The Day After, and All the Days

Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.
— John O'Donohue

I bought flowers for you.

They are laying on the table beside me and if you walked by right now, I would hand you stem and say, “I want to remember the beauty.” 

I bought flowers for the whole world. 

I've been glued to my screens for the past 24 hours in ways I haven't in a long time and I've witnessed the reactions of so many I adore with all my heart. I know that some are tired of hearing messages of love, saying love is not enough. So much is needed right now. The nation is shrieking. Politics is not something I talk about and, anyway, there are many other voices stronger and more powerful, eloquent, and informed than mine. I hear them flooding the earth and social media streams. Women I love and respect are speaking poetic, enduring truths. And women I love and respect are speaking of fear and anger and trying to tell me what my story needs to be, what my truth needs to be, and how I should or shouldn't respond.

flowers for the whole world

Last night I edited photos and prayed and kept refreshing my screen where live election results were updating at what felt like a ridiculously slow pace. I am keeping vigil, I wrote in my journal. Never was a nation so united as we were in our collective expectancy. And then again in collective shock, when the electoral vote revealed staggering results.

Times like these bring out the true in us. 

I keep asking myself two things: What would be helpful? and What is true?

I have written and deleted so many paragraphs because what can I say that hasn't been said more effectively? All I know is that today, I want to look people in the eyes. I want to be with others. I want to hand them flowers.

I'm still figuring things out, like what love looks like and how I can best be of service, but I do know this. And this is my black-and-white truth: regardless of how you voted or didn't vote, you are welcome at my table. 

On Instagram today, I loved reading a conversation my sweet friend Denise shared between herself and her son:

Me: “Remember what happened to the grinch?” I asked my son on the way to school this morning as he was expressing his deep sadness. 
Cedar: “Yes. His heart grew bigger and bigger.”
Me: “Yes it did. Because the grinch witnessed pure unconditional love from a young child. And he witnessed a community come together, holding hands, singing together and lifting each other up during a heart breaking time. They didn't stop believing in love.”
Cedar: “Well then maybe we can show that same kind of love in the world and the Donald will see and grow a bigger heart like the grinch.”

Me: “Maybe that will happen. But what I do know is communities are already holding hands and lifting each other up, my love, and it's only been just a few hours. All of our hearts will grow.”

Please...let's not stop believing in love. No matter where you land on the political scale.

So feel your feelings. Let them come through you and be held, witnessed, and safe. Be angry, be sad, be shocked. This is the human experience. 

And then know that you are about to see, with your own eyes, a dazzling display of human resilience unlike our nation has ever known. I truly believe this. And I also believe that whatever you are meant to do, whomever you are called to be, do it now. Be it now. It is time to be true to who you really are. This can be tender or it can be fierce—just let it be true.

Rebel and heal through beauty, through art, through grasping the other’s hand.

Have the necessary conversations. With or without words.

Bring to an end that which is over.

Show up in your life.

Allow what needs to be black and white to be black and white. Speak your fierce, loving truth.

Do not be afraid.

Hillary McFarland