the inescapable reality of our absurd existence.
Seven out of the twelve paragraphs I wrote in my journal this morning (58%) debated whether or not journaling was a waste of paper. Writing my morning pages is like scooping leaves and dead bugs out of a mucked up pool. Next to nothing of it is worth revisiting. If I’m just going to fart out words to leave behind, should I be using such nice paper?
My most convincing argument (pro-journal) was that I just as frequently spend time and money buying or preparing snacks that have no nutritional value. I don’t eat the same shitty string cheese twice. It’s not an investment in my health and longevity. “Journaling is like pretzel rods.” I wrote that in a lovely Michael Roger decomposition journal that cost me $11 before tax and shipping, and then my pen ran out of ink.
I don’t know. It’s all so stupid. We’re such dingbats. Such ignorant beautiful wasteful wingnuts. Some days (most) I cannot find any sense in us at all, and I don’t know whether to shrug or laugh or weep. So I journal about whether or not I should journal.
I am trying to laugh at the Congress debacle, the speaker-less House; but it’s all just too absurd. It’s a rhinoceros in underpants. I want to unplug from this mainframe and never read another word of it, devote myself entirely to yarn art and cookie baking; but that circus is our circus, and it makes the laws we live in. Those laws frame the schools I work in and the resources the children I serve have access to. We are desperate for better systems. I can’t unplug. I just want our representatives to stop being such embarrassing dummies.
But what else could any of it be but absurd? Collectively, God bless us, that’s just what we are. It is inescapable. Our world is full of absurdities. Why would our congress be any different?
Consider, for example, the coexistence of boarded up buildings and homelessness. Dumb. I pass two vacant motels, an out-of-business Village Inn, and an empty school building in the 3 miles between my house and one of my schools. Boards block the windows, and giant swaths of chain link guard the perimeters. One morning, someone was sleeping in front of the boarded up Village Inn door. Every time I pass these intact and unused shelters I think of the homeless man who froze to death in a porta-potty two years ago and the article I read about Des Moines’ growing homeless population. Why is anyone in a tent by the frozen river when we have all this unused, unclaimed space? Is it because those darned vagrants haven’t “earned” shelter?
Years ago, I listened to a Robcast episode about sustainable farming – that the Earth, all by herself, knows exactly how to produce enough food to feed every living being in existence. We’re just misusing and abusing it. We are asserting ourselves all over her bounty until we’re puffy and red-faced. We work her to death, because we think she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s going to run out. We have to work it. We have to own it. We have to WIN it.
I think this means that in our purest state, we are abundant.
Scarcity is what we see when we muck up the water. (Maybe everyone should be journaling?)
Speaking of podcasts and scarcity… The last two episodes of Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast have included, among other things, discussions about the Biblical parable of the vineyard workers.
In this parable, Jesus teaches the story of a landowner who pays the same generous day wage to all workers, whether they worked 3 hours or 12. WTF? The lopsidedness! We rage into our tiny human periscopes and screech for fairness. Zooming out, however, we exhale and see Noncontingent Grace, and our minds are blown.
"Noncontingent" because we get it whether we deserve it or not.
Brown and her sister introduce the radical idea that perhaps everyone, everywhere, at every given time – the person who cut you off in traffic, the negligent parent, the narcissistic world leader, and the serial killer -- are all doing the very best they can with what they have and know and feel and manage at any given time. Sometimes this means they need to learn more, accept resources, and/or get treatment, so they can do better. Other times it means this is as good as they get, therefore they are dangerous and need to be locked away to minimize harm.
I don’t know what practical application of noncontingent grace Congress needs. Maybe they need a rustic weekend retreat, a ropes course, some group singing, and a series of trust falls.
Anyway, what does any of this have to do with me debating (with myself) whether or not journaling garbage thoughts into an attractive journal was a waste of resources? I’ll tell you: The inescapable reality of our absurd existence. It’s baked in. That’s it. That’s the thread.