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Blue Sky

When the Swarm of Bad News Attacks: Everyday Magic, Day 205

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

It's been hard getting out of bed lately, and getting to sleep at night takes massive amounts of bad news deconstruction, imaging the worst and how to navigate that, and then the best and also the probable. For weeks the swarm of bad news has been growing, and lately, I just want to fall to my knees before it and call out, "I surrender," although I'm not sure what surrendering means.

In a nutshell, in addition to still mourning the loss of Maura and passing through anniversaries of departed loved ones, there’s been an outbreak of things that just, despite whatever the Buddhists say about we can’t know if something is truly bad or good, totally suck. The governor abolished the Kansas Arts Commission, and the Legislature is moving in on closing Kansas Neurological Institute, where my husband works, but more to the point, where 150 of our most severely disabled residents live. Friends are facing all manner of severe challenges: cancer spread to the bone, a brain tumor, and the garden variety of painful or difficult health challenges. It’s friggin’ cold and supposed to go to -10 tonight. My son just discovered he didn’t get into the Peace Corps, not because of the quality of his character but because of a pre-existing health condition. And it’s February, longest month of the year, always.

When I still myself and just feel what there is to feel, my heart hurts. When I imagine good outcomes to all, some of my hope feels forced. When I distract myself, I come back to the bad news still hanging strong, shrugging its hunched shoulders, and telling me to just keep breathing, drinking coffee, sleeping, going on to the next task. The fact that so much of the bad news is not from my own psyche might make it worse…..or better, but in any case, I’m sadly in awe of the surprises coming at us, like a fierce blizzard at times, in this world.

At the same time, I look at this photo I took last week of a tiny rainbow made by such a small sliver of light coming through the window and onto the bed. Sometimes, to paraphrase poet Charles Bukowski, the light isn’t much, but it’s enough…..or we need to make it enough.

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