It has been many and many a day since I last wrote anything here. Much has happened in the time between.

For me, the change in Presidential Administrations has altered my perspective. It is like a heavy stone has been lifted off my chest. My daughter Emily sent this GIF to our group chat on Inauguration Day. It really does a great job of conveying the feeling that my family is experiencing.

If you are not familiar with the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, then let me fill you in, briefly. This is the main character, Frodo Baggins, who has spent months journeying to the place of fire, aptly called Mount Doom. In this scene he has lost a finger, and completed his mission of destroying the evil ring. At this point in the story he is not sure he is ever going to get back to safety or his homeland, The Shire.

The relief in his face is palpable.

It is over!

Spoiler alert! Frodo does make it back to the Shire, but he is not the same Hobbit who started on the perilous journey. He is scarred by his encounter with the One Ring. He tries to join in the merriment of his companions, but is ultimately unable to. His wounds are too deep.

While it would be wrong to compare my last few months too closely with Frodo’s, I do share some of his feelings of relief and woundedness.

I am obviously relieved to have a President who seems to have great care and concern for us and our good earth. He is aware of the vulnerable and their needs. He knows that our nation is a gaping, festering laceration in desperate need of a healing balm. In time we will see if he will be able to alleviate some suffering. It has been a long, painful four years for many of us.

Even though the President has promised to unify us, I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around the concept. Like Frodo after he has seen the Ring destroyed, I do feel relief but I am scarred by the words and actions of our former president and his colleagues. I know I need to proceed to forgiveness and unity, but I am stuck trying to work through all that has happened the past two months.

Along with our public political problems my family has been wading through our own issues. Since mid December we have prayed for and worried over five of our relatives who contracted covid. They all made it through but the anxiety over their well being has sapped my mental and physical energy. (This is not their fault of course, it is my weakness that led to the anxious response!) Often I am my own worst enemy.

We have had numerous instances of normal family upheaval, arguments and misunderstandings. Betsy has moved back to college after spending almost two months at home. There is little immediate relief in sight in regards to social distancing. Many of us have a long wait for the vaccine.

Nothing catastrophic is going on, but it has been a slog getting myself back in some semblance of order. I feel like I am nursing scars all over the place. I have been struggling to find a place of peace.

I had a short conversation with my brother Matt a few days ago that unsettled me further. It seems the rock I got off my chest was heaved onto his by the administration change. He is no big fan of DT, but he is a self described Mid Western Conservative. The policy changes that make my heart leap for joy, leave him distressed. Our conversation was civil and interesting too, but it left me feeling troubled, knowing that he was so upset. It seems like our country has so little common ground when it comes to politics. We are either on one side or the other, in misery or triumphant.

Where do we go to find national healing?

I have been pondering this issue for the last month and I have to confess that I am no closer to finding a solution than when I started mulling things over.

I do know that I am beginning to feel a bit better since I gave myself permission to take some time to get over all of it. It is going to be a while before I reach equilibrium. It will take time for me to be able to move forward.

Do you know what? I’m okay with that.

Frodo Baggins finds himself so affected by his perilous adventures that he leaves Middle Earth and the Shire for the Grey Havens. There he hopes to find the relief he seeks.

God willing, I will have some time before me to sort out the events of this past year. I am giving myself this gift of time to seek healing. I will be seeking God’s help and Grace to find my relief.

I am praying for our collective well-being and fervently hoping for better days!

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