Shining Your Light in a Time of Darkness
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving. By now, the dishes have been washed, the leftovers consumed, relatives have returned home, and the turkey carcass relegated to either the trash bin or the stock pot. We as a nation have eaten, shopped, eaten, napped, eaten, watched football, eaten, binged on Netflix, and eaten again.
Many of us spent the holiday with friends or family members who are Trump supporters. Some of us avoided seeing or speaking to those family members who are Trump supporters and made alternative holiday plans, possibly with a cup of tea and a book. Several of us used the Thanksgiving break to recharge the batteries and focus on the positive aspects of life away from the endless cycle of bad news. Still others went through the motions of cleaning, baking pies, welcoming friends and family members whilst simultaneously mourning holidays past and dreading the future.
For all of us, this holiday season is one darkened by fear.
Fear of war. Fear that we will have to choose between feeding our family and paying for medical care. Fear that hatred and bigotry has overpowered our guiding principals of truth and justice. Fear that we will lose our basic human rights. Fear that our childrens’ lives will be far more difficult than ours.
As we march toward December and the new year beyond, it seems almost counterintuitive, and perhaps painfully difficult, to participate in the myriad of celebrations and traditions surrounding the winter solstice.
Yet what are these holidays and celebrations about, but to shine a ray of light during the bleakest part of the year?
When Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday on October 3, 1863, the United States was plunged in the middle of a war that divided the nation and would eventually result in the death of over 600,000 soldiers.
However, at that moment when the American experiment was most imperilled, when the majority of its citizens were suffering, President Abraham Lincoln saw fit to call upon the nation to celebrate a day of thanks.
One can only speculate as to Lincoln’s reasons for such a proclamation, but perhaps its because when we look outside ourselves to express gratitude and hope, that we are most empowered. By taking time to focus on the beauty in the world, we appreciate our place in it and understand what really matters.
This year, as our nation is again imperilled, we cannot look to those in Washington to provide hope, succour, and guidance. We must provide it ourselves.
If we, as the Resistance, are to preserve the principles on which our country was founded, we need to embrace people of all colours and faiths who are as American as each other. We need to honour the courage of those who, throughout our history, have sought to address our flaws and failures by appealing to our strengths and ideals and, in doing so, have built a better union. We need to understand our roles as citizens of, not just America, but the world. And we especially need to celebrate the love and comfort we can bring to one another, no matter our differences, even in our darkest hours.
This kindness extends to our own lives as well.
The road of Resistance is a long one. Even if the current administration is defeated, there will be much work to do to heal divisions, restore justice, and repair the damage already wrought.
On this road, it is important for all of us to carve out some time to celebrate those things we’re fighting to protect. So, play some board games with your kids. Get outside for a walk in the snow. Eat some cookies. Snuggle with your partner/cat/dog. Watch your favourite holiday film. Sleep in under your cosiest blanket. Or do nothing at all.
We at Nasty Women Press will still be here when you get back.
Amy Patricia Meade