Breath Again

Of this I am certain, some people have souls and are filled with hope and good intentions while others are empty vessels, bereft of goodness, living in a dry and lifeless desert dead end.

For too long I have been focusing way too much energy on those who live in the desert and I have been in that desert, moving closer to getting sucked into that same kind of lifeless existence, that is the true nature of the damage wrought over the last four years. It has been an insidious loss of hope, trust and wonder, a world that has been systematically filled with anger, hatred and sadness but perhaps it had to be so painful so that I could return to a world where the sun shines, perhaps that was the crack that lets the light in.

It will take a while to purge the poison out of my system but my immune system remains strong. I was like the victim of domestic violence who sees no way out and instead simply tries to avoid the assaults, hoping the next attack won’t be deadly. Well I am no longer a victim. Even the Proud Boys dissed Trump so maybe we can all just get along or not, but I won’t let it get in my way any longer. For too long, I felt powerless. No more, I really don’t have the time to waste.

Dare I sound naive and childlike, Joe Biden is a person with a soul, utterly unlike his predecessor. Biden is not god, he is human and he has flaws but he is at his base, a good man, something in fatally short supply in recent times.

I listened to President Biden’s inaugural address and I was reminded and it is sad that I had to be reminded, of the fact that there are good people who want to make the country and the world a better place. Biden’s words were uplifting while still firmly rooted to reality and they were hopeful though realistic to the obstacles ahead. His humility was like oxygen to a dying man.

It has been so long since such words have been heard from on high and for too long, such words have been criticized as being brazenly political or just pious words of a fool, signs of weakness and surrender. Nothing could be further from the truth and that central cynicism of the past four years has to be jettisoned if we are to make progress.

I have never been accused of being a pie in the sky optimist but that doesn’t mean that I can’t see goodness and honesty. It’s just been such a long, long time since I saw those traits. Those words seemed so trite as if sarcasm and fatalism are the only honest ways to see the world. I am guilty of succumbing to the onslaught of negativity but, like the addict in recovery, who is a slave to poison, I am trying to get better.

The idea of trust in our leaders makes me nervous, very nervous, because I have been deceived so many times by people I thought I could trust. I don’t want to let my guard down out of fear that again, I will be sucker punched and hurt by my own hopes. That may be a symptom of my own general mistrust which were planted with seeds when I was younger. Whether it is a projection of my own mistrust or not, the reality is that we have too often been led by people whose motives were totally selfish and had nothing to do with our betterment and who offered false promises they never meant to keep. Just saying those words makes me feel like an innocent child, that is how jaded I have become and I have to fight the urge to lash out and get down in the hole where the lifeless live.

I desperately want to believe that I live in a country that wants to treat all of its people with concern, with compassion and a country that strives to improve all of our lives and face the obstacles honestly and bravely. I’m afraid that this may be our last, best hope for a future in which we are not afraid to bring new babies into the world. I am hopeful because I have known many people with souls and I believe they outnumber the others who would tear us all apart simply out of jealousy and hatred and ignorance.

I want to laugh again, I want to wake up in the morning hopeful and not filled with dread over the latest bludgeoning, I want to smile at people in the ShopRite and I want to hear people without jumping down their throats in disagreement. But I am not foolish enough to believe that the forces of evil have vanished or that they have somehow lost their rage, angry, misplaced energy and that they are no longer waiting to attack, like the cobra.

I saw how Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, didn’t waste any time when he got all over President Biden for re-signing the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement. Cruz, smart because he has an Ivy League degree, said the accords will only help Parisians and will take away American jobs. How ignorant is Cruz? How calculating and deceiving is Cruz? Very and very and very. So yes, there are many like Cruz chaffing at the bit for the chance to undermine and destroy President Biden.

Just like the sign that was formerly nailed to a tree off Route 46 calling for Trump 2020. That sign was removed and has been replaced with one calling for Biden’s impeachment.

Cruz and you who posted that sign are not my reality anymore and I won’t allow you the space in my brain where I plan instead to cultivate hope and positivity. So you who are so filled with hate, you can continue doing what you are doing as you dig your own graves fertilized by your hatred, bigotry and misinformation. This time I am ready and I will not be defeated and I know there are so many here among us who feel as I do.


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