Some random thoughts pushed into one:
My therapist mentioned several weeks ago that if you are engaged in work for social justice, equality, et al and truly expect that you will "fix" whatever problem or situation you are working against, then you will not only be sorely disappointed, you will be bad at your job. This got me thinking about one of my big issues, namely that I have gotten so cynical over the past 8 years I can barely stand myself, and so prickly that I probably shouldn't fight the good fight anymore even if I had the energy, which I maintain I do not. I do not doubt that wanting to fix the world, and suddenly being slammed up against the realizations that not only could I not fix the world, but that most people don't really want the world to be fixed, contributed to this greatly. I was thinking about this yesterday morning, watching the Obama speech. He's not going to fix everything, and probably people will get mad at him for it. But there's nothing to fix. It is an imperfect world. But just because it is imperfect doesn't mean we shouldn't want it to be better, or that we shouldn't strive to live as though it is at the very least worth saving.
I've said several times over the last day and a half that if Obama does nothing but bring a modicum of compassion back into our national politics, I for one will consider him a resounding success. Whether I lost my compassion along with the country, or whether the loss of compassion in the country made me lose hope... who knows? I would not have called myself an Obama supporter, and maintained throughout that I would have preferred Hillary. I guess I drank the Kool-Aid though, because I no longer believe that Hillary could have won. She certainly would not have been able to give the sort of speech PEO (I'm going to call him PEO from now on, you heard it here first) gave yesterday, and I probably would not be sitting here contemplating what I can do for my country. Something has changed, at least in me. I feel willing to give the whole living thing another go, with fewer battlements to hide behind.
I am going to be running in a memorial race next month for a guy I went to high school with. I went on two summer ministry trips with him, and after the second, which ended right before senior year, I made a mix tape for all of the participants, all of whom I felt very close to at that point and throughout the next year. I used to do that a lot, make tapes for people (who didn't?), and I used to listen to and appreciate music more; I let music affect me emotionally much more. I'm thinking I should make myself a PEO playlist, that I can have as my ipod mantra, to call upon as a reminder that things aren't really that bad, and things can change. For a few weeks I've been thinking about REM's song "These Days," and how I'd play it if PEO was, in fact, PE today. REM apparently thought "I Believe" was more apropos to the moment, but since it's off the same album (my first and favorite REM of all time) I'll forgive them. If you don't have it, I'll burn you a copy. Along with my PEO mix.