The weather outside might not be frightful exactly, as the song says, but it’s certainly winter (we all wondered about that, whether it would even happen this year!). We’ve had a lovely Holly Folly, the soup kitchen is up and running, the Canteen’s Holiday Market is going strong, everyone’s looking forward to First Light, and in our own little pocket of the world everything is buzzing along quite nicely.
I’d like to think some about that pocket, and my gratitude about living in it. Last week I talked about my visit to a supermax prison, and how it’s made me change my daily routine. I’m not getting out of bed and immediately reading three different publications for morning updates on the horrors coming out of our nation’s capital. I don’t start my days angry and baffled and helpless anymore. And I can’t tell you what a relief that has been.
“We’re oblivious, here,” a friend said recently. “We have a place where we’re protected from all that.” And at the time, I thought, but we shouldn’t be. We need to be engaged.
I wasn’t wrong: We do need to be engaged. We need to use our voices and our money and our talents to effect change where we can, when we can. It’s not about not resisting. It’s not about giving up. Instead, it’s about not becoming so obsessed with what is bad that we can’t see what’s good.
And what’s good, frankly, is Ptown.
We live in a place that’s breathtakingly beautiful, maybe especially so in winter. We live in a community that takes care of its members. When people ask for help, someone is somehow there to help them. We keep arts and theater and literature alive and well and flourishing. We have a soup kitchen and organizations like the AIDS support group and Helping Our Women; we have ways of getting each other through loneliness and grief and even despair. And when there’s something to celebrate, it’s the community that celebrates together.
I’ve been forgetting that. I’ve been letting my rage and my frustration take over my life. But between my visit to the prison and attending a lessons and carols Advent service, I’ve been able to take a step back from those feelings and appreciate what I have. This community. These people. These dunes, this marine life, these sunsets.
Yeah, all is not well with the world, and I do have serious fears for this country’s future in the hands of someone who clearly cares about no one but himself and appears to be selecting the “mean” agenda at every turn. But I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I get up every morning and get to spend the day doing what I love. And that’s one hell of a lot more than 90% of the people on the planet can say.
The weather outside Land’s End may be frightful, but in here? The fire is indeed delightful. Let’s enjoy what we have.