Pax Tecum 2017

“Pax tecum”… Peace be with you

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That phrase has been my Christmas message on this blog for the past few years. I was torn about whether to use it this year, because I haven’t been feeling very peaceful. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry for such an extended period of time.

It, of course, began last year after the election, and it has only continued. If anything, it has increased as we’ve witnessed this administration’s systematic barrage against every human value the majority of us hold dear. We’ve watched them alienate our allies around the world and attack people of color, immigrants, the LGBT community, non-Christians (I should make that non-evangelical Christians), science, the environment.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we all should be angry. This kind of anger sustains us as we protest and call our representatives, as we march and demand answers from our government, as we try to hold this administration accountable to us, the citizens of this country, the majority of whom did not vote for the current occupant of the White House.

My partner and I have never watched the news so obsessively. We’ve never spent so much time and energy following politics, and there have been a lot of sleepless nights over this past year. I was starting to feel as if something was wrong with us. And then I found this blog by pastor John Pavlovitz (HERE) that let me know we’re certainly not alone. I swear, if we lived closer to him, I’d belong to a church again.

But this is also a season that is supposed to be a season of hope, of peace, of reflection. All of those things have been in short supply lately. I’ve had to actively look for them. Maybe you have, too.

We can’t not stay current on what’s happening in the news. If we look away for even a few days, it feels as if more of our freedoms are being yanked out from under us. But in my reading, in my writing, in my on-line presence, I’m choosing to focus on stories of kindness, of people doing good things. I’m going to remember to cherish the time I’ve got with my partner and our crazy dogs and extended family. I’m sending more Christmas cards this year to do a bit better at staying in touch with friends.

Posted below are the links to two songs that mean a lot to me. Enjoy. And I wish for all of you – whether you’re celebrating Chanukah, looking forward to the Solstice, or getting ready for Christmas – peace and joy. For now. But don’t forget to stay angry, keep fighting, don’t give up!

 

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Pax Tecum 2016

I recently read a blog post by another author about how those “our wonderful year in review” letters drive her crazy. I promise never to do that to you, but this past year has felt like such  mix of good and bad that I find myself feeling really ambivalent about 2016.

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Source: earthsky.org

Of course, the year ended on such a despairing note with our election here in the US, and all of the ugliness that has bubbled to the surface since. On a global scale, it seems the world has gone crazy – from the horrors in Syria and Aleppo to the rise of isolationist, far-right extremism in many different countries.

The flip side of the ugly is that there has been a groundswell of determination from those of us who don’t support the incoming regime and all it represents, who are sharing their stories of standing up to the bullies and the bigots. It seems the spirit of the holidays – whatever holidays you celebrate – are best represented by stories of kindness and respect.

As we were in the car today, driving to spend Christmas with family, we listened to hours of Christmas music, and I wondered what in the world I could write about for this holiday blog. Then Josh Groban’s “Thankful” played. That song summed up just about all I’d been thinking about.

There is so much yet to do, but there is so much to be thankful for.  Do what takes care of you. Hold your loved ones near if you’re fortunate enough to have people you love. I know for many, family time is stressful, not loving or kind. Renew or find a purpose to pull you outside yourself – there are so many organizations that need help. Read, pray, ponder the beauty of a winter night.

I wish for all of us a 2017 in which love and good overcome all.

Pax tecum,

Caren