A READER’S COMMENT
The comment left by a reader in reply to yesterday’s post on the impeachment trial (“This Day in History“) expresses a more widely held sentiment.
“I watched most of the Congressional hearings, but watching the Republican Senate pretend that ‘everything is JUST FINE” and there was NOTHING WRONG and NO CRIME is madly depressing. I am not handling this well. I’m trying to believe it will all work out, but I don’t really believe it. It has been a hard, hard, hard few years. Doesn’t it feel so much longer than that?”Views from the Edge reader’s Comment in reply to “This Day in History” (Jan. 21, 2010)
LOSING OUR FOOTING
The first day of the Senate impeachment trial left me scrambling for sure footing in a world whose foundations are shaking, a condition familiar to the Psalm on which I had focused early yesterday morning. ‘Evil’, ‘the righteous’, and ‘evildoers’ are words of judgment readers of Views from the Edge do not expect to hear here. We do best to steer clear of these words of spiritual pride. Dividing the world into good and evil, sheep and goats, is the opposite of a gospel of reconciliation. But the words of an ancient Psalm gave expression to what I felt watching the Senate’s resistance to “doing impartial justice”.
1 Do not fret because of the evildoers; do not be envious of those who do wrong, 2 for they will soon wither like the grass, and like the green grass fade away. 7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who succeed in evil schemes. [Psalm 37:1-2,7]
My faith tradition practices the Confession of Sin before the One “to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.” There are sins of omission (“we have left undone the things which we ought to have done”) and there are sins of commission (“and we have done those things which we ought not to have done”).
My father and mother taught us the spiritual practice of confession, repentance, forgiveness, and “the amendment of life.” But it’s often hard to tell when one is committing or omitting. Obsession manages to succeed at both. What dawned on me yesterday was my obsession with evil schemes.
COMPULSIVE OBSESSIONS – IMPEACHMENT AND CAR-SHOPPING
Can I, should I, will I part ways with my beloved 2003 Toyota Avalon? It’s an existential dilemma.
A person’s relationship with a car isn’t “BREAKING NEWS!” No one cares about my three-week long obsession with a car! Not even when it replaces my obsession with writing for Views from the Edge. Who cares?
Preoccupation with the sirens that call me to sell or trade my faithful Avalon may be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but this car thing feels familiar. It has a history. I’ve been here before.
THE APPLE DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE: finding and staying with the Avalon
Maybe it’s in my DNA. “Let’s go out and look at that new Buick,” Dad would say. It didn’t matter that Parkinson’s and the Department of Motor Vehicles had put the car thing in his rear view mirror; Mom and Dad’s Buick Skylark was 21 years old. “Oh, Ken, for heaven’s sake!” We don’t need a new car! You can’t even walk anymore, and, besides, we don’t have the money for a new car.” It didn’t matter. When the car itch took over, he had to scratch it.
Finding the Avalon nine years ago was completely unexpected. I dropped by Total Auto, a mom-and-pop used car dealer, to look at a one-owner Subaru Legacy. I took the Legacy for a test drive, but didn’t like it. But there was another car, covered with snow and ice, a one-owner 2003 Toyota Avalon XLS traded at a Lexus dealer after 115,000 miles. We dug it out of the snow and took it for a spin. It drove like a dream. What’s not to like about a low-miles, loaded top-of-the-line Avalon XLS?
All these years later, after nine good years together, the car itch returned. I’ve been scratching it every day over the last month. But it occurs to me that obsession is a spiritual and mental health thing, and that the return of Dad’s car itch may have been a healthy substitute for the three-year obsession about which I have no control: the rogue president and the political party obsessed with pleasing him and protecting him with evil schemes that prevent a trial.
REGAINING SOLID FOOTING
10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land,
23 Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; 24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; so you shall abide forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his faithful ones.
… and the U.S. Constitution, division of powers, and a faltering Republic may yet survive. You can’t trade the Constitution for a new car.
— Gordon C. Stewart, Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017, Wipf and Stock), Chaska, MN, day two of the Senate Impeachment, January 22, 2020.