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May 2018
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Study in Contrasts

I’m living an emotional tug-of-war.

We’ve just received the bulk shipment of RAM books and I’ve been organizing to place the bulk order for Schlock t-shirts. The shirts are likely to arrive before all of the RAM shipping is complete. Also, I’m nearing the very end of set up on our new storefront. Today I sent some test shoppers through to make sure that every step of the purchasing and delivery process is working smoothly. All of these things are invigorating and engage my brain in ways that, while making me physically tired, are sort of fun. My brain likes organizing.

Across the same days I’ve had multiple communications with school personnel, discussions with my two kids and made decisions about which classes they’re going to go ahead and fail because trying to pull out a last-minute grades rescue is not going to happen this time. If I were willing to devote a pile of energy to it, maybe we could un-fail the classes. But I have all those shipping and organization things that need my attention. Also, we’ve done the last-minute-crunch-to-un-fail-classes three times now. And we still end up in the same place. It is time to do something different. And in this case, that means home school will be continuing into June until all the requisite credits are made up. There are few things more wearying than sitting with one of my kids while we are both frustrated that the kid can’t seem to do the things that the educational system believes all kids can handle.

Interested and anticipatory vs weary and discouraged. Both states exist in my head these days.

On top of that, I look at the society and communities around me, church, city, neighborhood, state, national. Everywhere I look, I’m seeing shifts. Things (both good and bad) are normal now that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. I keep thinking about the saying that the flap of a butterfly’s wing can affect the weather half a year and half a world away. That feels true to me. Small changes in trajectory can change a destination entirely. And everywhere I look, there are butterflies flapping away. In just the past two months my church has made some changes that will have significant cultural impact. The community I depend on as a safety net and security is going to change. No one is quite sure how yet. The visions for what intended are lovely, but intention meets human nature and sometimes twists around. I’m optimistic, because I know the good hearts of the people around me. We’ll band together and make it work.

I try to hold the same optimism for political and legislative changes. I’m quite afraid of the consequences of decisions being made at every level. There is a sales tax decision pending in the supreme court which could have huge financial implications for me personally. My healthcare premium is crushingly huge and I don’t see any legislators taking steps to fix the broken system. Net neutrality may vanish in just a month. Headlines are full of posturing politicians, racism, massive investigations, and violence. Decisions are being made that could lead to war or could tank the economy. It all feels chaotic and fraught, so much so that I’ve pulled back from engaging with it. I’m not communicating with legislators as I was six or eight months ago.

All of these swirl in my head.

And on the same days as all of that, our kitten is cute. A pair of quail visit our bird feeder. I spend and evening out walking with my daughter. We collaborate with a neighbor to repair a broken fence. The weather has warmed and lilacs are in bloom.

Life does not sort itself neatly. Yet when I really look at all I wrote I realize most of the bad stuff is expressed as anxieties for what might happen. Today has more goodness in it than bad. People have more goodness in them than bad.

I’m not truly certain what I’m trying to say here. I don’t have a conclusion, just a record of all the things happening at once. And butterflies everywhere.

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