joy, tempered

img_1303I’ve just flicked on the white Christmas lights – there are bright, tiny twinkles on the porch, on the tree, around the fireplace. Earlier, I ran some errands in town and bought groceries at the store where the guys behind the counter know every customer by name. I stopped in at the local bookstore to sign a few copies of my book for special orders. Back home, I filled the birdfeeder and stood outside for awhile, watching the sky change color and waiting for the hungry chickadees to come close. I sat in the kitchen with a cup of tea and ordered a couple of final gifts. The day flew by. It was good, full of reminders of what I love about our life  in this small New England town. And now dusk is falling, along with the temperature; by tomorrow morning it’s predicted to be below zero. Our son Jack, home for this week, is off playing basketball with a friend. My husband is still at work. And there is time, just enough time, to write a few words before I have to start making dinner.

Usually I would relish this moment – a brief pause in the midst of life to gather some thoughts about the meaning of the living. And yet, I’ve been hesitant to write lately. My subject is almost always some variation on the beauty to be found in ordinary life — the pleasure of fully inhabiting small, fleeting moments and the grace proffered by everyday miracles. And as always, I do find both joy and comfort in the simple pleasures of these brief December days: a walk through new-fallen snow, chopping apricots and ginger and chocolate to make our favorite cookies, a candlelit dinner, lingering around the table afterwards as our son reads aloud to us his favorite passage from the long novel he’s just finished. But even joy these days feels complicated, a bit tarnished by my own darker view of our world and my fears about what’s ahead.

img_1312I was about to read your latest post and buy your book,” a reader wrote me recently, “and then only a couple of sentences in, I see you bring up politics.” She continued: “All I want is to read about gardening and family life. I see you have written about acceptance and forgiveness in the past, but you can’t get over the election. So sad.”

It’s true. It’s been over a month since I wrote that post and received that letter. And I’m still not over the election.

Most mornings, my husband and I silently maneuver around each other in the kitchen, making coffee and toast and pouring cereal. We look out the window as the sun makes its appearance over the mountains, each day a fresh beginning full of promise and possibility and hope. And then we sit down together as the room fills with light. It is not our way to talk much in the morning, but I imagine he steels himself in some way, as do I, before opening the newspaper. The news of the day offers little in the way of either reassurance or hope.

I’m tempted to turn away, to pick up my new book of Mary Oliver essays instead, and to read about her favorite pond in spring, or the seagull with the broken wing she once rescued on a cold December morning.

“What a life is ours!” she writes. And I agree. What a life to cherish and to notice and to celebrate. Mary Oliver reminds me to pay attention. “Doesn’t anybody in the world anymore want to get up in the middle of the night and sing?” she asks. Yes, yes, I answer, I do. The moon was heavy and full last night, pearl-colored, casting crisp black tree-shadows at the edges of our snow-covered fields. We were awake at 4 am, and the stillness of the world was stunning to behold – a glassy, illuminated landscape stretched out beneath a sky pricked with starlight. It was indeed a night worthy of song. We didn’t sing, but we did gaze. And we whispered together for a while as we looked out the bedroom windows, and then, grateful for our warm, solid house, we snuggled back down amid the pillows. When the sun rose three hours later, we were there to witness it, fully aware of life’s abundance, of our own luck and privilege: to be alive, to live where we do, on this quiet hilltop where, in my own daily life, nothing much has been changed by the election of a new president except the contents of my heart and my growing sense of apprehension for this country I love.

I could choose beautiful sentences to feed my soul at the breakfast table, and in the past I often did just that. Yet it feels somehow irresponsible these days to eschew the stupefying news of the world for my favorite poet’s ruminations about its beauty. Somehow, I must make room in my mind, in my heart, in my day, for both. And so, first, armed with strong coffee, I force myself to absorb the news.

The profound disconnect between our President-elect’s values and my own intensifies by the day. It deepens with each rich, ethically challenged, climate-change-denying Cabinet member he appoints. My sense of shame and disbelief grows with every falsehood he proffers as truth, with each crude put-down or shallow tweet or empty promise or off-the-cuff threat he makes. Meanwhile, I’m increasingly grateful to the hard-working journalists who believe the truth is worth striving for, who work diligently to separate actual fact from Trump-fiction, and who are bold and wise enough to enter this urgent national conversation with clear reporting and much-needed analysis about what’s happening to our democracy. Although I have never considered myself much of a political person, these days I take time to read the long pieces by writers who bring historical perspective and deep understanding of the issues, who can articulate for the rest of us just what’s at stake here. I force myself to consider the worst-case scenarios and I welcome every piece that offers hope or constructive suggestions for how we must work together if we are to save ourselves from ourselves.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I do know that part of the quiet despair I’ve wrestled with since November arises from my own sense of helplessness, a feeling almost akin to the alarm I once felt as a teenager, in the moments just before I witnessed a car wreck on a quiet road in California. It was terrible and inevitable, that small bright red car’s slow-motion spin out and slide toward destruction. I was stunned by the deafening sound of the impact, followed by the deafening silence of stillness. I have never witnessed anything so frightening and so irreversible, before or since. Indeed, this is a memory I deliberately keep wrapped up and tucked away, for in that long-ago moment there was nothing to be done but watch it happen. Forty years later, there is nothing to be gained in recalling it, except to say that this impotent dread is familiar. This time, though, it’s not a fleeting moment but a constant, underlying sense of powerlessness. And, because I am an adult now, with some practical experience of the consequences of terrible events, I also understand that the moment of impact is only the beginning, and that what follows is much, much worse.

In times like these, when the civic values, freedoms, and precepts we once took for granted are threatened, every impulse we have bends toward action. We want to avert disaster, do something to make things better, spare ourselves and others pain, change the course of events that have already been set in motion. And yet, for the most part, we have no idea what to do. We can choose to stay informed, speak up in public as well as in private, and find ways to support those whose lives are endangered by the perogatives and priorities of this new administration. But the fact is, we can’t do much to change the big picture, and the big picture has grown only more disturbing since November 8.

For me, dealing with these feelings of impotence and sadness and anger is still a daily challenge. Donald Trump will take office. And we, each of us, will have to figure out how to respond to his decisions and their repercussions, whether they immediately impact our daily lives or not.

As my friend Karen Maezen Miller wrote last week, “There was a contract we thought we had, a contract with the future that depended on our effort, intelligence, honesty and decency. Did you ever feel that? It was fragile, to be sure, but it’s what we grew up believing.” Yes, I did grow up believing that. And so I’m right there with her now, when she says, “It feels as if the flags should be flying at half mast.”

The truth is, to me this election did feel like a death of sorts:  of ideals, of progress, of a certain, perhaps innocent, faith in the “best self” of our country.  And so to acknowledge in its aftermath a sense of grief seems normal.  Grief is an informed, reality-based reaction to loss. And loss is what many of us are feeling at this moment. As C. S. Lewis wrote in his beautiful memoir A Grief Observed, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” I cannot help but read these words and think of another reader I’ve corresponded with over the years, the mother of five African American sons. “I still feel like I have been punched in the gut and I will be grieving for a while,” she wrote me on November 10. “I don’t want people to force me into acceptance.” For this mother, as for millions of others whose lives are rendered more vulnerable by Donald Trump’s election, grief feels very much like fear. She says as much, when she writes about her sons: “I fear for their lives every day, and now more so.”

And yet, grief is never the whole story. As anyone who has survived the death of a loved one well knows, grief often goes hand in hand with grace. There are moments, even in the darkest night, of light. In our grief we find a way to reach out to someone else who is suffering. In our grief we discover the seeds of new resolve, a sense that we can no longer stand by but are ready to stand up instead. In the midst of sadness we become even more grateful for small gestures of kindness and generosity, more attuned to the world’s beauty and its fragility, more compassionate toward others who struggle, more tender as we go about our daily work. In our grief, we’re reminded that even where there appears to be no common ground there is always common humanity. And so, we become a bit more inclined to listen with an open heart, to make a greater effort to understand those who mean well yet see things differently. Slowly, one word and gesture at a time, the fear part of grief can be transformed by a fierce choice for love. There is no one among us who isn’t fighting some battle or another, no one in this world who is immune – to grief, to fear, or to love.

Broken open, with our own inner flags flying at half mast, perhaps we can begin to see a way forward. For me, that way may not be marching or protesting or sharing streams of commentary on social media, although I support all these efforts.  Quiet by nature, I seek out a quiet path. But I have decided, after much reflection, that I will continue to write what I feel. I will continue to trust in the possibility of an ongoing, civil conversation even among people who disagree. For me, choosing love over fear means acknowledging this painful truth: we human beings are not always rational and the issues that divide us are painful and complex. We are not good or bad, but both, flawed and human and striving. And so, I feel a need in my own life to cultivate gratitude and accountability. Both. The gratitude may be for small, simple things – homemade cookies, a sweet text from a friend, a hand to hold. And the actions may be simple, too — another contribution to Planned Parenthood or 350.org, a letter written or a phone call made, a thoughtful piece of writing or independent journalism shared, or an attempt to reach out and support someone who is doing positive work. There is as much cause in this world for hope as there is for despair. It helps me to remember that, to hold both hope and despair in some sort of balance.

By the same token, joy and sadness may seem like opposites, but they are often inextricably intertwined. My challenge isn’t to untangle these threads and toss the dark one away, but to weave something beautiful and true using both. To choose love over fear means finding the courage to speak from my heart, knowing there will surely be more readers who respond, as one did not long ago, “Take me off your email list. I disagree with your politics. This isn’t the forum for such a discussion.”

To choose love over fear means holding this online space as a place where we can indeed have these discussions – not all the time, but certainly in those moments, such as this one, when the personal feels political.  To deny that we are all connected, or to suggest that we ought to somehow separate our politics from our daily life is to turn a blind eye to the meaning and complexity of our own existence. I do love gardening, but when I am watching a monarch butterfly alight on a fading coneflower, I can’t help but think beyond my own little patch of ground to the whole planet, and about the dwindling numbers of monarchs, the extinction of species, the threats facing our own. When my family gathers at the dinner table, we don’t turn on the TV, but we do discuss the news of the world; we do our best to make some sense of things that are unfolding far away from our cozy kitchen. To do otherwise is to deny the intimacy of our connection with everything else in the universe.

I am not an expert in parenting, gardening, cooking, literature, or being present with dying loved ones. But as a mother, gardener, cook, reader, and friend, I have been challenged to become more adept at each one of these things. It is the ongoing work of being human that has called forth my greatest efforts, as well as my continued questioning and devotion, if not always great skill. And so, I’ve written about my own struggles to do better, to understand more fully, to learn. To me, the value of this writing is not in the expertise I have to offer, but in my willingness to show up, to be vulnerable, and to clear a space in which others may share their experiences, too. And so, I wonder: if this small online home isn’t a forum in which my own thoughts can be expressed and those of others safely heard, then what exactly is it?

It is by choosing love over fear that I share my life in my writing. And it is with love, not fear, that I trust others to receive those offerings with compassion, and perhaps to show up and offer their truth as well — even if it doesn’t align with mine. We are here on earth to learn to be ourselves, in all our confusion and hope and beauty and humility. And we are here to listen to each other, as we find our own path forward in a world that feels increasingly confusing and chaotic. May we continue to speak and write with empathy and civility. May we honor our differences with grace and affirm our shared humanity with gratitude for all that binds us. May we be kind.

img_1337It’s been several days since I sat down before dinner and began writing this piece. I didn’t intend for it to be so long. And yet now, reading it over, I realize there is more I’d hoped to say. But it’s time to close my computer and get on with things. The snow is falling hard here this morning, and I have shoveling to do, cards to mail, and groceries to buy for the only dinner we will have together this season as a family. One son is still asleep asleep upstairs as I type these words. The other is making his way home from New York City on a slow-moving bus. Tonight, we will light a fire, welcome my parents in, and carry plates of food into the living room. We’ll exchange Christmas stockings and take turns saying what we’re grateful for. The prospect of this entire day fills me with joy. Yes, it’s joy that’s shadowed by my awareness of all that’s not right with the world, but it is also joy that arises from gratitude for all that is. It is joy, tempered. Perhaps that’s the only kind of joy that’s really possible. For today, it’s enough.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty,” wrote a young Etty Hillesum shortly before she died at Auschwitz at the age of twenty-nine. “To reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.”

As this long, difficult year comes to an end, here is one moral duty we can share and work toward together. More peace in our own hearts, more peace in our troubled world.

for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Jill Johnson says:

    A lovely post. Thank you.

  2. Shannon Phelps says:

    Katrina,

    I, too, felt the same sadness when Barack Obama was elected.

    We are still here, and will be after Trump as moved on.
    Namaste,
    Shannon P

  3. Absolutely yes to all of this. And please do not stop writing about this very important subject. Those ordinary moments you and I both love so much shine even more brightly in the midst of impending darkness. We live and move in all elements of the world, good and bad, and we have to fine peace with both. Wishing you and your family peace this holiday, and for the year ahead. Your words bring me such wisdom, comfort, and joy, always.

  4. Grace Jacobs says:

    As always- when you share- it is what is in my heart and on my mind. Your words lift me and give me a sense I am not alone and I have a kindred soul speaking on my behalf. Thank for your words- all of them. It means so very much to me to feel connected as we work for peace.

  5. Mary Stevens says:

    Reading your beautiful words is like opening my own heart and mind to all the same feelings and thoughts I have also had since the election. Joy and gratitude, yes. Apprehension and feelings of fear and dread, yes. Choosing love over fear, yes. Thank you once again for so often expressing in such gorgeous prose what I too am experiencing.

  6. Holly Rigby says:

    Oh Katrina,
    Well said, well said. I am trying to hold onto two quotes to get me through. Michael Moore told us to “take comfort that the majority of your fellow Americans did NOT vote for the winner.” And “the arc of history bends toward justice.” My joy and comfort are my two granddaughters, Ava, 4 years old and Isabel, 3 months. I just finished Hillbilly Elegy which I found so enlightening…and I escaped by binge watching The Crown and Parenthood. And I look forward to New Hampshire come summer. Small escapes to the world, but comfort and distraction to me. And if course like minded people like you who share my worry, and can express it way better than I can.
    Thanks

  7. Katrina,
    While these are lovely thoughts, it is not enough. It is our responsibility to start taking action beyond our homes and day to day interactions. This very belief that kindness and understanding will win in the end has brought us to the very disaster that we are on the threshold of.
    Yes, in my personal life, these precepts are very relevant. But we must do more to have our voices and outrage be heard.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  8. Barbara Howard says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I am where you are in the post-election world, attempting to weave together my gratitude for what my life has been with the intense fear and grief I have for my country and the larger world. You gave voice to these feelings on a day when I desperately needed it.

  9. Marilyn Stocco says:

    I always appreciate your writing and your honesty about your feelings, good and bad. That’s what makes you so relatable, you don’t pretend everything is perfect. I have benefited from your hard-learned wisdom, and feel a closeness with you, just through your words. You have every right to hope that your reader-friends will be there to listen to your feelings when you are in turmoil. Please know that I am listening and I’m sure many others are too. I’m Canadian, so am not as deeply affected by the events in your country as you are, but we here also feel shock and fear after your election. Our countries are very closely tied, and have always shared similar values. It still doesn’t feel real that this has happened. Every day, it seems, there is another, worse bit of news. It is very hard to be optimistic. All we can do is love and help whoever we can every day. We don’t know what the future will hold. I have to believe that somehow things will still be OK, otherwise it’s too scary. As a widowed mom of two young girls, I struggle with fear every day and this has added to it. But I believe that God is ultimately in control and there will be goodness in the midst of this apparent darkness. Hang in there and keep writing about whatever YOU want.

  10. This is your space to write your truths and I am glad you continue to do so. I, too, am saddened and scared, and can only hope we make it through the next four years of ignorance and hate. I feel as if Pandora’s Box has been opened and can only hope that the Hope that is left inside is enough for us all.

  11. Yes, I share in your sadness and sense of dread. Thank you for standing strong and writing about this even though there are some who would silence you.

  12. For years I have enjoyed your blog and books. Now you choose to write about politics. I won’t even go into a narrative about why your election opinions are severely flawed. I will simply say I am done following you. You should have stayed out of politics.

  13. Peggy Dlugos says:

    Bravo, Katrina. Keep writing about whatever you choose to. For every person who leaves your blog there will be many more to join.

  14. A stronger military, jobs for those who simply wish to put a roof over their children’s heads and put food on the table, or even have affordable insurance to care for sick children…these are not bad things. Finally a man of action. This poor country was going down a dark path. ..and millions are now filled with hope and are excited for their future. I believe that the wealthy people in this country don’t know the struggle and obviously just don’t understand.. Poor and middle class are now filled with so much hope.
    Don’t be afraid, all is well, … write about your words of beauty and healing as always, as that is still much needed… as millions only begin to dig their way out of oppression with the help of President Trump.

  15. Katrina -thank you. I do not have your skill with words, but you’ve captured much of what I’m feeling. Grief, dismay, and shame that such a crude, vulgar, uninformed person will soon be the face of our country to the world. I am frightened about our future.

    Susan – your comments are condescending and rude. I am amazed at the gall you have to invalidate someone’s feelings expressed on their own web site.

  16. Lou Anne Sexton says:

    I’ve been missing your blog and I also know that so many of us have had very heavy hearts since the outcome of the November 8 election. I am here to applaud and read and post on your honest and vulnerable blog. I treasure your candor and articulation of the struggle so many of us are feeling and can’t put into words. Joy tempered does feel right, and I trust that we will all get to a better place, and we all have a responsibility to make this country better and continue the progress we have made. Each of us has important work to do to throw off the darkness, and bring in the light–the theme of our church’s Advent observation.

    This poem is long but it helps me every day so I share it now with you:

    By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
    My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

    You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

    I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

    Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

    In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

    We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

    Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

    What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

    One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

    Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
    There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

    The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

  17. Chris Wells says:

    This week on brain pickings weekly, was a piece by physicist David Bohm on dialogue and what is keeping us from listening to one another. Every one should read it. I agree with Peggy, for every reader you lose, you will gain one. Sorry that has become our state of affairs. I don’t pick a surgeon, doctor or dentist based on their politics. I just want the best one I can find! I search out writers the same way!😀

  18. Mary Lynne Johnson says:

    I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this heartfelt and thought provoking essay.
    You’ve touched my heart and challenged my mind. Thank you.
    Wishing you and your family holidays full of joy, laughter, and hope.
    Sending love and hugs, Mary Lynne

  19. Honoring our differences with grace-that sentence says it all!

  20. Daphne Saul says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. You wrote the exact feelings I was feeling. May God bless you this Christmas, and may He help you keep writing.

  21. Lisa Tillman says:

    Your words are always a gift to me, Katrina. Thank you again for another well written and meaningful post. As afraid as I am for our country, I m doing what I can by contacting my Congress people about Trumps’s appointments and by trying to spread love, joy and peace in any way that I can. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please keep writing.

  22. Your words reflect the sadness that shadows my soul. My husband shared that I am changed since the election. I am mourning, my internal flag is at half-staff as well. But you are helping me heal with your thoughtfulness and the knowledge that I do not mourn alone. Keep your guiding light lit so that I can follow you out of this darkness into a better day which is certain to come again. xx-holly

  23. Dear Katrina,
    Your blogs are beautiful. I have read all your books are keep up with every one of the topics you share. I feel as though I have found a friend, a kindred soulmate in you. I would
    be devasted if you stopped writing this column. Amidst the excitement and the beauty of this season, there is an underlying nervousness of what is to come in America under a Trump administration. I hear it in the voices of my friends and relatives in their quiet, unspoken voices. Let’s not talk politics, it will spoil the mood, but we’re all thinking it. I think we have to be vigilant and prepared. We have to keep in touch.We have to speak up and speak out when we disagree with things that affect us, our children, our elderly and our neighbors, or those who are disenfranchised. Life isn’t easy. We can not be complacent.”If you see something, say something.” This is America.
    We hope that our future will be bright and we hope that better days lie ahead, but we mustn’t put our heads in the sand and ignore warning signs. We must be aware for our future generations. God bless us all…

  24. thank you for this beautiful post that exactly describes the limbo that i feel. thank you for holding this space.

  25. Write on Katrina, write on! Holiday blessings to you and your family.

  26. This piece captures so beautifully exactly what I’m feeling these days. It’s like I’m in a science fiction novel! In the back of my mind the constant refrain: this just can’t be happening.
    Whatever your politics, the thought that our most bitter foe (Russia) hijacked our election should be a cause for outrage.

  27. Here are some moments that appear extraordinary but are likely, for the creatures within, quite ordinary. Definitely worth pondering:
    https://www.youtube.com/embed/auSo1MyWf8g?rel=0

  28. I don’t have to agree with you to appreciate your blog, your books and your superb writing over the years. I will keep following you! Blessings to your family this holiday season.

  29. I’m sorry that you have decided to spoil your reflections with mention of politics. It seems we can’t escape it anywhere. I must say that I have HOPE for the first time in 8 years. Hope that I will be allowed to practice my religion without hindrance. Hope that fewer babies will be sacrificed on the alter of convenience and selfishness. Hope that my country will not be lost to socialism and anarchy. I’m sorry that those are not your values but they are mine and those of many other people. Maybe it’s our turn now. I have not been a subscriber to your blog for very long and I guess I won’t be any longer.

  30. I am with Janet, April and Susan. I have enjoyed your books and I have enjoyed your blog…until lately. You have the absolute right to write on any subject you choose and I respect you for it. However, I have read enough about your feelings regarding the recent election and have unsubscribed. I wish you love and light.

  31. Barb from CNY says:

    Thank you so very much for this post. I don’t feel for one moment that your posts are in any way ‘spoiled’ by political topics. For every post that condemns, please remember this one, this reader moved to tears by the comfort that there is someone out there who feels exactly as I do, who is so happy to know I am not alone in my sadness and apprehension about the next four years, and have yet to ‘get over it’, I know that life goes on regardless of who is in office, that there is still joy to have in small and large moments with our family and in nature and more importantly still good out there, and good people. I know those things will pull us through regardless of who is in charge. Again, thank you for reminding me I am not alone in any of this.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas, and a happy new year for us all.

  32. Thanks for this thoughtful post. Merry Christmas.

  33. Thank you for this beautiful and honest post and look forward to many more like this one.

  34. Nicki Prevou says:

    Thank you. Beautiful. I needed this today.

  35. Linda Warschoff says:

    Thank you for saying so many things that need to be said and doing so with love and grace.

  36. Thank you SO very much for your heartfelt writing. I have been feeling the same way…the disconnect between my beliefs and values and what seems to lie ahead is staggering and sobering. I am happy that you shared your thought…may you find peace and serenity each and every day.

  37. Joy, tempered… With two quiet words, you have summed up what so many of us are thinking and feeling right now.

    My friend, I am here with you. I stand with you. And I urge you always to speak from your heart. It is your inalienable right. Love you.

  38. Now we can blame everything that goes bad on Trump instead of Obama. I have to remind myself that the other side is as strong and passionate about their views as I am. I’m grieving too and hoping for the best.

  39. People who needed to convince themselves that he was their savior do not understand our sadness. I have lived through many presidents whose politics I did not agree with. This is not that. This is not just temporary politics. This is about dishonor of the Presidency, dishonor of our government, dishonor of leadership. I am glad my children are adults and won’t have their formative years with this adolescent as our leader. I did not vote for Obama; I didn’t think he was seasoned enough. There are many things he’s disappointed me with. But he was always thoughtful and intelligent and hard working. Just writing this makes me want to cry. I am so ashamed for us.

  40. Debby Kelly says:

    Katrina, please keep posting your thoughts on how to move forward after the election. Joy, tempered is a perfect description. I once heard Alice Walker say, you have to find joy in the struggle. It is difficult. Thank you for your thoughtful writing. Wishing you and your family peace and moments of joy in the New Year.

  41. Katrina. Thank you, once again you have voiced what is in my heart. Words from your post…..shame and disbelief, helplessness, impotent dread. These words have been in my subconscious thoughts and trouble my sleep. The feeling of shame is not one I expected to ever feel after and election, but somehow I feel responsible. Should I have been more vocal, should I have done more fact checking and fact sharing on social media, should I have been less incredulous and more alert……is this somehow my fault, and the fault of so many others that didn’t think it was necessary to voice our opinions because we truly didn’t think that this could possibly happen? I am glad to know I am not the only one carrying around these feelings. Later you wrote…..the ongoing work of being human, and YES, that is what I am trying to do now. Be kind to people who don’t share my feelings and who often are belligerent in insisting that I have to accept the way things are now. I have also become a fact checker as I think I should have been earlier. If I read something that seems to good, or too bad, to believe, I take the time to confirm it, or expose it as false, and I’m not afraid to share the facts, whether they support my own beliefs or those of others. I still find it difficult to accept that so many people in my own life could believe in anything or anyone so completely alien to my own beliefs, and I am having trouble with my feelings towards them. But I am working on those struggles silently, not with hostility but with hopes that in our differences we will discover that what we all really want are the same things. I hope for the best, but I am not optimistic. Please continue to write of politics as they affect your world. To write as if this election did not impact your life would be dishonest, and one thing I have come to always expect from you is honesty. Thank you again, and I am sharing your post and expect that many like minded friends will become new readers.

  42. I have so enjoyed your voice in past works, but feel similar to the girls above. This is your blog and therefore, your choice to share as you please. It has been a long time since I have truly felt respect for the current office.My hope is not placed on who is “set in” as president…man or woman, but the one whose authority rules over it. My hope is placed in a higher power, one that is the very essence of hope and change.

  43. Martha Davis says:

    The feelings of dread and hopelessness emanated from my heart before the election results unfolded. I cannot see why anyone would be happy with either of the two candidates! The flag of my heart has been at half staff for years before the election! I’ve never been more concerned for a country that apparently can’t find even one person of integrity to run for office and be elected!

    Katrina, I’ve followed you for a while and recommended your blog to so many. You have the right to share your feelings in any topic. However, since I deliberately avoid any forum where people can argue about an election, I will reluctantly unsubscribe.

    Regardless of how we feel about our new leader, the Bible commands us to pray for those in authority over us. Just as I prayed for Obama, I will pray for Trump. I’m very saddened by those who can’t shake off their desperate feelings about our new president. I have chosen to shake off all the dread and sadness and pray fervently that God will guide the steps of Trump and his appointees. The problems with our country don’t lie with the president or even the president elect. They lie with us! We, the people, have rested on our laurels and haven’t demanded the leadership we need and deserve!

  44. Katrina – you have such a way of comforting and inspiring at the same time. You have captured my feelings perfectly. As one of our NH electors said this morning as she was about to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton, “disappointment needs to turn into determination”. We cannot despair. Thank you.

  45. You are so very brave. you contine to inspire me as a writer. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability- so rare to find. It is helping me bring my feelings back into the light. I have shoved them aside, tired of the pain of this election, and avoiding the news. Your willingness to still wade into all of it amazes me. Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for posting it here and sharing it with us. Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts and not just the soft, beautiful ones. I aspire to write my heart as you do.

  46. The day after the election I clearly remember driving to work and wondering why the flags weren’t all at half-staff, because it felt to me as though we had just suffered a tragic death – the death of our great nation. I don’t know that I will ever understand how people see hope in a man who is filled with hatred, so clearly out for himself, intent on building up his coffers and those of the extremely wealthy and determined to lead us into a world war of epic proportion. What I have observed time and time again since the election is that the people who feel this tremendous sense of loss and sadness are all people who demonstrate compassion and inclusion in their daily lives. These are my people, and I feel so proud to be standing with them and saying “I choose love”. Thank you for your honesty, and thank you for sharing your words with the world.

  47. Mary Elisabeth Stevens says:

    Write on Katrina. Please write on. This is not a time to be silent. It is a time to be vigilant and aware. I will be going to the Women’s March on Washington, as I dip my toe in the waters of acting in ways that support my thoughts and feelings about this disastrous election of this horrible man. Blessings to you and your family.

  48. Katrina I have just joined your “community”, having found you through Margaret Roach. Looks like a welcome mat at the door, so thank you.
    You know, Light will have to shine on all the dark corners for true Dawn to break. Yes, it is scary. Yes, we may not have chosen to cross this rocky path on our way. But get out your flashlights and welcome the transformation! As sick as we feel, we must keep on with our best.

  49. The narrative of our simple observances of the joys of everyday life are over shadowed, for some of us, now. Somehow we realize, at a very deep gut level, that the fabric of our country and our lives could be threatened.We hold onto the tenuous thread called hope, that just maybe there is light that we cannot see yet. Grace…hope…Anne Lamott writes poignantly about both…too long to include here..but her words bring comfort and solace to me,always. 2016 has been a dark year of challenge for my family and I look to 2017 with metered hope that our country and my family will be able to reach out with compassion, kindness, and the illusive grace and come together and go forward together.

  50. Katrina, Keep on writing about both truth and beauty! You echo my thoughts exactly. I’ve always been quiet- especially politically, but I don’t want to stay silent. It seems wrong and dangerous not to speak up, or act.
    I will fill my days with activism and beauty. I will become better informed and I will call out injustice. If there is any good that comes from this mess, it may be that indifference and complacency is replaced with action.

  51. Katrina, Thank you for once again saying the words for what I am feeling. Please continue to write what is in your heart because you are heard. MJ

  52. staci ericson says:

    It’s so important for writers to document for future generations their thoughts on the important issues of the day. When our children ask, “Why did people believe him? Why did they vote for him?” We owe them more than a hindsight glance at dates and places written in a few paragraphs of a history book. It’s the keen observer of everyday life capable of putting into words the feelings, thoughts and fears of those who hope we are wrong, but fear we are not, that must tell this story in time. And it takes courage

  53. Glenys Bittick Lynch says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in such a kind way. I too have been not at peace since the election. I have been sad and fearful of what this country we love is going to be faced with in the coming years. All those on the margins, must be very frightened. I pray for this country ‘s future.

  54. Thank you Katrina.
    Your words are a balm for me. Please continue to write what you are feeling. I stand with you.

  55. “A sense we can no longer stand by but are ready to stand up instead.” Thank you for standing up in honesty and in grief. I’m sorry for those comments where people have chosen to unsubscribe rather than listen and think. I have a deep sense that the day is coming when “we told you so” will be so apparent as to not need to be said. He is morally unfit to be president and proves it in increasingly frightening ways. May we hold on to our gratitude, love and peace despite the hopelessness and fear. And may your voice continue to be heard in all its grace.

  56. Katrina, Your post echoed so many of my thoughts, fears, and grief. And yet, like you, I see the beauty of this world, flawed as we humans are, and I know that spreading light and beauty are important. I too felt the instinct to leap into action after the election, feeling a sense of urgency. As the days go by I believe more and more that we need to spread light, take action in our own life, speak out AND that all we do must come from a place of love, not fear. The deep intention of our hearts must be turned towards spreading light and beauty and doing the next right thing as our lives unfold. Blessings, light, and love to you and your family.

  57. Diane Ranney says:

    Dear Katrina,

    Do not be silenced by those who fear the truth. Although we all have our “own” truths, the universal truths are still ingrained and your colums are such good reminders of them. Those who will not buy your books because they seem “politcal” are the same folks who will not attend a church whose minister preaches her thoughts on justice and love, talking about acceptence of all people, defying racism, sexism, and ageism. Those folks feel that “religion” and “politics” shouldn’t mix, just as they want to read about nothing except birds and flowers and goodness. They fail to see that if the world continues to follow those who care nothing for flowers or birds, we will find ourselves without any goodness about which to write or read in a few years.

    I have always found that behind all attempts to squash “the other” is the fear that we ourselves are not good enough as we are–that we cannot accept differences because we fear the idea that someone else may have a place at the table and we will not. I was raised to believe that all people are God’s children–no matter what name we give to God or how we choose to accept God’s grace and goodness. Fear, or as a famous writer whose name escapes me at the moment once said is “False Evidence Appearing Real”– nothing more than being unwilling to accept that we are no more NOR no less than anyone else. We all need to accept that God created us to help each other, to be sisters and brothers who recognize the God in each other and to keep this world as beautiful as it was when it was created (however we think of that!)

    Keep writing about and contributing to the places where injustice and hatred are being fought. Keep writing about butterflies AND their habitats being destroyed by greed. Keep writing about your walks in nature and the larger world of Nature that we need so much to preserve. Keep writing because it is so important that we not give in to despair or threats or whatever else may come. And then, go out and lend a hand…wherever one is needed. I’ll be there, too, despite my own fear!

  58. Christmas reminds me that our God is bigger than any President, any world leader. When you feel the weight of the world, have faith in God. It’s the one simple truth thatl helps keep your sanity. We’ve cast our votes and now will need to pray that our leaders have clarity. Speaking out without being consumed with worry or disgust is key. Attempt to find the good—it lingers there somewhere as political history tells us.

  59. Thank you for choosing love over fear….and sharing your thoughts.

  60. Mark Kindall says:

    Dear Ms Kenison –

    You hav presented your views on the extraordinary circumstances of this past election in the way that you present ALL of your reflections: from the heart, and with compassion, empathy, and openness. There are those in our country who cannot except any political disagreement — we have become that tribal — but you cannot allow the discomfort of others to silence your authentic voice. If you value compassion and inclusiveness and find them lacking in our public sphere, you should discuss that without trepidation. Your voice is important. Too important to be silent.

    Like you, I think, I believe that what makes America exceptional is our openness to new people and new ideas, our aspiration, not always or fully met, to judge people by the “content of their character,” not where they are from or who their parents were. And I feel that country has, in some sense, been lost to a wave of nativist feeling. Yet, that causes me to reflect that for many, American exceptionalism means different things, and for them, my feeling of wanting my country back would be nothing at all new. Both their America and “mine” are “real America.” And our challenge, as always, is to recognize that.

    But it’s is not easy. I fear for the country, and the world that must deal with our inward turn. I have not discerned the best path for useful action; I am still mired in fear and foreboding. I ran across a poem from a couple years back that comes close to what you wrote above — in fact, it echoes a phrase you just wrote. I share it in the hope that it gives you some comfort in your vigil, as you have given all of us comfort in our own.

    Vigil

    I sit shiva with all the Dark Angeles —
    Fear and anger, grief, hurt and shame,
    Sharing the earthy, viscous life-blood
    Of blighted, blessed, beautiful humanity.
    Wisdom sits among them, intimate as a lover,
    Composed and compassionate.
    She wills me to abide,
    Silently entreating me to live the vigil fully,
    Staying present to the pain,
    Allowing the dark ones to withdraw
    In their own time,
    Trusting that I will remain,
    At last, and only then,
    Broken open.

  61. Fran Rasweiler says:

    iPad dropped. Trouble. Brillent words lost. Greatest country. Have hope, joy, humour a hug for fellow citizen. Fran

  62. Cheryl Ives says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words that mirror what has also been on my heart and mind. I, too, am fearful since the outcome of our election. I don’t know if I should avoid the news or keep watching to be informed. I think I will hold on to the good that I can find in each and every day. It may not make the fear go away, but it will remind me that in spite of all that is going on, good still does exist. Please keep writing!!!!

  63. Paula Geiman says:

    Thank you so, so, so much for your well-timed blog this morning. You’ve described so succinctly, perfectly, how I’m moving through these post-election weeks and facing the coming year. The early morning time that I would routinely spend reading soul-nourishing, hope-generating literature to nourish the active practice of love and compassion has been supplanted by first forcing myself to read the news of the day. It is so easy to slip into grief, despair, and fear. . .

    But–there are two quotes that I recently read that I hold close: “Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) and “There is no direct flight from order into reorder. You must go through disorder.” (Richard Rohr)

    We’ve been shaken up but now, more than ever, is the time to truly listen, reach out, and treat others with respect, dignity–and kindness. Regardless of the divisiveness or the rudeness that we may encounter day-to-day, we need to consistently move through the world with courage, love, respectful/dignified behavior–and great kindness. All of us, regardless of political affiliation, have the seeds within to act with thoughtfulness, respect–and great kindness. Truly, we are all connected to everything and every one. There. Is. No “Other.”

    I have to tell you that, lately, every time I stumble into a seemingly insignificant, day-to-day interaction and the individual is kind and friendly, it renews and bolsters my faith in others and our ability to connect. Whether it be to talk to a customer service rep that asks in a sincere, lovely manner “And how are you this morning?’ or to a friend of mine, who is gay, that gave me the biggest, longest hug when we said good-bye the last time that we met–I feel as if I’m a parched desert that’s soaking up the rain of kindness and feeling renewed. With each renewal, it becomes easier and easier to meet the day with hope and extend that kindness to others.

    May we all keep an open mind. May we all listen to those we perceive as “other”. May we all resist the temptation to close down and instead become stunningly courageous and reach out through conversation and action. These are challenging times and courage is most definitely required.

    Thank you again Katrina. And a heartfelt thank-you to each and every one of you who shared your thoughts on this post and reached out with respect and kindness–regardless of your political position. You truly are like a soothing rain on a parched desert–and I feel less alone and greatly heartened for us all . . .

    Peace.
    Paula Geiman

  64. Jackie Roberts says:

    A new day has dawned and, with it, an opportunity to make this gift meaningful and joyful…the best day ever. This day started with sunshine, coffee and reading your recent blog….with my freshly groomed dog cuddled up beside me. How good does it get?! Your words have always impressed me, Katrina, but what you wrote within is exceptional! I feel your hesitation to bring up your true feelings for fear of upsetting some of your readers…that’s who you are. You care deeply about everyone and everything and, now, we know how deeply you care about your country as well. American people, as well as those around the world, need your inspirational, thought provoking words more than ever. I am Canadian…proudly Canadian. We are closely tied to our neighbours, despite the fact many have no idea where Canada is, nor who we are. Rest assured we know what is happening south of our border and, for the most part, are shocked and dismayed this travesty in American politics came to be. Our flags should be at half mast too. And, as you said, each day brings more disgusting examples of Trump’s total disregard for everything, save for his own inflated ego and power. This man is to be feared. And it’s only just begun. Bless the media’s constant vigil, taken by those who voted for him as fear mongering. Rather, their words are a warning shot across the bow that voters ignored throughout the entire campaign that now serve as confirmation of our worst fears…daily. Please do not turn away apathetically ever. Please stand up and be heard when it all becomes too much. Speak your truth, protest peacefully but with purpose. Don’t stop. Please don’t EVER stop….until he is gone. Half of Americans have been blinded by Trump’s pomp and blatant lies…he’s laughing at all as he does exactly what he wants, with the attitude of “No one can stop me now!” He’s washing his voters’ faces in dirty water that reeks of deception. They don’t understand, following blindly and brainwashed by the mighty Trump already. This is terrifying. Similarly, the German people in the 30’s and 40’s followed Hitler like sheep. We all know how that story unfolded and ended. We, your Canadian neighbours, pray that writers and media the world over will continue to keep tabs on Trump (cannot refer to him as President and never will) to keep us informed with the truth of his shameful, dishonest ways. Otherwise we shall all fall under the wheels of apathy, which would be terrifying to watch helplessly from our vantage point, knowing the outcome. Similar to the traffic accident you witnessed. Bottomline: THANK YOU KATRINA! Your grace and honesty are desperately needed going forward…more than ever before. By the world. So… Write on!

  65. Katrina, keep writing from your heart! Much love to you and the Kenison/Lewers clan…pz

  66. Thank you for standing strong in speaking from your heart. I shared your post on my FB page and will link to on my next blog post. Love your courage, generosity, self-reflection and truth.

  67. Allison Hunter says:

    I have been waiting for a new post from you, as you are among my favorite writers. Thank you for this brave blog post. I sense that the truth you carry in your heart is now more important than upholding a reputation, or losing a few subscribers. I always come away with so much from your writing. I just finished reading your books, (for the second time)—- so relevant as the mother of 3 teenage sons— and I was moved to tears. Life can be so fragile. Now, more than ever, we need to have courage and to carry our love out into the world. Thank you for being there for your readers, and for continuing to post your thoughts.

  68. Thank you for writing, and for thoughtfully continuing to express your thoughts and concerns, which I’m sure is not an easy thing when faced with rejection in your own community. Also, thank you for creating a space for discussion where people can disagree and still be heard. It is oh so easy to demonize, to dismiss the concerns of people who voted for Trump, and I am often tempted to do just that. But that’s not getting us anywhere, is it?

    Your writing is one of the things to be thankful for these days, and your work is important.

  69. Thanks once, Katrina. I’m glad to hear your as-always eloquent, truthful thoughts. I’m listening.

  70. so so beautiful. you say so beautifully, so poignantly, what’s burrowed in my heart. i thank you for the solace of your company. i’ve never felt so alone, so afraid for our country, our civil society, our decency. as i type this i get an alert on my computer that a truck has just run into a crowd in berlin, and nine are dead. and before that, an assassination in ankara. and last night, the most soul-wrenching news reels from aleppo, children, newborn babies being extricated from the rubble of collapsed buildings. your words are necessary balm. we reach out in the darkness to find each other’s hands, to hold tight and embolden ourselves for the long march forward. may that pearl-colored moon shine radiant light on each and every one of us. and merry blessed christmas, too.

  71. Katrina, your honesty and vulnerability in sharing is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing and for continuing to share your truth.

    As the year is coming to a close, I reflect on what it has meant to my family and me. This year has truly been about balance on so many fronts. Your words speak right to that. Know that you are not alone, just as your words tell me I am not alone. Thank you.

  72. Mary Michaels says:

    I do understand somewhat how you feel. I felt that way in 2008 and 2012:.
    Now I feel really hope that we will make America great again.
    Peace.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017! 🙂

  73. Your posting was passed along to me by a friend and I am overwhelmed by your ability to express the emotions that I feel. I am pleased to have found your blog and will be a new follower. Thank you!

  74. I want to add my voice to those who applaud your courage and honesty and who relate to the feelings you so beautifully describe. This blog is a place for you to be true to the voice you have within – your own inspiration – and to be anything less than honest would be a betrayal to those who truly listen to you. This is a time in history when those of us who are quiet and sensitive must look at the hard truths, recognize the craziness of the political world and encourage one another in our commitment to choosing love over fear, kindness over contempt and forgiveness over judgement. Thank you for being so real and please continue to write whatever lies in your heart.

  75. Kudos to you for the courage to speak your heart. You have enriched my days by doing so.
    You have my gratitude and respect.

  76. Thank you for your courage and your clarity. I will share your words with friends who are troubled and struggling in these unusual times, and your light and love will provide a comforting and healing balm.

  77. Katrina,
    Your essay is honest and reflects your quest and the quest we will all be on in the months and years ahead. It has been a brutal time. We need to communicate and help each other move through what has happened and what will unfold. Thank you for contributing to that.

    If there is a “silver lining” it may be this: I am reminded daily of all who have, throughout history, endured far worse including people here in our own country. I realize how lucky and privileged I have been in my lifetime and I’m coming to the point where I can view this election as a chance to make some new decisions about how to live a life that considers the future of others, especially the young among us, over my own. There are some huge unknowns out there now and it won’t be easy for any of us to look around our immediate lives and say this is all that counts.

    We are now past what you describe as the “point of impact” and are now navigating the fallout that will take much time to unfold. At the suggestion of Jesse Kornbluth, I purchased, bought, read and have already re-read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl is no poet but his ideas are simple, beautiful, and provide a roadmap for finding the meaning in our lives no matter what is happening. I have found it to be stabilizing as I go about identifying and taking actions that will hopefully help. I’m also plunged back into the lessons I learned from 12-step programs over the years: to focus on single days, sometimes single moments at a time, to let go of what we cannot control while doing what we can about the things we can impact and letting of of the results.

    I am in the baby steps stage. It is uncomfortable, scary, and some days it is like trying to move around in cement clothing. More and more though, I begin to see that small steps matter. More and more, there are glimmers of light that keep me moving. And I will be among thousands of wonderful, strong women and men in Washington next month. This will fuel me for what lies ahead. If anyone else reading this blog is going, please let me know! betsymarro at gmail dot com. I would love to connect. Peace and health this holiday season to everyone.

  78. Katrina, I have hesitated to respond to these blogs because I do agree with you. Something just doesn’t feel “right” with the world and for me, it is due to the president elect. In my mind he stands for everything that is so wrong in this world, the selfishness, the greed, the disassociation with the “common man”, the ignorance of the workings of the uber wealthy and their ways around the laws most of us comply with because we are moral and ethical beings, most of us. That so many people ignored his immoral and unethical behavior and still do is that really rankles me. We will be judged by how we treat the least among us…..can’t believe Trump won’t disappoint in that area.
    Continue to write your feelings. Feelings are not inherently bad, they just are and we are all entitled to them. My feelings mirror yours and I find I can’t push away the disappointment I feel with s country that would elect this man.

  79. Wow….Thank you…. peace be with you and your family. Your voice is needed now.

  80. Thank you for your honesty and your commitment to your truth, your integrity. This is bigger than our need for approval or acceptance. At some point, we have to follow what is true for us despite the pull to do what is expected of us. I am reminded of two poems, The Journey by Mary Oliver of which I am sure you are familiar “One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting
    their bad advice–though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.’Mend my life!’each voice cried.” And William Stafford’s beautiful poem
    “The Way it Is” – “There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing.You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see.” Several years ago I created a movement practice, Divine Moves, that is very spiritual and at the beginning I held back and did not push the spiritual element. I was afraid. At some point, I decided that I had to be and say what was true for me and those who needed what I had to offer would show up and stay. And they did. And now I pull no punches about the God that is in the beautiful movement and music that is part of this work and I have more consistent numbers in my classes than ever before. We are only responsible for emanating our light and who comes in and stays in the beauty we offer is not in our control. And if they move on, that is okay, they will find other healers who can meet them where they are. Thank you for your integrity.
    so much love! xoxo

  81. Much peace to you and yours this Christmas, Katrina. Your writing always speaks to the heart. Thank you for sharing your gifts. I can only hope that our country will in some way benefit from addressing the great frustration that has built over these years. While I don’t agree with it, it is real and must be brought into the light. And we are called to be vigilant and loving in the midst of it all. Here’s to courage and to promoting all that is good and true. Please continue to write honestly and politically. I think your voice very much needs to be heard.

  82. Thank you for breaking open your tender heart so that we may open ours. Thank you for your bravery in stepping into the fear of darkness, when you know there will be others who will not stand with you. Thank you for being strong, for being open and honest. Thank you for letting us walk with you hand in hand, heart in heart. Thank you for creating space for these hard conversations. Thank you for remaining true to your self so that we can learn to follow ourselves. For many of us this is a very dark time. As Martin Luther King said, “darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” So it is our job to bring light and love forward. As you so eloquently say, “We are here on earth to learn to be ourselves, in all our confusion and hope and beauty and humility. And we are here to listen to each other, as we find our own path forward in a world that feels increasingly confusing and chaotic. May we continue to speak and write with empathy and civility. May we honor our differences with grace and affirm our shared humanity with gratitude for all that binds us. May we be kind.”

  83. A friend shared your post on Facebook. i have just subscribed. Thank you for your writing what many of us are feeling.

  84. So grateful to have stumbled onto this post and this lovely community of people in a friend’s share on Facebook. You have expressed beautifully the struggle I have been having since the election. I appreciate the reminder that we can weave grief, fear, despair and love and joy together. Thank you for giving voice to the complicated mess of feelings and thoughts I have been carrying. You have a new follower and I am looking forward to your next piece.
    Blessings

  85. Katrina, I too send my thanks for this post. Your words, so kindly given, are rare in today’s world but oh do necessary. I’ve read this blog twice today. This morning I was too overcome with emotion to respond. On second reading I realized that your words and those in the comments had been settling into my heart during the day and they have brought a measure of peace. Like others I have felt fear and anxiety but it has been heightened by events happening in our family….a grown son suddenly out of work, a son in law being sent overseas as he serves so proudly for our country, a granddaughter days from the birth of her own daughter and my husband, newly relapsed after chemo for his leukemia, my own health issues and fear of future impact on our ability to meet our finical needs. It’s overwhelming at times and I fear for the impact this election will bring to all our lives. I am working hard to find joy and gratitude in each day and voices like yours help me so very much. I too am grieved that others have decided to not continue to read your blog but I am so greatful for its presence in my own life. I wish you joy and peace in this Holiday season and a New Year filled with blessings to you and your family.

  86. Bonnie Hinschberger says:

    How eloquently written Katrina. The world will be a better place if we each make an effort to spread the kindness. Thank you for your peaceful and thoughtful message to all.

  87. Joe Schmoe says:

    This piece captures perfectly what half the country has been feeling the past 8 years! We now finally have hope that corruption and dishonest law-making will cease – or at least be curtailed after 8 years of disregarding proper legal procedure and race-bating the country at every turn.

  88. A beatiful easy. Simply beatulful, from your heart. Thank you Katrina

  89. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for remembering to write from your heart. It’s the truth, integrity, and deep respect for life that you have that continues to inspire. So much you have written here transposes itself into various aspects of our daily challenges. “Our” paths are all similar, it’s just the details, and the scenery that changes as we go. Thank you for this beautiful post. Thank you for all your hugs you gave me at the book signing in Winchester. The pieces you chose to read that day hit me hard. I was raw and vulnerable in my grief over losing my Dad this summer. His loss is still fresh, and palpable in every moment. I will be re-reading this post, drawing strength from your words, and insights. In the meantime I wish you, your family, and all your readers peace and love as we head into a New Year.

  90. Dear Katrina,
    I thought of you all day without yet reading this post. I was sorely and similarly afflicted when I read some of the comments attending your previous posts. More than ever, it is necessary to say that I am with you in every way no matter what comes and I will write to you soon. All my love and support, Maezen

  91. I am in complete agreement with you.

    Early this morning I read Charles Blow’s recent article in the NYT. He says, “I fully understand that elevated outrage is hard to maintain. It’s exhausting. But the alternative is surrender to national nihilism and the welcoming of woe. I happen to believe that history will judge kindly those who continued to shout, from the rooftops, through their own weariness and against the corrosive drift of conformity: This is not normal!”

    I believe we need to keep talking, writing, shouting. Our children need us to be heard.

  92. Mary Pat Kinney says:

    Thank you for your eloquent words. I do feel this sence of foreboding. I believe Obama’s grace and maturity gave us hope. I cringe when people think the new president “will make America great again.” Hold on to your hats folks. Keep expressing your true feelings…if not here, than where?
    Merry Christmas

  93. Elise MacDonald says:

    Katrina,

    Thank you for having the courage to write on this topic, even though doing so means you must burn a bit of political capital and perhaps lose a few readers. Thank you for the courage you are showing, as well as the light you are shedding in the midst of all the heat.

  94. Thank you for articulating so beautifully what I cannot!

    We in the environmental education field were devastated by the election results and the potential for irreparable damage to our planet under the new administration. There is now even greater urgency to our work, even as we are sick at heart. We will continue to teach, inspire, and help citizens make the connection between the health of our planet and humans’ longevity on it. Thank you for mentioning the monarch and its connection to the broader, interwoven health of the planet. Perfect example, and one that is the current focus of our nature center!

  95. Katrina, the Creator of all you love, and so eloquently describe, is in charge. Trust Him. Don’t allow your feelings of despair surface through your writing. You have a God-given talent. Use it to uplift! Your books and essays are beautiful, but there is always an undertone of sadness. Rejoice and be glad! Our Savior was born, died for us, and will one day soon return for those who know Him! In the meantime, enjoy and focus on all that is precious…and, when you feel anxious, turn to Him for comfort and assurance! But don’t let those feelings of despair overpower your God-given talent….for then, who really wins? Keep talking to us through your beautifully written essays and books…but, please, spice it up with a little humor…or we will all become depressed!

  96. So many comments! and nearly all say way better than I how much I appreciate your blog and the beautiful way you have with words. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  97. I had received this yesterday, and had decided to wait until this morning to read.
    When I awoke this morning, I was apprehensive about the day, not sure why, and trying to calm myself. Then I opened your blog.
    You put my concerns put into words.
    I thank you!
    Reading this morning had helped me push aside my apprehension, and has challenged me to live a hopeful day, look for the best on all people, and to make a stand for what is right.

  98. Jana McNally says:

    Dear Katrina,
    I had to scroll down a long way to get to a place where I could write my own thoughts. There are so many comments to read that I needed to hurry past them so I could keep yours still in mind to respond. I hope you have time to read one more. I too, want to be able to escape and read something that doesn’t make me have to think about the reality of our current situation, but this is not the place where that happens for me. I am so very grateful that you are willing to share your very sane and thoughtful comments on our present political situation, and as I’m sure many have already said, you put into words what I am thinking. But you also provide me with some strength in understanding what I have been feeling. It may be grief and it may be fear and it may be a lack of knowing what to do to make this situation better. I agree with all my heart that grief does bring grace along with all the pain. The low moments of pure loss involved in grief can at times rise up to a height to equal the lows if only we can open our hearts to them. I am working hard to not let fear get the best of me and only in the middle of the night when I waken does it have its way with me. I am no longer able to to listen to the news which was a regular part of my day both in the morning and evening. I admire that you are able to face the newspaper everyday and I think I may need to resubscribe to the Sunday NYTimes because reading allows me more of a choice than having the information jump out at me from the radio without my being able to quickly enough turn off what I am unable to bear to hear. The little snippets of news I have heard live with me and frankly, make it difficult to go forward with any joy. But I know that I can’t continue to not listen and need to be stoic enough to hear what is happening. I feel inspired by your effort to read the in depth articles that come with a historical perspective. Lastly, I am grateful that you feel it is the right thing to do to write about all of the things that concern you, not just that which brings us comfort, as it would be false. Yes you may lose some readers but count me as one who is grateful for a writer who is willing to share her truth. And I must add that my heart gave a jump when I read that Jack is finishing a novel!

  99. Katrina:
    Thank you for writing on this topic. You must be true to yourself, and when something is weighing on your heart, mind and soul so heavily, how can you not write on it? For me, it’s that primal fear for the physical safety of our country and my family that triggers so much. I know it sounds crazy to those who support Trump, but I hope they can at least try to appreciate that for us it is genuinely how we feel. Feeling a lack of control and safety is horrible for anyone — whatever side of the political fence we find ourselves on, we should endeavor to summon empathy.
    Katrina, I pray you can put all of this on hold and simply enjoy the time with your family over the holidays. If you allow yourself to be fully enveloped by it, I believe it will help fortify you for the writing and work ahead in our new normal. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  100. Melanie C. says:

    Dear Katrina,

    Thank you for writing this. It is a very dark time. But, unlike you, I haven’t felt hopeful for a long time now. It is apparent to me that politicians, Left or Right, don’t represent us, but their donors – the rich and powerful. Obama has been a major disappointment. His cabinet appointments were also upsetting, and much that has happened on his watch has left me unsettled and distraught. Most recently, it was painful to watch the water protectors in North Dakota get beat up by militarized police who, instead of protecting U.S. citizens, are protecting an energy company who have no right to build a pipeline on Native American land. Obama wanted to let it “play out” and see what happens. We have been asleep, not noticing because Democrats have gotten away with things no Republican could have. If Trump is good for anything, it’s to finally wake us up and say enough is enough. Hillary would not have been much better, but I’m too mentally exhausted to get into that. We need to realize that as long as the politicians and their donors have us at each other’s throats, they can manipulate us. We all need to join together to fight the governmental corruption that has been destroying this country.

    To those who are wagging their finger at you for wanting to vent about this, I would tell them to get out of their comfortable bubble. Yes, this is not what we’re used to seeing on this site, but it’s time to get our heads out of the sand if we have any chance of surviving as a species, and as Americans.

    To April – Much of our budget is spent on the military, and we already have military bases all over the world. How many schools could that money build? How many roads repaired? Crumbling bridges? How many jobs created? etc. etc. You cannot bomb the world into peace.

    Katrina, I look forward to all future posts. They are something I look forward to in my inbox always.

  101. Peace to you and a blessing for your wisdom and courage to share your heart. I whisper , “me too” as I read this.

    The uncertainty and disbelief of the bigger picture rests on my personal grief for losing my mom and my dog this year. My heart has never been heavier – but your words, are like a warm blanket of soft hope. We will survive because there is kindness in the world. We may not have it easy in the coming years but I can make somebody’s life a little better by my actions Today.

    Thank you for writing this.

  102. I am grateful for your words this morning as I grapple with similar feelings about the state of our current political climate. I find that I am constantly practicing noticing my fear as it arises with each new thing I hear in the news and then dropping down into my heart and trust that the world will balance itself again. It’s not easy but the only way I know of to find balance myself.
    Thank you for your honest, heartfelt and thoughtful words.

  103. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you.

    So much love,

    Elizabeth

  104. You echo my despair. I so want and need to see the beauty and the blessings around us. This horrible cloud that has hung over makes it so hard to do so, All the things we have taught our children, respect, kindness?? I am so ashamed of fellow Americans who voted for someone whose actions do not exemplify anything close to that. Thank you for articulating our fear–so many I know have felt such grief–many of us find it hard to even talk about it. Thank you–thank you for being there.

  105. Please keep writing about whatever you feel is important. It is only when you are silenced that our freedoms erode. I used to always say I wanted life and work without conflict, until I learned that conflict is very much part of life. Now I embrace it like I’d embrace what feels more positive and is easier. I appreciate what appears to be a mostly kind and listening dialog in these comments. I think we will find we have more in common than not.

  106. Amy DelaTerre says:

    Thank you for this post. Your words echo what is in my heart and on my mind. I felt not just bewildered and shocked, but devastated, by the results of the election. I so appreciate the reminder that I don’t have to feel pressured to “get over it” and “move on.” I have given myself permission to feel my despair, to continue to listen and pay attention, to read the news and try to keep my broken heart open…and also to remember to be grateful for all that which is still so good in the world, and to feed that…feed the goodness. What you said about balance really resonated with me. I appreciate your honesty, your courage, and your eloquence. May the basic goodness that we all share help empower us to rise up against all that is negative and unjust in our new administration. Your words help feed our collective goodness. Keep shining your beautiful light!

  107. Thank you so much for the thoughtful essay. As I make my way thru this year, I will try to find peace and opt for love over hard. I appreciate your courage in sharing your feelings with the wider world. thank you.

  108. Nancy Allan says:

    It’s uncanny how you find the words to express what so many of us feel. Your eloquent writing made me realize I am still in post- election mourning and dreading what comes next. Your blog is without a doubt the most fitting place for you to share all your thoughts and thank goodness you have continued to do so. Thanks for all that you provide to those of lucky enough to read your words. Sending love and gratitude.

  109. Ralph Knudson says:

    Katrina,
    I just read your post because a friend sent it on to me and my wife. You captured the sense of deep appreciation of “the moment before” which we’ve been feeling as well. The beauty of the world around us, and the joy of being with the people we love is what truly counts on a day to day basis, and yet….we know that it all rests on the balance of sustainability, peace and some sort of order to continue as we know it. We have felt safe (most of us, anyway) for many years; at least those of us with jobs, stability and a better balance of goodness versus fears. Now we are flung into uncertainty, fear and a loss of safety for the future we had counted on. It’s a huge loss, and a massive reconsideration of what we thought we knew.
    In 1984, my wife ( a counselor) and I (a family doc) hosted a gay support group in our home for LGBT students we had become aware of as part of our work at the college. These students were scared, lonely and needed support from each other..it didn’t happen anywhere else. A lucky coincidence brought James Baldwin (the famous gay, black author) to our college for a speech, and a friend who drove him from the airport asked him if he’d talk with our little support group. He quickly agreed, and we had him in our living room surrounded by 15 students that night. His message then to those students resonates with me now:
    “Safety is an illusion. When you understand that, and let go of it, then you are truly free (to be your true self and stand for your true values)”
    It was powerful truth, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. It’s still powerful now. It takes courage to let go of the illusion of safety; even as we stand up for justice, honesty, truth and beauty and sustainability without knowing how this will all play out. Courage to listen and empathize with those who voted for Trump without seeing them as evil, enemies or Other. (My wife is now a PA, and we practiced together in Trumpland here in Wisconsin for years…and know these people as being essentially good folks, who felt left out and taken advantage of…and were also quite insular and out of touch.) Courage to be bold, to take inspiration and inspire others as well, and to take risks. (We know and love a 97 year old (now blind but still involved) woman activist who has inspired many as a role model for our city’s movers and shakers; by standing on downtown street corner as a Women in Black for Peace, going to the capitol to talk with representatives in person, starting discussion and support groups, etc and stating clearly at all times her loving belief in a better way. Her formative years were spent as a nurse working with rural blacks in apartheid South Africa.)
    My point is that adversity sharpens truths, strengthens courage and committment, and sweetens our love of what is truly important. We are faced with opportunity to find ourselves and each other in a way we still don’t fully understand. Your words about this moment allow us to gather ourselves together and bring big pieces of peace together in ourselves to do just that.

  110. Thank you for putting it so elewuently. Yes, Love over fear, we have to recognize that fear is the illusion. We must rise now, we must stand in our love, and say; “This is who I am!”
    And then pick up the phone and call those senators, and congress people, and pick up the sign that says; “He does not represent me.” Amen sister.

  111. Melissa Whitt says:

    Amen, and thank you for putting into words what so many are feeling.

  112. Thank you for this post. I’ve been struggling with my writing for so many reasons. Trying to figure out what to say and if it’s ok, and am I wrong to be upset… still.
    But your words are a balm, and they help more than I bet you thought they would.
    Watching my little ones as they process or world, that gives me hope. How they can hear what’s going on and without my promoting they can weed out what isn’t real, what isn’t right, what matters and what doesn’t…. that gives me hope.
    Keep writing what stirs you. The small and the large. They’re are many of us who will show up here for your words, no matter the topic. We won’t shy away from the uncomfortable.

  113. Shannon Phelps says:

    Kudos Ralph Knudson:)

  114. I also tend to be a quiet person who soothes myself with the beauty of nature and the simple pleasures of daily life. Like you, this election really threw me, and I have felt a sense of impending doom since then. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece. I believe that we must continue to share beauty and caring in this world, and at the same time, remain vigilant politically.

  115. Thank you, dear Katrina, for your honesty, integrity and courage. I feel the same fear and disbelief as you, and am at times tempted to put my head in the sand. But you are right, we will all be better off if we stay informed, connect with others and do what we can to make a difference. As always, you inspire me!

  116. Nancy Oberrath says:

    If there was ever a doubt in my heart about the goodness in people, reading your post and your amazing comments has lifted me right up this morning. Thanks cannot say enough for all this inspiration. Know that this light you share goes far in the world for peace and love.

  117. Thomas Kenison says:

    I live in Seattle, WA. I accidentally came across Katrina’s web site doing a Google search (see my name). Her post of 12/18 is lovely and caring and measured. And she’s losing followers for her sensitive sensibilities? Go then to the childish play-pens of your repetitive denial of fact. Naming the cause of pain is truth and in truth is freedom. Write-on Katrina. I hike, daily on high trails that wend down to Puget Sound. The “regulars” who hike those trails all hike for the peace, the fresh air and the calm found in unspoiled nature. But since our twisted and illegitimate presidential election in November, we “regulars” find peace and solace in sharing our outrage and unwillingness to accept the WallStreeting of our country. The beauty of sea, forest and air is not diminished by our ardent discussions. Alas, the very beauty we enjoy is made more precious knowing that, given the opportunity, Trump’s cabinet will destroy “God’s green earth.” Now IS the time to write from the heart, Katrina. You owe it to your readers and yourself and, indeed the beauty of daily life you cherish.

  118. Cindy Spencer says:

    Thank you for your beautiful, thoughtful writing, that, as always, reflects the ways in which you sit with the flaws of everyday and weaves them together with the small, still, beautiful moments. This political kind of pain is different – more universal, and thus more open to contention, but no less in need of reflection, stillness, and holding together with each other (and with cups of tea!) than other kinds of pain about which you have written and held. In your writing, I find reminders to be present to the everydayness of life, everydayness which includes discomfort, anger, disappointment, as well as beauty, love, grace. Thank you for writing, and please continue.

  119. Jennifer Kirkland says:

    Katrina, thank you for sharing, and for helping me find meaning in this chaotic world that makes no sense. It is paradoxical that individually, we are so powerless, and yet it is through our own individual actions that we will affect the world in a positive way. Keep writing. I will keep reading.

  120. Diana Moore says:

    I am so confused by the depth of feelings being voiced by Democrats, followers of Hillary, not sure what you like being referred to but struggling to understand. I’m so relieved about Trump being elected (people have spoken) and Obamas to be gone. For what you are feeling I feel opposite and feel relief. I don’t remember “carrying on” like my world was going to end. I respect your views, you’re an amazing woman, author etc but this is my first post after subscribing and here we go again…I didn’t sign up for crying the blues yet again. My faith and trust is in the Lord, not Hillary. I’m a retired nurse of 34 years, my son is a police officer and an adjunct professor in a community college, my daughter started as an English teacher now at the college level Director of Student Affairs. My family works, participate, care for others in our society. I guess the point being it’s a different world, terrorism, hatred is all about getting closer. The media is so biased, it’s an all about me society, my way is the only right way. Well sorry you didn’t get your way so you pick yourself up, go to work, volunteer, participate in church and gain strength by doing. Just enough already, you all say exactly the same things. It’s amazing to read and hear the same stuff over and over, Your blog and post, I just feel sick and depressed now reading yet again how bad you all feel. Thanks for letting me say my piece, I’m not as eloquent as you but what I feel is real to me. Thank God I’m a Christian. My prayers are for the whole world for peace for you and your group. I’m on my way to volunteer at our local free clinic in town and that is what it’s all about, thank you again,

  121. Ann Mengel says:

    Amen. You, Katrina, are able to take the thoughts in my head and mold them into wise and spot-on paragraphs. I’ve been in mourning since election night. The integrity of this country is in jeopardy. Who would have ever thought that such a crass, mean man could be leading this fragile country. Say hi to Steve for me 🙂

  122. Please continue sharing your thoughts. You have always been a source of comfort and inspiration to me. So much food for thought. I, too, worry about the direction we are taking with this new administration. I want to have hope and faith that we are going in a positive direction. If we do not have hope, what else do we have.? Wishing you comfort and joy this holiday season.

  123. Susan Hickey says:

    Your writing is so beautfiul and so encouraging. I often put excerpts in my journal to keep. I believe God can use anyone for good. Perhaps this is a time when we will all work harder for peace and kindness. And pray for wisdom for our leaders so that they make work together for the good of the people in this world.
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas!!

  124. Karna Converse says:

    IMO, peace and kindness have always been at the core of your blog posts and books. Thank you.

  125. You say so many things in my heart and far more eloquently than I could ever express even one of them. I believe many of us are struggling with this these days and will. But we will move forth — open stockings, be with those we love, continue to write or share or stumble as we walk through uncharted territory with conviction.

    Meanwhile, I wish you a beautiful holiday as you gather with those you love and a new year that offers strength in its challenges.

  126. Thank you for your willingness to speak your truth. Merry Christmas and blessings to you as we face the New Year with joy, tempered.

  127. It’s been a week since I first read your post. It’s another early morning and I’ve now read all the many commentaries. Thank you for expressing what is in your heart, mind and soul – – whether it’s about the joys and challenges of family life, personal fulfillment or, more recently, about your concern for our world post-election and into 2017.

    You are an artist—not a painter or cartoonist, or playwright—but a writer. This morning I found a quote about the value of art as a form of social commentary: “Art has long been a forum for expressing opinions about the state of politics and society. Through caricature, satire, symbolism, and allegory, artists have commented both explicitly and subversively on everything from vanity and excess to corruption and greed, and poked fun at everyone from the anonymous masses to the privileged elite. Often widely disseminated through prints and other reproducible media, the ability of such images to strike a meaningful chord and leave a lasting impression has at times made political satire dangerous terrain for artists, especially those living under the governance of repressive regimes.”

    Your words are inspiring so many more to express their opinions about the state of our country or the world. We can’t just depend on artists to do it for us.

    As this year comes to an end and you take a break from your posting, I know you are savoring every ‘ordinary and extrordinary’ day of this holiday (holy) time with your loved ones. Blessings to you and your family.

  128. I know they won’t come back and read, but to those who don’t understand…my husband us a Muslim immigrant, my son’s name is Amin and I just found out my parents voted for Trump. Their justification is “he’ll never be able to get away with all the things he’s threatened to do, and he’s going to bring real jobs to this town.” They live in a small, rural Texas town. My prayer is that they are right on both counts. I do hope every small town in America gets real jobs and I hope he will realize the folly of targeting immigrant communities. I’m afraid I have serious doubts about both, and it feels like a huge betrayal that they put the unlikely improvement of the lives of strangers over the very real likelihood of a negative outcome for their own grandchild. Katrina, a commentor above, Staci, outlined exactly why your willingness to speak out is so important. Thank you.

  129. Thank you for your courage and the beauty of your words. I decided to subscribe to your blog because of your willingness to share your grief and concern. I have admired and read your books, but just found your online community through your latest book. I’m grateful I don’t need to wait for print publishing to hear your voice. I’m a middle age mom with young children who struggles daily with paying attention to this beautiful and broken world. Thanks for being a beacon in this time. I, too, believe we have to find ways to stay connected in the midst of what feels like irreconcilable differences. No healing will come as long as we keep walls between us. Blessings.

  130. Tina Derke says:

    Beautifully put and so touching. It is amazing to feel how much you touch our hearts and make us feel less alone in our journey. Please keep you words coming. They ARE appreciated. Happy Holidays!

  131. Sherryl Wilkins says:

    Thank you Katrina for your deeply thoughtful post. Walking the talk is never easy. But you are a writer, and art is not pablum.

  132. Dear Katrina, Keep writing! You’ve received so many supportive comments. The few negative comments continue to be ‘head scratchers’ for me, especially when the authors are women. However, we human beings are messy, complete with a spectrum of individual experiences, life experiences, age…. Love and light, compassion for the other, held in unity will crowd out the shadows. This is my hope….after my own period of mourning you so eloquently described. Oh, and action, to not quietly stand by when there is injustice. Looking forward to your future reflections.

  133. I am in awe of the thoughts shared by so many since your recent post of Dec. 18th. So eloquently and thoughtfully penned. I begin the new year with a sadness, and feelings of great uncertainty, but I will most definitely be keeping up with your blog; sharing our ideas and insights is informative and comforting, a needed combination that gives me hope.

  134. k. worden says:

    Obama was all about income redistribution, large government and handouts. Americans want law and order something that the kumbaya peeps don’t grasp. You can’t have a country without boarders, law and enforcement. With regard to the boarder issue—built the damn wall! The laws are on the books. I am hopeful that Trump’s administration will enforce the laws. Obama was the most divisive president in the history of this country. In his home city of Chicago, over 4000 people were shot in 2016 with no comment from Obama. Nothing. Across the country there has been heightened racial tension under the Obama administration, in part because of Obama’s lack of leadership and respect for ALL people. His failure to respond to racial tension has proved to be a very dangerous path. In today’s news we learn that a mentally disabled white man was brutally tormented and injured (his scalp was sliced) by four or more black Trump haters. Turn on the tube and take a peek at this disturbing video of crime and hate by these vicious criminals. Do you think our president will comment on how horrific and awful this crime was and how this behavior should cease immediately? I highly doubt this. This alleged “leader” has failed our country. There are 3141 counties in the United States and Trump won 3083 of them. Clinton won 57. The Electoral College works. Perhaps “your inner flag” flies at half-mast, but our countries flag is proudly flying high. Oh, and since the rockers did not move to Canada, there is still space! You can always turn off those twinkling tree lights and put your favorite cookies in a zip lock bag and head North.

    • Sorry, but I can’t take seriously any posting in which “boarder” is continually used when “border” is the correct word. Kind of renders it all silly.

      • And one more thought. Many (not all) Trump supporters lack the intelligence apparently to be able to distinguish between real news and “fake news.” Wonder what will happen when they realize that they’ve been manipulated by the Russians (read some “true” history: the Russians are not our buds) to elect an amoral, ignorant, temperamentally grossly unfit President. Oh, and that their health insurance is gone and not coming back.

    • One fact correction: Clinton won 462 counties and Trump won 2584. An interesting point is that the counties Clinton won are responsible for 64% aggregate share of national GDP. The counties won by Trump are responsible for only 36%. If any one statistic from this election is useful to the Democratic Party it is probably this one. Source:Brookings and The Washington Post, both of whom used Moody’s as a source. The commentor is using Brietbart as a source which does not reveal its source.

      The story regarding the beating and torture in Chicago has not been substantiated by any credible source.

      I also find it rather ironic that someone accusing Obama of being the most divisive president in history uses such divisive speech.

    • Good morning K. Worden,
      I read your comment and, although I cannot agree with your analysis of the past eight years with respect to our political environment, I do appreciate the courage that it took for you to share your opinion.

      We are all citizens of this democratic republic (not just some of us!) and we must find a way to communicate and reach out to one another as we move forward. If we refuse to do this, we do so at our peril. We can each take personal responsibility and foster this attitude of respectful communication among our friends, families, blog postings–and can also strongly encourage (dare I say–demand?) this of our legislators at all levels of local, state, and federal governance.

      Having said that, I would like to gently suggest that how we offer and phrase our opinions is critical to establishing a meaningful dialogue. Much has been written and said over the past election cycle about “political correctness”. May I humbly suggest that “political correctness” is simply “common courtesy” (to quote a favorite opinion writer!)–and that common courtesy (a.k.a. the Golden Rule), kindness, and respect are tenets of every religious path?

      If we want to be truly heard and our opinions valued and considered, beginning one’s blog posting with “kumbaya peeps” and ending with “put your favorite cookies in a ziploc bag and head North” is most likely not the way to reach your readers. Many of us are most able and very willing to listen to the “other side” and wish to reach a consensus–or at the very least to agree to disagree–within reason. We are not enemies. Once again let’s emphasize, we’re ALL citizens of this democratic republic. Period.

      The actions of those four individuals in Chicago was sickening and reprehensible. Please don’t attribute the actions of a group of seriously disturbed people to political motivations. If anything, attribute it to the coarsening of our public discourse and the actions of some of our elected leaders (this does NOT include President Obama in my humble opinion) which has resonated with and brought forth some of the darkest, most intolerant, repugnant aspects of behavior within human beings.

      An offering: please consider reading Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene. “A pathbreaking neuroscientist reveals how our social instincts turn ‘me’ into ‘us,” but turn ‘us’ against ‘them’–and what we can do about it.”

      Thank you Katrina for your wise words and your courage to share within your blog. Keep up the good work! You’re an inspiration to us all!

      peace . . .

      • Mary Elisabeth Stevens says:

        Absolutely Paula – thank you for stating very eloquently what I was thinking after reading K. Worden’s very insulting and disrespectful comments. We can disagree with each other without inflicting pain and demeaning each other. It does not help any of us in any way when nasty and ignorant words are thrown on either side of the political spectrum.

    • Mary Stevens says:

      By the way K. Worden- President Obama came out STRONGLY about the horrible attack on that poor young man…calling it horrifying and despicable. So, you were wrong,

  135. Wendy Sax says:

    Brilliant, Katrina. A gorgeous piece on how to weave that which is sublimely beautiful and all that with which many of us are struggling in this new political climate and the deepest chasm of values. Thank you so much for writing.

  136. OK – so I dictated my comments on my iPhone and failed to proof read them. The word “boarder” instead of “border” was incorrectly used. Deborah, you failed to note the word “built” was incorrectly recorded instead of “build.” Sorry. “Deborah 1/5/17”—who does not disclose her last name, should not consider my comments “silly” even if she believes I can’t spell. Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen (to name a few) could not spell and their thoughts/ideas are meaningful. Anyway, I would like to respond to Deborah and several other people who commented.

    (1) Obama Care was/is a failure and will be repealed and replaced in a few days. Those who have this insurance plan will get a new, improved and more affordable plan.
    (2) In response to “Marianna 1/5/17” Clinton won “462 and Trump 2584”— it depends upon where you get your information from. Whatever the exact “Clinton number,” Trump crushed Clinton. You point out that 64% of the national GDP were Clinton counties and only 36% were Trump counties. This is, in part, why Trump won! Many people are out of work. The government does not include the number of people who stopped looking for work in the number reflecting those who are unemployed. (http://www.epi.org/publication/missing-workers/) The number of Americans on food stamps is up 36% and home ownership rate has dropped to the lowest point in 50 years. This occurred during Obama’s presidency.
    (3) Based upon the current information it is unlikely that the Russian government had any impact on the outcome of the Election.
    (4) Obama did comment on the attack by 4 black people against the disabled white man. He said their actions were “despicable.” It is hard not to comment on such a barbaric act. Who raised these people? What happened to them since birth? During Obama’s administration he has repeatedly failed to recognize the sacrifices that law enforcement and our military has made each day to protect Americans. The Trump supporters heard Obama’s silence on this issue loud and clear.
    (5) Many liberals lack a sense of humor when it comes to politics. You gals are way too serious and touchy feely. This includes you “Mary Elisabeth Stevens.” And no, political correctness is not synonymous with manners. I respect all views, even if I disagree with them. My previous comments were tongue-in-cheek. No sense of humor?? ☺ Happy New Year.

    • Please stop. You may feel you are making a point but you are only bruising those already injured. Just because you can does not mean you should. Put it down and let those who mourn do so. I feel that
      Would be afforded to you.

  137. K. I sincerely hope that Trump is able to get insurers and providers to agree to a workable healthcare plan. If he can I’ll consider him a miracle worker. As long as we maintain a free market, for profit outlook on insurance and provision we will continue to see costs rising for everyone.

    After sharing the GDP stats (which I included my sources for) I said that that statistic is one the Democrats should pay especially close attention to. With unemployment at record lows we have to look at why this disparity exists. It’s worth noting that “missing worker” statistics account for people who have no desire to work (stay at home parents, early retirees etc) or are unable to work due to disability or illness. The actual rate of people who’ve just given up is purportedly quite low. As with most issues it’s quite complex, but a huge factor is that while employment rates are relatively high, a large number of people are underemployed in retail and hospitality jobs that are chronically low paying. If elected officials are serious about helping stabilize the middle class they will stop saber rattling about manufacturing jobs and start addressing some real issues. Namely, increases to the minimum wage, overtime work rules (huge numbers of workers stood to benefit from the OT law that raised the salary cap-a law that will most likely be repealed), the business practice of employing people for just under the maximum number of hours at which the employer is required to provide benefits, the business practice of using “independent contractors” to avoid paying benefits etc. Is part of the solution to bring manufacturing jobs back stateside? Of course it is, but it isn’t a panacea by any means.

    Number of Americans on food stamps–again a factor of the fact that most job creation has been in chronically low paying industries. Raise the minimum wage and that number will decrease. Encourage the hiring of full time workers and that number will decrease. That number has been rising for at least two decades, by the way. I volunteer at a food pantry and I would guess that close to 75% of our clients work, but still need help making ends meet. I often hear complaints about their jobs not giving them enough hours or being inconsistent with hours provided. Of the other 25% only about 5% are unemployed, the rest are elderly or disabled.

    Home ownership–has fallen since 2008 (remember the housing crisis?), but has continually risen since then, though only marginally. FWIW, rising consumer debt levels (particularly student loan debt) play into this as much as governmental fiscal policy.

    Your third point is a semantics point. My bigger concern is what do they have on him and/or his family that could be detrimental. Possibly nothing, possibly a lot. Time, I guess, will tell.

    I live in Dallas, I’m quite well aware of how Obama feels about LEOs. He is also one of the few sitting presidents who made routine (monthly at least) to military hospitals to visit wounded warriors. These visits were only recently publicized, they were not photo ops. I’m sure you will point out the broken VA system….my husband worked in a VA hospital from 1998-2001 and for a hospital system that included a VA hospital from 2001-2008. The system was broken then, it was broken for decades before and as long as it remains a bureacratic institution it will remain broken. I got the distinct impression from Trump’s news conference that he plans on moving towards privatization. That is honestly the best hope for the VA system. I hope he has success here because our veterans deserve quality medical care.

    It’s easy to couch hurtful comments as teasing, but that really only works if I know you well enough to “get” that humor. Otherwise being called a kumbaya peep works about as well as when someone with more liberal leanings calls someone more conservative a wackjob. I’m sure you don’t want to be called names anymore than anyone else does. Respect is a two way street after all.

    • Thank you Marianna . . . a respectful, articulate, measured, and kind contribution to the discussion. This exceptionally divisive election has unearthed and brought to light many issues that need to be addressed as we move forward together. It’s vitally important to write and speak carefully because words matter.

      Thank you.

    • Mary Elisabeth Stevens says:

      What an incredibly articulate, intelligent – and respectful response.

  138. Thank you for this post, Katrina.

  139. I am just reading this post now, on Inauguration eve. Earlier today I was contemplating that tomorrow would be the beginning of the end. Now, I am heartened that this too shall pass and we of like mind can be bigger than our own fear by doing more, doing extra. Give more than we take, leave no trace, pay it forward. Love conquers all. Thank you, Katrina.

  140. I marched yesterday along with 5,000 others in my hometown in NC. This morning I sit reflecting and come across a text my sister sent with your blog attached. Thank you for bringing it all together so beautifully. It was said yesterday, “It’s time to take the handkerchief we’ve been using to dry our tears and use it to wipe the sweat from our brow.” There’s work to be done.

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