[Deck Chair from the Titanic, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia]
Friday night I went to the Huntington Theater to see “Bedroom Farce.” (I have season tickets; that’s why.) And noticed, as the audience filed in, that the elderly man seated in front of me had dropped his program when he’d sat down. So I reached under his seat and handed it to him. Ceremoniously. With person-to-person eye contact and a warm smile. As if to say without words, “Hello” and “I see you” and “I assume you are in pain. I share it.” This random moment felt weirdly familiar; “When did I experience this intentional, ceremonial, stranger-to-stranger kindness before?” I wondered.
And remembered: “Of course! The days immediately following 9/11. When we were all tender and careful with one another.” Remember?
Here’s where I am six days after the election: Given Trump’s alt-right agenda, simply being kind, as critically vital as that is, might not be enough. Hugging our friends, connecting with family, reaching out, as heartening as that is, might not be enough. Wearing a safety pin, without clarity—and a plan—as to what that symbol of solidarity actually asks of us, might not be enough.
What will? What am I called to do? My anxious heart and not-centered behavior at times tell me that I am still too disheartened to be able to discern.
Meanwhile, as I struggle, I hug my loved ones. I write notes on my best stationery. I have tea with people I’d lost touch with. I become friends on Facebook with my next-door neighbor, a woman I’d scarcely talked to. And take enormous comfort from this Scripture quoted by Hillary Clinton in her concession speech: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”