A Cold Day in January

Barack Obama Sworn In As U.S. President For A Second Term


I have rewritten this piece over five times. Part of me want to mount the barricades in the last scene from Act One of Les Miserable and wave a proud flag of courage. Part of me wants to be reasoned and cautious and believe that “this too shall pass”.

My mother who had lots of health and life challenges used to ritually intone those words. She meant that every experience has a purpose – not all of them too our liking, but all of them are meant to be instructive and all of them have the potential to help us grow. It does not imply that everything will turn out the way we want it to; it does not mean that there won’t be challenges ahead of us. It means that there is a kernel of truth in all that happens to us and all that happens to us demands us to act.

So I am struggling with how to act as this Inauguration week breaks. I am back in front of a black and white TV. In my mind it is cold and the wind is blustering, biting into the sweet promise of the next four years. Not that all of the Presidential promises were sweet or that the person being inaugurated that day was the President of my choosing. There were those whose platforms filled me with skepticism and concern. But this time it isn’t only the platform. It is the very essence of the man, at least the one who shows up on my color HD screen. On my Facebook feeds my friends are telling me this moment is different. It is not just concern and skepticism; it is a game changer and we need to mobilize and be prepared.

I am trying hard not to panic. I will go to those pre and post inauguration gatherings but not to mourn; not to despair. I am going to try and use some of the lessons I learned in the Jewish spiritual discipline we call Mussar which suggests to us that how we react to the stimulus around us act as a mirror into our souls. So, I am looking at January 20th as a mirror with the Capitol as a backdrop. Who is the me reflected in the image? What does it say about my feelings and actions? I am pasting a sticky note on that mirror, (a blue one) with the word “trust” in Sharpie black. I am talking about trusting yourself and the process that things will work out the way they are supposed to. Don’t take that as a recipe for passivity.

I am going to double down on the way I approach the political process. More donations to the causes I believe in and see as threatened; more active engagement with those who supposedly represent me. I am now in the loyal opposition and it is challenging. It is scary. I wrote the week after the election that we would have to wait and hope that the office would make the man. We don’t have to wait much longer. The man has remained true to who he was. It is time for us to trust each other and ourselves and reach out hand in hand to restore and preserve a more compassionate America.





19 thoughts on “A Cold Day in January

  1. It sounds like a muted, reasoned call to arms. Last week I watched and listened to Kellyanne Conways excusing Donald Trump’s lying about how and what he said during the campaign about the disabled reporter. Her excuse, “listen to the man’s heart, not his words.” And then this a.m. I read Carl Jung’s words, “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” I think Trump has looked inside. And it wasn’t pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For the first time in eight years, we will have someone in charge who is pro Israel. Give the man a chance to do something positive for this country. I’ll bet you and your fellow liberals will be surprised.


  3. I trust in myself and in others in partnership with G-d to pressure our senators and congressmen to act in liberal issues for the good of all Americans.
    I have been phoning Marco Rubio almost every day and Brian Mast when appropriate, Phoning is the most effective way to make your voice heard (although I also sign petitions and donate to causes.) I believe by ACTIVELY participating in the democratic process, I assert my views and hopefully affect events.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I hope he turns out to be
    one of the best presidents in USA history, I fear he won’t.


  5. I join with you in fear for our future, and I join with you in working and donating for causes in which we believe, and I love the idea that Karen put forward about calling congress people when we have an issue that MUST not pass
    And I need to STOP talking about Trump and hope that somehow he will rise to the occasion. I pray in these last days, his advisors are helping him to do some soul searching .


  6. In an effort to comfort my daughter, Lauren (and to comfort myself), I told her we can hope that the office elevates the man…although in the “run up” to the inauguration, he has shown little elevation!


  7. Thank you for helping us to keep our hopes and to remember that life is always in motion, nothing last for ever, only love survive all our miseries


  8. I appreciate your post and the conversation. For those of us that are struggling with a different reality, we need community and connection. I don’t know what will unite this country again – prayers, wisdom, courage….help!!!!


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