Times of Trouble

Written on 03/15/2020
Jeane George Weigel

Photo: L. Sebastian

“… we somehow keep coming through unsurvivable loss, the stress of never knowing how things will shake down, to the biggest miracle of all, that against all odds, we come through the end of the world, again and again — changed but intact (more or less)… Insofar as I have any idea of “the truth,” I believe this to be as true as gravity and grace.” Anne Lamott, Stitches

A friend sent this to me via the wonderful blog, brainpickings.org, written by Maria Popova. She sent it because I needed to be lifted up and, for me, few writers in the world can do that more perfectly than Anne Lamott.

Anne says this: “You were born as energy, as life, made of the same stuff as stars, blossoms, breezes.” Now that, alone, lifts me, because I feel its truth. And I feel its power.

Our world is changing right now in real time, right before our eyes. We’re rightfully frightened and our federal government is failing us. However, individuals, states, governors, mayors, are stepping up. Because this president cannot lead, mercifully, others are now taking the reigns. We will come through this.

In the midst of this otherworldly time we find ourselves in, I lost my dearest dog, Finny, this week. He was very old and his body simply finished. But just two days before he was gone, he was running in the canyon. So I really couldn’t have asked for much more for him.

I bring him up because I think he has lessons for all of us during these times of trouble.

Finny came to me in his later life. I was never sure how old he was, but he was at death’s door. He’d been abused and neglected, was full of two sizes of buckshot (meaning he’d been shot at least two different times). He had a 22 caliber bullet lodged in his shoulder, a broken hip and was starved nearly to death.

But this dog knew how to forgive. And he knew how to embrace what was good about life.

Anne Lamott says, “It can be healthy to hate what life has given you, and to insist on being a big mess for a while. This takes great courage. But then, at some point, the better of two choices is to get back up on your feet and live again.”

Finn did this and he reaped the benefits of a love and home he’d never known because of it. Because he was able to let the harm go, he lived an extraordinary dog’s life.

He was free to run the fields and the canyon. He chased coyotes and kept his homestead safe. He was never again chained. He had a woodstove and jammies and soft blankets and as much good, warm food as his body needed.

It always amazed me that Finn still had a love of people after all they’d done to him. He still trusted. He believed. Anne says, “… we do endure, and … out of the wreckage something surprising will rise.”

This is the time for us to pull together as a people, as a nation, as a world. We must find the grace to forgive, to set aside our differences, our politics. We must stand strong together and we will find the path that endures. It is a hope, only, that this virus will pass and it will leave us changed. Perhaps we’ll be kinder. Maybe our government will work again because our leaders will have learned to talk to each other and be reasonable.

And this one last thought from Anne, “The world is always going to be dangerous, and people get badly banged up, but how can there be more meaning than helping one another stand up in a wind and stay warm?”

Rest in peace my sweetest boy

Love to you all,