Dear President Trump,
The day after the summer solstice always feels bittersweet to me. It means the official start of summer, but it also means we are no longer gaining a couple of minutes more light each day and instead we start losing minutes of light until we get to down to only seven and a half hours of daylight in December here in Seattle. Right now we are at 16 hours of daylight, which means there’s a crazy huge difference for us in light between the winter and summer solstices.
We absolutely don’t have control over the how the earth orbits the sun and spins on its axis and thus we have no control over the amount of daylight on any given day. We just have to go with what we get until it’s time for us to check out and for our bodies to revert back to star-dusty elements. There are lots of situations we don’t have control over, but like in this light/dark example, we often have a lot of latitude in how we respond. Do we buckle down and get things done even when it’s beautiful out and we’d rather just laze in the sun? Do we buckle down and get things done even when it’s dark and pelting rain and we’d rather stay indoors under the covers?
How about when the political climate seems sunny – do we sit back and take extended breaks? What about when the political climate is horrifying and oppressive – do we distract and hide from it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The big question here is the extent to which we make conscious decisions about our engagement or lack thereof. Are we just pushed and pulled by the prevailing stimuli (i.e., reactive) or are we making deliberate decisions to step out into the fray or pull back and recharge? These questions are especially important in extreme and protracted situations like the one we are in with you where burnout, hopelessness, and disgust could easily overwhelm our prosocial instincts and leave us cowering in the corner or mindlessly lashing out. If we aren’t careful, personal and societal anomie could result. On the other hand, the idea that hope is a discipline has bubbled up again and I’m grateful for the reminder that I can choose hope over despair and that I must be deliberate about it.
May we be safe as we navigate situations beyond our control.
May we be happy to maintain our values in situations beyond our control.
May we be healthy and strong when we face situations beyond our control.
May we make peace even in challenging situations beyond our control.