I once worked with a CEO who had this as his motto. I never did much appreciate it until recently, as the 2016 election unfolded with unknown consequences. I have been silent for a couple of weeks, because I don’t trust my tongue. I don’t trust the news any more. Despairing? Off an on. Ranger has been working overtime as I pour out the angst of this unknown, almost surreal, time.
Ranger: “May I remind you, however, that you have survived the breaking of your personal systems, so why would you not believe that you are very prepared to survive this bigger upheaval?”
Me: “Huh? How can you compare my personal stuff with this election?”
Ranger: “Very easily. Everything you signed up for: a traditional nuclear family, a nice career with benefits, a middle class home in Minnesota, expansive celebrations of Christmas with family… all of that disappeared, right?”
Me: “Yeah, but the history we already share tells that story, so I don’t have to repeat it. The previous posts are there. I did sign up for all that stuff, but it exploded…. Oh, I think I get your point! I came out of that stronger and more resilient. I learned how to fight for myself. I learned that I am worth the effort of a new life.”
Ranger: “Exactly. So what can you transfer from your personal situation to this national turmoil?”
Me: “That our collective lives are worth fighting for. No demagogue can betray us. No dictator will allow those I know to register as muslims, and if he does I will become Muslim. Is that what you’re driving at?”
Ranger: “Exactly! Were you not expounding yesterday about how much Bernie Sanders appealed to you because he was willing to talk about the real issues, how he would have broken the mould and “drained the swamp?” So it wasn’t Bernie who got the chance to do that. In a sense you got what you asked for. Now, admittedly, the guy who gets the chance is scary indeed, so it’s going to take a lot of careful watching on our part to make sure this little experiment in democracy is protected. But you, and millions of others, will do that, right?”
Me: “So is it any wonder I walk down the stairs every day and feel exactly like Darryl’s wood sculpture “Lament”?
Ranger: “Oh, now I get your point as well. You really have been in despair. I’m going to give you exactly until the New Year of 2017 to get your act together. You and Darryl (and me, of course) have important work to do. Move beyond your “Lament,” but touch it fondly each morning as you pass it on hallway, and be more determined that we will be better.”