I sit here this Sunday and have more questions than answers as my mind drifts to a variety of topics.
Last night’s free outdoor concert by the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra at the Lake Harriet Band Shell provided many, like me, with a chance to enjoy a break in the oppressive heat that has strangled the country this July. The music, as always, lifted the soul, and conductor Jere Lantz wondered aloud (as he looked at the packed house, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobachar) why people question the need for funding for the arts. Indeed, the concert was paid for in part by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, funded by Minnesota voters in 2008 to help preserve Minnesota’s strong legacy to the arts. I sat and wondered, how is it that my state could choose to do something for the humanities in 2008 and then in 2010 elect a state legislature hell-bent on destroying life in Minnesota as we have known it for generations?
I watch the debacle of the debt ceiling playing out in Washington and I want to run. I want to scream at the television commentators, the politicians and yes the president. Don’t you all know that people are suffering everyday in the real world? How is it that the theater of what all of this is trumps the human suffering that goes on daily? How can you all be so blind to it? How have we as a nation come to this point? What is my part in all of this?
My youngest daughter started her first professional job in Chicago this past week. It is her time to put her talents and gifts in the world. Her eagerness and enthusiasm are infectious. The search for an entry-level professional job (after an honors degree from one of the top universities in the country) was long and painful. Why was that? How and why have we offshored and outsoured almost everything? Did we forget that we needed jobs here to keep our country and its people working? For all the joy I feel for her accomplishment, I wonder, what about all the thousands of other young graduates and adults? What awaits them?
The massacre in Norway. How can one even begin to get their arms around the pain that parents and families are suffering? Is a mother’s tears and pain in Norway any different from a mother’s suffering in Baghdad or Afghanistan? The interconnectedness of all human beings is always brought home to me when I watch pain and suffering throughout the world.
Mostly I sit today holding on to the handful of truths that I know: Every day is gift. We are guaranteed nothing but this day. Light is stronger than darkness. My “relational matrix” and relationships are blessings. There is much good left in this world. I am also reminded of what author and activist Parker Palmer calls the “tragic gap” in which much of our lives are led. In its simplest form, the tragic gap can be described as “the gap between what’s really going on around us, the hard conditions in which our lives are currently immersed, and what we know to be possible from our own experience.”
More on Parker Palmer and his new book in my next blog. For tonight, I am grateful for a heat wave that has subsided for one day, the glorious sunset and the knowledge that a new day begins tomorrow.