Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What We Can Do

Today I am going to realize that I can only do what I can do. I am not going to moan about the elections. I cannot change the hearts or minds of people and try to make them think the way I do. That's not what I'm here for. That's not what I can do.

Here's what I can do:
I can take care of my grandson. I can take him for a walk. I can teach him about the feeding of goats and chickens and how much fun it is to share with dogs.
I can read him books. I can tell him how much I love him. I can keep him safe. I can change his diaper and I can feed him vegetables from soup I've cooked and straight from the garden. I can teach him today about snow peas from the vine and I can show him flowers I have grown and in that way, perhaps I can instill something in him which will make him want to grow up and plant things in the dirt to eat and for beauty.

I can do the best I can. I can smile at people even if they have bumper stickers on their cars which would, on the surface, indicate to me that they are idiots. I can try to be respectful.

I can take care of my house and my family the best I can. When I feel that nothing is worthwhile, I can think of my own children and how I have raised four of the most decent, wonderful human beings I've ever known. I can remember that this is important. I can remember that I have planted trees and god willing, will plant more. I can remember that I have loved and been loved and I do love and I am loved.
I can care deeply about people but I can remember that every person has his or her own path and that I am not put here on this earth to change anyone's path. That it would be beyond presumptive of me to try. That I may not be able to relieve anyone of pain but that I can hold out a hand, I can offer a shoulder, I can listen and thus, perhaps for a moment, in sharing, I can lighten a heart.

I can acknowledge that there is suffering, both of body and soul.
I can make a loaf of good bread.
I can sweep my own floors.
I can pick up the trash in my own front yard.
I can make my bed. I can clean my sink. I can tend my world because it is small and I am grateful for it and it deserves tending.
I can remember for my own self what is important and what is not. I can be so grateful that I live in a place where I can plant things to eat and for beauty, can raise chickens for their eggs and their companionship, where I can be reminded of the transience of life by the very boards that I sweep in this beautiful old house I live in, can be reminded that the life of an oak tree is as important and far more longer-lasting than mine.

I can pay attention to beauty.
I can pay attention to my grandson.
I can pay attention to my husband.

I can remember that things do change as I see wedding bands on the hands of people I love who are gay or transgendered.

These are a few of the things I can do on the day after the election.

In short, I can take care of my own home, my own family, my own shit. I can still believe what I believe and I can do that openly and not be persecuted for it. I can acknowledge that the mysteries of life are far beyond my own narrow comprehension and I can accept that fact with not only grace but with wonder.

I can hold one egg in my hand and see the rightness of this universe. I can hold one boy to my chest and feel the brightness of the future. I can look at the faces of my children and see the results of my labor and the righteousness of my love.

I can hold my husband to me and know the blessing of my life.

No matter who holds office, no matter what posturing and yelling and chaos and universal disturbance there may be, I can do all of these things and feel at peace in doing them.

And that, for this day, is enough.


  1. Yes, Amen to this. We do what we can, that is all we can do.
    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  2. thank you for was a lift i needed today...and you are right...we'll be okay...i can take care of my own too...but i do feel sad for those who will not be served by this current political climate, and by how vitriolic the rhetoric was...

  3. Thanks! I needed that lift too because I went to bed last night so disgusted with the elections that I could barely sleep.

  4. Just the reminders I needed on this gloomy November morning. Thanks for saying it so beautifully.

  5. Thank you, Ms. Moon -- that's perfect. No exultation but in ordinariness.

  6. And you're the "depressed & crazy" one?
    This is the most sane and positive statement I have read in a year, and likely the only mantra that will give me pause as I seethe. I need to tattoo it on the inside of my eyelids.

  7. Oh, Mary, this is sooooooooo beautiful and inspirational!

    Did you read Leonard Pitts today? "Sometimes it feels as if the whole country is on an express train to Crazy Town."

    Thanks for bringing some sanity to me on this bright November morning, in spite of the results of elections across the country.

  8. I think this is the best post you've ever written, Mary. I'm printing it out and posting it on my bulletin board. Thank you for refocusing us all on what counts.

    PS Love the new masthead picture. Those clouds are amazing, connecting the earth and sky, with the setting sun peeking through.

  9. Mel- Sometimes you just have to bring it home.

    jean- I agree. Thank-you for coming by, for commenting. Please feel welcome to come back again.

    Lois- We survived Bush. Sort of.
    I suppose we can survive what comes next.

    Llyn- Thank-you. You come back too, okay?

    Elizabeth- It's just about all we can count on.

    Magnum- Thanks, my brother.

    Lulumarie- No. I'll go look up Pitts. He wasn't in our paper today. I love him.
    I love you, too.

    Kathleen Scott- Really? I'm so glad you like the words today. And the picture. I am loathe to change that one.

  10. tiffany- Just visited your blog. I'll be back. Hope you come back here.

  11. I'm not leavin, been comin to visit for a while now :)

  12. It is beyond my control as so many things are. Nothing more to be done except do the best that I can in this life.

  13. I can be inspired by the words of a wise and beautiful woman. I can take her words into my heart. I can share them with the people that I love. Thanks Ms. Moon. You always seem to say what I need to hear right when I need to hear it.

  14. You can do a lot then. Still must piss you off, though, right? I can laugh at that picture May posted today. That was funny.

  15. Boy, did I need this. My husband keeps threatening to move to Canada and yesterday was a doozie. But I couldn't take the cold, plus I'd have to miss the Goodwood plant sale. It is scary. And I do have a hard time with those whose beliefs are so opposed to what I was taught growing up that "Christian charity" was all about. I guess they don't teach that anymore. Thank you for the reminder to smile and be respectful.

    I'm starting to read The Big Sort - the Village Square is featuring it in February sometime - have you read it?

  16. I love this post. There is so much value in our daily lives.

  17. I have felt so beaten down and defeated all day as a result of the elections. Thank you for reminding me that at the very least, I can raise my children to be decent human beings and make it clear to them that it is all of our responsibility to take care of all our people, but especially those who aren't able to advocate for themselves. I can make it clear to them that anything less is unacceptable. Despite what the government does to disenfranchise anyone who isn't rich, white and straight.
    Thank you. Sorry I've been awol. I've been busy taking care of people (that whole Human Services job, you know) and trying to raise 2 decent little humans. But I have often thought of you the past few weeks!

  18. Tiffany- I am a space cadet. Takes me awhile to catch on sometimes.

    Syd- Exactly!
    Bless you.

    Palagi Girl- And that makes me so very happy.

    Mwa- HELL FUCKING YES! And May's blog was incredible today.

    Jucie- No. I have not read it. Should I? It seems to me that many of today's so-called Christians are doing just what people have done with religion for forever which is to take what they want to prove their own beliefs, many of them cruel and selfish and idiotic.
    Need I say more?

    Lora- You understand. You know this in your bones.

    Rachel- You are doing god's work. I love you for that.

    Mel's Way- Thank-YOU. Always and always.

  19. Just so beautifully said. The elections will be what they are, but you, you Ms. Moon, are true wisdom and wealth. And you have already done so much by giving the world the four wonderful humans you have raised. Thank you for that, for them. And for Owen, too!

    Yes, hold him to your heart. He is blessed. As are you.

  20. Angella- You know, too. I love our community of people here who know what's important to focus our energies on while not losing sight of the whole picture. Hopefully.
    I can't wait until you're a grandmother. Oh, the joy!

    Karyn- You are so welcome.

    Lisa- What is more sacred? Not one thing.

  21. Man, you write and think beautifully! I'm happy to know you. And by the way, I always agree with you too!

  22. I love you, but I am NOT smiling at the bumper sticker morons. Fuck them. I am not required to be gracious in the face of their idiocy. You smile. I'll flip them the bird.

  23. Robyn- Another reason I love you!

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- Can we take turns smiling and flipping them off? Please?

  24. Hey Mary,
    Really loved your blog yesterday. It was beautiful! Just what I needed after a day of feeling soooo discouraged.

    I sent it to Dave and Carly and a dear friend. They all said the same was an important reminder of the things that really matter. Thank you! Shelley

  25. Shelley- Thanks, honey! I guess it's good to take our despair and do something positive with it. Today I mopped the kitchen.


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