The Unbearable Heaviness of Right Now

Sometimes I feel like the weight of all the badness in the world is crushing me.

This is unusual for me. I would characterize myself as joyful much of the time. But sometimes…it just all adds up, and I feel like I can’t breathe.

Police shootings of unresisting black men. Climate change, and scores of wild animals dying because of it. What’s happening in Syria. GOP-led voter suppression. And now Donald Trump, who I fear will make all of these things worse through some combination of malice or unconcern. And, oh yeah, the significant rise in hate crimes since he was elected president.

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pixabay.com

I’m all up in my feelings right now. I was reading this poem to Jonah tonight, and I about lost it:

Dear Father, hear and bless

Thy beasts and singing birds.

And guard with tenderness

Small things that have no words.

I believe it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what is happening, (plus I’m a news junkie anyway) but I think reading ALL of the news coverage of Donald Trump’s transition team, Steve Bannon, etc. is starting to get to me. If I keep gorging myself on all the badness I won’t be able to function. I need to feel like I am doing something on a larger scale to help make things better.

So here’s what I’ve done so far to be productive and “fight back” post-election:

  • Donated and joined the ACLU to help protect human rights and free speech during a Trump presidency (they have a focus on immigrants’ rights)
  • Donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat hate and intolerance (they also focus on immigrants’ rights)
  • Signed up to donate monthly to the World Wildlife Fund to fight climate change and protect animal habitats
  • Asked for a Slate Plus membership for Christmas to support free speech and quality, independent journalism that holds Donald Trump accountable

I should have been contributing to charity before now. We didn’t really have the resources to do so until very recently with our move to Atlanta, but really I selfishly was loath to part with what I saw as “my” hard-earned money. God forgive me.

This isn’t much, but it’s a start. Next up is writing to my representatives in Congress, as as promised. I plan to start those letters by introducing myself, and saying, “Expect to hear a lot from me over the next four years.”

What are you doing to contribute positively since the election?

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Important question: What do you keep stocked in your pantry?

I didn’t have much experience cooking when I got married. We were straight out of college, so I can’t blame myself too much. Actually, the plan was for Jonathan to be the main one who cooked for us. You can probably guess what came of that–lots of fast food and me gaining 10 pounds our first year of marriage.

I’ve done better since then, and a large part of that has to do with keeping a stocked pantry. One thing that I eventually learned was that it was easier to keep certain things always on hand than to have to run to the store every single time I needed flour, chicken broth, oregano or onions. This is now one of the biggest pieces of advice that I give to newlyweds/recent graduates/those just starting to cook: If you always keep the basics on hand, it’s not that hard to throw something together when you have limited time/energy to prepare dinner.

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Pantry envy right here…

So what do you keep on hand in your pantry? For me, it’s generally the following:

  • Baking supplies (flour, sugar, baking soda/powder, cornmeal, brown sugar, etc.)
  • A variety of spices
  • Vinegar
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned beans (black, kidney, and Great Northern)
  • Green chilies
  • Diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste
  • Cream of chicken/mushroom/celery soup
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Chicken and beef broth/bouillon cubes
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

You can tell what kind of a cook someone is by what they keep in their pantry. I like to make lots of different kinds of chili/tortilla soup/taco soup, thus the diced tomatoes. I typically cook in the crockpot about once a week, which tends to use creamed soups. You can tell that I’m not totally hung up on using fresh ingredients–though I do try to–because sometimes you just have to do what is easiest.

I’m interested to hear: What do you keep stocked in your pantry?