Mourning has broken, somewhat

Henri Nouwen

mourning doveAs regular readers of this blog may have noticed, I’ve gone to a number of funerals this calendar year. Two members of my current church in January, two former fellow choir members from my previous church in February.

It’s not just my own mourning, of course. From those four funerals, there are three widows who I’ve known at least 18 years each, plus various other relatives. My wife and I went to the service of a mom of a friend, also in the first half of the year.

Somehow, I inserted myself as a source of information about the memorial arrangements for Charles G. Hill, e.g., Dustbury. BTW, his daughter had no idea about his favorite charity. She found nothing in his record-keeping. She suggested the Oklahoma City Performing Arts or maybe a mental health organization.

I should reiterate that donations for Arthur’s husband Nigel King can be made to Anxiety New Zealand. I would recommend you read Arthur’s blog, starting with the first of October, regarding his uneven adjustment.

A decade and a half ago

Certainly, there were lots of funerals/memorial services this year, expected as one gets older. My wife and I recall, though, the last third of 2004, when we attended at least five funerals. Two were for the husbands of friends of mine; the women were both named Mary.

I was particularly fond of Tom. We had similar sensibilities about politics and much else. I helped make sure he got to vote in that Presidential year, thus assuring the election of President John Kerry. Even this year, Mary and I have pondered what he would have thought of the 240 candidates running for President. Goodness, that was 15 years ago.

I came across this quote from one of my favorite theologians, the late Henri Nouwen. It’s what I TRY to do in these moments of mourning:

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”

Mourning edition: Donald Trump

Now the media who wanted him, have him,

mourningI was watching 60 Minutes on Election Day evening because watching early returns are not good for one. And there were stories about war, pestilence, and America’s toxic political mood, which prompted “viewers to invoke divine intervention.” It showed, as though we didn’t already know, that we are a fractured people, unfriending political opponents.

I can’t help but think how much America really wanted Trump all along. The Daily Kos blamed his rise on the (deliberate) failure of TV news, and one could make that case. Hey, it’s all infotainment!

But the comedians wanted him too. Just this past weekend, John Oliver made an impassioned final plea for Americans to reject Donald Trump, during which he shows himself, back on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, begging Trump to run.

And when he DID run, Stewart, before he retired in August 2015, thought DJT quite amusing. The news organizations loved the boffo ratings of the Republican debates, which were four TIMES greater in the summer of 2015 than four years earlier. It was all great theater, I suppose, but I never thought it was all that humorous.

Finally, on the late, lamented Nightly Show in December 2015, they were doing a skit when a couple of the actors, Mike Yard and Ricky Velez, told host Larry Wilmore that doing Trump schtick just wasn’t funny anymore. I noticed recently that someone was complaining that the comedians were all bashing Trump more than Hillary; I figured it was penance.

The 16 Republicans who ran against him were largely intimidated that he might slap a nickname on them. The guy’s been in the public eye since the 1970s; where was their opposition research?

And now the media who wanted him, have him, ironically a guy who has promised to be a threat to press freedom, who inspires claims of Lügenpresse (lying press), and gins up his followers to intimidate specific reporters.

Yeah, yeah, maybe Bernie could have won, and easily, I think, because he had passionate followers, one of the reasons I supported him in the primaries. And maybe the FBI director James Comey’s announcement of a new investigation less than two weeks before the election sunk her.

I admit I don’t understand why these angry people think Donald Trump, of all people, is the fellow to fix things. But the people wanted someone who insults people and abuses women and hypocritically attacks others for the same misdeeds he’s been criticized for, whose rhetoric encourages extremism, and who eschews science. The people have spoken.

Obviously, I think “the people” are wrong. I realized it fully last April, when my daughter expressed interest in seeing Donald Trump when he was in Albany. She didn’t support him, just wanted to see him. And I vetoed it, not for political reasons, but because I worried for her safety and mine. THAT’S who we just elected President. (NOW will he release his income tax returns?)

This is a blow I have to muse upon a bit more.

ADDENDUM: I wrote on Facebook yesterday:
Ah, it’s November 8. According to Wikipedia, what happened on this date?
1519 – Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Montezuma welcomes him with a great celebration.
1644 – The Shunzhi Emperor, the third emperor of the Qing dynasty, is enthroned in Beijing after the collapse of the Ming dynasty as the first Qing emperor to rule over China.
1923 – Beer Hall Putsch: In Munich, Adolf Hitler leads the Nazis in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government.
Anything interesting happening today?

What Do We Tell The Children? “Tell them, first, that we will protect them.”

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