend in Ottawa.
I say often that I choose a life of love and joy. Part of that is trying to be tolerant, caring, kind, helpful. I am not seeing that in the world right now.
Thank you for sharing. The divisiveness and ugliness seem to be everywhere, and it’s exhausting and frightening. Sometimes being silent isn’t an option, and I appreciate that you are speaking out for a kinder, more just world for your daughter.
Thank you for your support. It means a lot.
Did you get a huge, letter-like comment I wrote on this?
I’m not seeing anything, Jem. I’m sorry.
This is the comment I tried to post before:
I feel this post so much. This is the post I made on fb on Thursday: “This convoy: don’t be deceived. It’s a tiny minority (10% of truckers, let alone Canadians) and it’s underpinned by white supremacy groups and extremist thinking. They want violence and may well get it. If you support them you are supporting white supremacy. Don’t give money or echo their opinions unless you are in support of overthrowing democratic government and leading to fascist rule in Canada. It sounds extreme but this is the path to that. Know what you are associating with.” Through that post, I learned my daughter-in-law, who is Indigenous, is for the convoy. This began a very careful picking of my way across a field of landmines, as she is opposed to vaccines, can’t wear a mask due to trauma, and is a conspiracy theorist. I can’t speak out freely the way I would like, but I do have to be true to myself. The minefield was carefully navigated, and I feel stronger for it. But everything you said just resonated so much with me. I also made a brave (for me) comment on the wall of my former neighbour and student parent today, who was describing their family’s experience with and without vaccines as being identical, so why get vaxed? I described our family’s experience: Shae and I, who are in our 50’s/60’s, both heavy and Shae has three auto-immune conditions, got delta and it was like a bad cold with a fever. My son and his wife (abovementioned) were who we got it from, and they are 29/31, healthy and strong (as an ox in the case of my son) and unvaxed. He wound up in the hospital with covid pneumonia and almost had to be ventilated. We are lucky he didn’t die. She now has long haul symptoms. So I offered our family’s experience as an alternate narrative to line up alongside his. I was relieved that he took my comment gracefully and neither got mean nor blocked me. But I really understand your fear of speaking out and your desire to hide out at the farm vs. your desire to speak out and fight for truth and fairness in this world. When my kids were small, as Ellie is, I coudn’t watch much news; my anxiety was just out of control. But now I have this voracious need to know what’s going on, to at the very least bear witness to the paroxysms our world is experiencing. I feel so deeply for parents of young children now. I experience such fear for my grandchildren and I can only imagine how much more acute that is when it’s your child.
SO, not to leave it like that, I will also share the things I try to hold onto to help at least a little. One is that the world needs the kind of children we are bringing into it. It needs those people who are brought up to think, to empathize, to do what’s right. It needs children who will grow to be climate activists and social justice fighters. There is a very important role for these little ones, your child and my grandchildren, in our future world. The second thing is that this pendulum swing is to be expected. It goes back and forth between barbarism and enlightenment, and that is what it’s doing. I don’t know how far it will have to go, but it will swing back again. Three is, like Mr. Rogers says, look for the helpers. They will help counteract the feeling that people are terrible.
This comment feels more like an email – feel free to convert it to that if you’re uncomfortable with how much I’ve shared – I don’t want to start anything you then have to deal with.
Big hugs! It’s a difficult, sore and tired world right now. Do what you feel comfortable with and retreat to the farm when you need to. Your day on the pond sounds absolutely wonderful!
Thank you for your persistence in sharing this comment. I appreciate how thoughtful and positive you are. The reminder to look for the helpers gives me some comfort. You’ve had some very challenging situations, both health-wise and relationship-wise. It sounds like you’re doing your best to navigate them thoughtfully and respectfully and authentically. Thank you for your courage in sharing all of this here.
Thank you so much! I would say exactly the same about you and this blog.