We’ve all really been through it this year.
I don’t know how anyone can endure the twin stressors of a pandemic and a particularly fraught and consequential presidential election and rise above it to be your best self.
Regardless of your political persuasion, and I know there are plenty of people who read this blog that don’t share mine, I hope that we all can agree that the result of this election is an opportunity to at least lower the temperature (hopefully literally), whatever our differences.
Personally, I didn’t realize the extent of the breaths I had been holding until I emerged on Saturday afternoon feeling like my lungs were full of clear, cool air. I didn’t realize how precariously my emotions were balanced on a knife edge until I heard the cheers and horns erupting spontaneously in Brooklyn well into the night, and saw people dancing deliriously in the streets.
I would prefer to feel the relief of a surer and more total victory against the cruelty that has animated this moment in history. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to learn that merely staving off sheer terror is what really gets people dancing with unbridled joy.
I’m completely exhausted and wrung out by this year. I feel like every nerve in my body has been carved up with a paring knife and I barely have it in me to write this post today.
But for the first time all year I can feel glimmers of hope. The sky is still very dark and nothing is guaranteed, but the faintest light has emerged on the horizon.
Some that we lost this year can never be retrieved. Some losses are incalculable. Some people are still trying to merely survive.
But if you’re like me and many of my friends and loved ones, this year has also been like a hurricane that has broken off many of the weak branches in our lives. We’ve shed much of what’s extraneous or unfruitful and have shrunken down to what’s truly necessary and sustainable.
When we emerge, and we will eventually, it will be with a new understanding of what’s truly important and meaningful to us. A lot of our personal detritus has been swept out to sea. I’m excited to write and live as the changed person I am after this year.
The headline of this post is intentional. I know full well the storm’s not over. But for the first time in a very long time I can imagine the world that will exist after it passes.
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Art: Albert Bierstadt – Thunderstorm in the Rocky Mountains
Ann Goldberg says
Cinthia Ritchie says
I keep hearing that song from “The Wizard of Oz” playing in my head, the one that goes something like, “You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, step into the light.” It’s a really stupid song (and sorry if it’s now playing in your head, lol), but I love the idea that we’re all stepping out toward a lighter future–yipppeee!! P.S. Really nice post.
I feel especially giddy every time I see the president-elect tweet about what will be different or a plan he has. A real taskforce! A cabinet with actual expertise!
Someday we will go to restaurants again and we will have ravioli and a goat cheese sprinkled salad and a lemon drop or goblet of pinot noir and there will be loud conversations (none of them starting with “can you believe?”) and little candles and lipstick stains on glasses and we will laugh too much and our faces will get red and we will be giddy as we race to the car bracing ourselves against the cold Iowa winter wind.
Nancy Thompson says
Perfect! You’ve managed to condense everything into one short, concise, and truthful post. And Pfizer announced they have a working vaccine that’s 90% effective. I finally feel like I might be happy again!
Sharon Bonin-Pratt (Shari) says
Thoughtfully written, Nathan. I’ve been balancing on the edge of a blade – now I’ve found a sure footing. Thank you.
Mary K. Lavin says
Beautiful writing. So succinct but captured everything. Didn’t even realize I was carrying such a heavy stone until it lifted on Saturday and a lightness happened.
Diane N. Black says
I was so happy after the news that Joe Biden had won the presidency. Since then, I’ve seen things that brought me back to the Texas town reality I live in. Ten miles down the road there was a “Trump Rally” yesterday. (Uh, this is November 9th!) And I don’t know anyone — not kidding — who isn’t a Trump supporter AND expecting him to take the presidency from Biden. WHAT??? I was stunned tonight when I heard the local news lean toward the idea of fraud in the election. Still… I was holding up fine — or so I thought — until I heard that Trump fired Mark Esper, the U.S. Secretary of Defense. When I heard Esper say, “God help us all.” that was all I could take. I’m undone tonight. I’m moving to Dallas as soon as Covid permits! And along with Esper I’ll say: God help us all.
Yep, it’s getting kinda scary again. We had a good couple days. Resist!
Diane Black says
Sorry to be a bummer.
It’s okay. Emotional rollercoasters. I’m going to keep reading Biden tweets and Kamala tweets and watch John Oliver and remember all the dancing. Oh, and laughing about Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
There are more of us carrying the fire!
Nathan Bransford says
I chose my words carefully, I know this isn’t over and we can never predict the future. But I think we need to mark and remember the feeling because it could help guide us through what is still to come.
Danielle de Valera says
Amen to every word, Nathan. And I’m over here in Australia. I can’t imagine what you all went through.
John Levins says
Great post, Nathan, and I feel the same emotions! There are rocky roads ahead but at least there’s a road to guide us out of the chaos.
Michael Marino says
Good post, Nathan. We have hope… that we can fix what’s going on; that we can be constructive; that we can endure. Hope is the ink in our pens.
Cindy Steidlmayer says
Nathan, your Mom had forwarded your blog site to me. Leo and I both enjoyed reading this post. You shared our thoughts and emotions , but expressed them so much more eloquently than we could have. You’re right, we were able to at least take a long overdue breath of relief, but now we have to once again gear up as we try to deal with all the bogus lawsuits that are being thrown at us ( our nation, that is). It is shameful that the leader of our nation can’t accept loss graciously. It is exhausting to follow someone constantly undermining the integrity of our elections.
Continue to share your words. We appreciate your thoughts.