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13 Dec
2016

The Season of Sharing or the Season of Taking Back?

“What matters nowSeason of Sharing or Season of Taking Back

in these dimmer days

when gloom and doom

conversations occupy the tables

in every corner of concern?…”

(From: What Matters Now by Minx Boren)

It is the “season of sharing” and the “season of hope.” Hope for peace and a better future. Yet, I find myself, like many of those around me experiencing these as days of “gloom and doom.” This year of blame, name calling, fabricated lies and divisiveness is coming to an end. I would like to feel optimistic and confident about next year, about our future. But it is hard.

In the research for my novel based on the lives of my grandparents, I was inspired by the grit and determination of the pioneer homesteaders who lived in lonely isolation on the prairie, daring to find hope, support and community. They held values of generosity and sharing, even among those with very little themselves like my grandparents. Giving to those most needy was a common practice. For homesteaders who often lived miles from their nearest neighbors, Christmas was a time of sharing and  gathering in community. I imagine my grandparents and their children dressed in their “Sunday best” traveling by horse and wagon or by sleigh to visit with neighbors. Perhaps they gathered at the small community church to meet for religious services, share potluck meals and sing carols around a piano or accompanied by a guitar or a banjo.

This is our heritage of the “season of sharing,” remembering those less fortunate and sharing what we have in community. In the analysis of the election results, we are hearing that the messages which tapped into hunger and nostalgia for our past were successful. Minx Boren captures some of the longing in the next stanza of her poem…

“What counts now

when countless folk

feel harried and hungry

for the richness of more

fulfilling times

when gold stars of hope

are needed to illuminate

their heavens and give weight to

their wishes?…”

baby-203048_640Unfortunately, that nostalgia reflected in the election results is for a past where the “richness of more fulfilling times” offered narrow benefits primarily to the privileged who were mostly white and male. Many of us do not want to return to that past. We believe in the advancement of our human rights and we appreciate our health care and our creature comforts. I have no nostalgia for my grandparents’ life in an underground dugout, traveling by horse and wagon and suffering illness and the early death of loved ones. However, I do find myself longing for the prairie heritage of community, willingness to share and to offer freely given support to those in need. That heritage contrasts with the individualism, meanness and greed… what seems to me to be the “season of taking back.” Looking for the “gold stars of hope,” described in Boren’s poem, is very challenging as I listen to the pronouncements of our new President and the appointments he is making to his cabinet.

He is taking back hope, dreams, protection, human rights and probably jobs, too. No wonder we are discouraged and dismayed by what this picture of the future suggests. However, I believe that we must not succumb to numbness, depression and despair that will keep us from envisioning the opportunities of what a brighter future could be. We must not normalize greed, meanness and bigotry. The future I want for us is a future that requires us to get involved, take action, build community, keep the vulnerable safe, speak up for individual rights and in the spirit of giving, be as generous of heart, soul and material goods as we can be. Boren says it well.

203109085159854.qYotWm8aebebBJhG5fmT_height640“…What matters and what counts

are imagination and inspiration…

and a roll up our sleeves movement

of such magnitude that the future

can hear us coming

with our heads held high

above the cloudy predictions

and our knap sacks filled with

our gumption and our grit

our gifts and our gratitudes –

the building blocks of new

cornerstones of possibility.”

Let’s create our brighter future!

(Poem excerpts from What Matters Now by Minx Boren, poet and author.)

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3 Comments

  • Happy Holidays, Bev!

    Thank you for sharing your heart’s earnest strivings and how we can embrace our present, while honoring our heritage and the enduring qualities, exemplified in your grandparents and those of their day, in order to imagine and co-create the future our souls and hearts knows is possible, one that works for all and embraces all.

    May this season and New Year reveal the blessings and benefits in everything.

    Big hugs, Claudia

    • Thanks, Claudia,
      Here is to our desired future!

      Bev

  • (Note: posted with permission from Catherine Madden, who wrote this comment to me)
    Thanks so much, Bev, for taking time to share your thoughts about this season of sharing. I love the ways in which you weave the story of your grandparents and other homesteaders into your reflection. I had not read Minx Boren before and am touched by the ways in which s/he is able to tune into the mood of today. Makes me want to be part of the “roll up our sleeves movement so others can hear us and see our heads held high” in spite of all that we see in the daily news. The news of what happened with uncounted votes in MI and also the stymming of a recount….makes me fear even more for what is coming in these next years.

    As Boren writes so well, We will for sure need to have our “knap sacks filled with our gumption and our grit, our gifts and our gratitudes” – as we work to life up new possibilities.

So, what do you think?

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