There’s not much that I know and I don’t always know what I believe but there is one thing that I do know and believe in my heart and that is that there is duality in life. For everything that is good, there is everything that is bad. For all the sad, there is happy. In order to know light we need to know the dark. In order to know freedom we must know oppression. In order to know a democracy we must know a dictatorship. In order to understand the importance of love, we have to look hate in the eye. To appreciate gliding on smooth, glass-like waters, you must tumble and toss and roll in waves that make your stomach turn.
I’ve always known this and felt this but today I feel it exceptionally. Whenever I think to myself that things are not great with my daughter, all I have to do is look back to when they were absolutely terrible to understand the reality. To really know that terrible place is to also know what is NOT the terrible place. There are varying levels of each but it is the extremes that help me find perspective. Each set back could knock me off of my feet but I have that really awful and dark place to check myself and bring me back to my center. It is in those dark, awful, terrifying, knock-you-off-your-feet times that you learn the skills you need to face those times again. How to use your resources, pick yourself back up again, fight with ever fiber of your being, hold onto the goodness. Because those times will come and they will come at you with little to no warning. It is in those moments when everything is sunny and warm and quiet that you learn how to recharge and how to hold onto the light even when it seems it has gone out.
This is where I am now with the state of affairs in the world as well, not just with my daughter. When I was a child we were in the midst of the cold war and the movie “The Day After” came out. Do any of you remember this movie? It starred Jason Robards and Steve Guttenberg and it was about a nuclear war and all of the horrors that came along with it. It terrified me. Parents were actually encouraged to let kids watch this with them to discuss the atrocities of nuclear war. I didn’t sleep for months. I came up with plans in my 12 year old brain on how I would build a bunker that was safe from a nuclear winter. Every day I looked to the sky thinking that a bomb was going to drop from the sky and we would all be vaporized. I look back now and think maybe I was being melodramatic but for any of us that were around at that time we know the fear was palpable. We knew that the world hinged on the edge of destruction and that one wrong move could end in disaster. We came through it obviously and we have been relatively stable for quite a long period of time since. We’ve seen Republican and Democrat Presidents come and go but our country has not teetered on the edge of disaster in a good long while. I’ve been able to sleep. Until now. But now, unlike then, I am older and I have learned that instability will eventually lead back to stability. That we can be shaken but we do not need to live in fear because we know there is another side. I am holding onto this with every ounce of me in this new era of unknowns. In the end I know that I and we as a country can weather the dark times because we are capable of good. I see the beautiful in the midst of the ugly everywhere. I see people coming together for each other regardless of differences to fight for humanity. I see scientists and ecologists and climatologists go “rogue” and come together for the sake of our planet. I see children standing up and fighting their little hearts out for what they know is right. I see girls and women empowered and strong and pushing forward in the face of misogyny and sexism. I see love in the middle of the hateful rhetoric. And in my mind love and good will always win no matter how hard the battle or how many losses we face. It’s why I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy 145 times. It’s summed up in what Sam Gamgee says “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”
I am thankful for the duality. Sometimes. But I’d like to sleep again.