Cataclysmic events have rocked our world. This past year we have been confronted with the relentless effects of COVID-19, the unprovoked war in Ukraine, horrific school shootings, the border crisis, continual political unrest–and more. Regardless of your stance on political and social issues, it’s impossible not to notice the lack of tolerance for opposing points of view, often leading to violence.
And so, on Friday, June 24, with the uproar following the proclamation of a supremely controversial High Court decision, I decided to do the one thing I can control: The appearance of the desk in my writing studio. I discovered I don’t need to keep an overused face mask or 4 beverage coasters–or dozens of pens.
Surveying the build-up of this and that—colorful clutter, perhaps—I proceeded to spark a little joy by tidying up. Here is the “Before” photo.
And the one “After”
In the cleaning up process, I found some quotations from books I’ve read in May and June. All very different ones. Lines from a variety of authors I think are wise and sane.
“Disappointments don’t make you a victim; they prove that you are a participant, and participation is what we are called to—not success or job titles or acknowledgement. Even in the face of outcomes you don’t want, you have unstoppable, irrevocable agency to take the next few courageous steps.” 142-143 Bob Goff, Undistracted
“Young and Old: The Dance of the Generations: focuses on creative engagement with the young. When young and old are connected like the poles of a battery, the power that’s released enlivens both parties and help light up the world.” 9 Parker Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Growing Old
:“Dreams that drift away at dawn, the song that’s almost heard, a thought that dies before it’s born without substance, wispy and ephemeral dancing in a ghost waltz one, two, three—and gone before you feel the rhythm.” “Ghost Links” in River Ghosts, a poetry collection by Merril Smith
“So maybe parenthood was meant to be educational, Robin thought—a lesson for the parents on totally other styles of being.” 164 French Braid, Anne Tyler
She slept peacefully, her breathing as soft as flour sifting.” 222 French Braid, Tyler
Epigenetics: The study of how genes turn on and off in response to environmental changes, including adversity. People say, when something cataclysmic happens: “I’m not the same person.” New word I learned in Bittersweet, Susan Cain
Garrison Keillor quips: “One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don’t read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining.”
It occurs to me just now that my Word for the Year 2022 is “Reflect.” So at mid-year, I pause to consider complex issues facing our nation and the world. I’m curious about your reflections.
What quotes can you add?
What books are you now reading?
How do you cope with the knowledge of events you can’t control?