Faithful readers will have to forgive me if my meandering effort today features a phrase or quote I’ve used once or a half dozen times before. I’ve been in a sort of emotional and psychological turn-style these last few days. Not about things in particular – but about life, then (whenever that was) and now (whatever that is).
Column ideas come to me all sorts of ways and manners. Sometimes their seeds germinate early, and I let them grow like a vine, its tendrils clinging to random conversations and experiences throughout the week until I actually sit down to tap the keyboard and words spring onto the screen. Sometimes an idea doesn’t come, but the deadline looms large, so I grasp.
I’ve been writing a weekly column for nearly 20 years now – for the last four years, I’ve written at least two columns a week. I have complete faith that the words will come. It’s not pretty, but the well hasn’t gone dry – yet. Eventually I get there and I don’t know a writer who doesn’t share the notion that there is an odd irony; the columns that take the most work, that are true labors of love, don’t seem to be nearly as widely read or appreciated as those that are absolute, fly-by-the-seat of-my-pants, deadline-killing pieces.
Why is that?
I can’t begin to explain.
I came across a Facebook meme Saturday morning that I had shared a year ago. It was a calming answer I needed to find and read. Again. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m sharing it here, now, with you.
“When the world feels too loud, we must be quiet. When the world feels too violent, we must be peaceful. When the world seems evil, we must be good. The harder life is the softer I must become.”
What’s been bothering me a lot, lately, is the world at large. I’m more afraid than I should be. But truthfully, one of my fears is that I am not afraid enough. My what-ifs run the gamut from the possibility of World War III to lesser very petty stuff.
What if our political hates and social media sniping really divide us into fragments of a society incapable of progress? What if hate wins and we lose our humanity?
Faithful readers know I am not and never have been a Trump supporter. When he became president, I did a “mea culpa” and acknowledged he had been elected. The United States is my country, a land I love and am a patriot of, and Mr. Trump is the president.
I didn’t like his behavior before he took office. I haven’t liked it since. But I have been fortunate in that little he’s done or said has affected my life or how I treat others. If anything, I am more conscious of who I am and the kind of person I want to be. I’m more giving, more caring, more considerate. I’ve studied not just what makes people different, but what makes us the same and I look for that bond.
Still, I find myself aggravated with questions of “Why can’t we just…?” You know. Just get along? Just be kind? Listen as much as we talk? Lift up as much as we shame?
If we’re going to call ourselves Christian, let’s be Christian and not judge one another; consider for a moment what we would want if our roles were reversed.
All this is to say, I am weary of the sniping. Whether or not a president calls a family whose loved one has been killed in military service to our country is not going to diminish in any way, shape or form the magnitude of that family’s loss. A president paying a visit to a disaster-ravaged part of our country is not going to help with the cleanup and put back together the place those affected called home.
All of us – including the president – should be more respectful toward each other. Mr. Trump appears awkward and clumsy with basic social skills. My take is in his privileged upbringing, he didn’t need to develop empathy, which has worked out to be a genuine misfortune for him. It might be easier if he would accept that personality flaw and move on to the important focus of leading the country.
Haters are going to hate. But it doesn’t say anywhere, any place that any of us could or should be haters.
“When the world seems evil, we must be good.”
Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.