Archive for December, 2017

Christmas on the Potomac

December 25, 2017

I am typing this entry out on an 11 year old laptop.  After many years of devoted service, my iMac’s video card up and died this September. Then a crummy tablet that still was better than this poor old dinosaur decided it owed me no more favors and went kaput in November.  I’ve been lugging this heavy thing around because it holds all my music and I didn’t know how to rid myself of it.  Now, although it freezes periodically like one’s brain after eating popsicles,  it’s still helping me interface with the world.

The world is a tough place, and we all hide from it in our own ways.  I try to take my computer failures philosophically.  Because it’s no longer easy to surf the internet, I rarely do.  This morning, however, I pulled up Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept and started reading a piece on Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose managed to get away with his anti-government radicalism more than once.  Reading about how the Justice Department bungled their case against Bundy after BLM agents had heroically tried to bring him to heel made me so depressed I had to stop.  Standing up to hardened, self-righteous bullies like Bundy is no easy task, especially for BLM employees who make their home and raise their families in the rural communities where those sorts run rampant.  To try to do the right thing and then have their government not come through for them must be devastating.  I don’t know how people come to terms with that kind of betrayal.  Maybe that’s the story I want to read.

With my computer still complaint, I turned to my modest little blog.  What had I been thinking the past few Christmases, I wondered.  Over the years, my rants against commercialism have lessened, not because the commercialism or my disdain for it has decrease but because I rarely go out in the weeks before Christmas.  The past few years I’ve considered the stars and wondered.  So that’s some progress.

It has been hard-won, this growth, an effort involving a wrestling with my demons that I don’t suspect is valued much in our culture.  Heck! I know it isn’t valued in my family!  There are probably a few more demons who need to be thrown.  But my dreams tell me that time is running down, that there’s only so much preparation that can be accomplished before I miss my chance to catch that plane, train, or bus, and get to where I need to be next.  Stepping up, offering what we hold to be true to a world that might turn its back and offer no comfort when our offerings are rejected — those are the risks we all must take.  At some point, as our Christmas iconography reminds us, that baby has got to be born, whether it’s in a clean bed or in a stable.

So my Christmas message this year has moved beyond the stars and wonder.  Like the anti-commercialism, those values are still there, deep inside, forming part of the structure upon which everything else I do stands.  On another Christmas day in the future, I hope I’ll have a better understanding of the possibilities this moment held for me and a story of how I rose to take them in hand at the right time and place and with the best intentions: love, peace, and justice.