I walked an extra ten minutes on the treadmill. I stared into space the whole time, never turning on any sound from my phone though the ear buds remained in my ears, silent. I tried praying repeating Hail Marys, Lords Prayers, Serenity prayers, and my own favorite, “help me, help me, help me. None worked. None brought peace and none dabbed my tears. I bit my lip and kept on walking. One mile. Two miles. No matter. I’ve done so much begging over these past few weeks, what’s a little more?
I have dreaded this day since November 8, 2016 when the die was cast and the craziest, cruelest, likely dumbest candidate won the electoral vote making him the president-elect and revolting. I will never forget that sunny day in October when I was part of a flash mob dancing to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” with great hope and complete confidence and no doubt in the world that this inauguration day would be a celebration of so many victories for Americans of all kinds.
Recently, the Episcopal church of which I am a member decided to send their choir to sing at this abysmal inauguration. I posted my letters and opinions on National Cathedral sites, on church Facebook pages and finally a post to the presiding bishop whom I have known personally. “Please, please don’t allow this endorsement and approval of an official who could not be more opposite what the Episcopal church stands for. Please, please, please.” That is begging for sure. My shame has dissolved.
I know that I am expected to avoid watching the ceremonies but I cannot do that. I have been a D.C. junkie and political wannabee my whole life. I am unable to not watch the pomp and circumstance and utter pageantry of the changing of the guard at the same time as it is making me ill to watch. I am filled with tears at each glimpse of the Obamas who I love, adore and will respect forever. I will regret not having been in politics until my last day. Seeing Hilary’s face is unimaginable to absorb. Watching 92 year old Jimmy Carter saunter in, brain cancer and all looking like he is maybe 60 years old is a sight to see. For all the disturbing sights like Melania trying to emulate Jackie Kennedy, Mitch McConnell trying to look honest, Mike Pence taking in a sight he doesn’t even deserve to see. I could go on, but the worst sight of all is the abhorrent rock star who is convinced this is a coronation. There are no words.
With all the dread I had and the anxiety that kept me up night after night thinking in my warped perspective that I might have some control, there was even more going on in my own household that took my already broken heart and chipped away at it a little more. I have lived through the raising of three older sons and it was full of heartbreaking challenges that left their mark on me forever. But, the raising of the last two sons, the 18-year old twins may break me for good. I can’t seem to see the light past this darkness. They are angry and sullen and barely speak to me. One is missing almost as much school as he attends, failing subjects, and hanging out in a firehouse more than in his own house. He was the one determined to be a marine on the front lines. That one sentence was more than enough to bring me down. He’s since switched to fire fighting so go figure. But, He couldn’t hate me more and today he declared that he will no longer come home. He has 38 cents in his bank account, so that will be a stretch. My home however, will not be used as a hotel so I suppose we are in a standoff.
And the other twin. Sigh. He had a future. He never worked hard in school, but he did show up, he did pass, and he did get into a decent college in early admissions. However, he has become determined to enlist in the Army and meets regularly with a recruiter who has most effectively brainwashed him. He spews the rhetoric precisely and there is no talking him out of this decision and it scares me to death and beyond. On one night in my most desperate moment, I reached out to him in tears saying, “Please, please don’t do this. I need to tell you that I cannot lose another son. I simply cannot do it. If I lose you, I will not stick around either. You need to know that.” I hate my self for saying that. It’s a low ball. Sickeningly desperate.
It is a desperate and sad day. I’m still trying to pray. For my country, for those who will suffer more than they ever have, for my sons who are headed into murky, muddy waters full of crocodiles that snap when taunted, for my heart that it might continue to beat in a more regular pace and continue to learn to forgive, to tolerate, to sustain, to accept the things I cannot change, for the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.