As we collectively limp towards the inauguration, I find myself strictly limiting my Facebook time. I’ve noticed that I seldom write anything remotely personal, only reposting blog posts and the infrequent photo. I also increasingly limit my reading of Facebook posts and updates, as I attempt to keep up my spirits in the face of the avalanche of alarming news. I’m also avoiding the news on radio and TV.
It’s not that I am ignoring our collective slide into the deep unknown; rather, I am attempting, only somewhat successfully, to avoid becoming either addicted to the craziness or incapacitated. I desire to be useful to myself and others, to pick my battles, and to honor my age and a lifetime of commitment to building a caring society.
This morning I awoke deeply embedded in memories of my Polio experience. Perhaps this journey back in time was triggered by Jennie’s imminent trip to India, or some internal logic that largely escapes my conscious awareness. In any event I awoke into memories of feeling abandoned to the terrors of treatment and the iron lung. My experience was not a thoughtful abstraction, nor a full-blown flashback. Rather, it was a sort of hybrid in which I was both embedded in feeling and engaged in pondering the experience.
I was left with a sense of betrayal, and a profound fear that somehow I had done something that justified my fate. I could not figure out what I had done, and wrestled with the disturbing sense that whatever flaw had landed me in the horrors of Polio treatment, was innate and, therefore, irredeemable. Oddly, those thoughts parallel the beliefs of the incoming administration, and their supporters, who believe that illness, poverty, and hardship are moral failures rather than the predictable stuff of life.
Now, fully awake, I wonder whether were we still, as a culture, subject to the vicissitudes of the Polio virus, an affliction that knows no social boundaries, we might be kinder and more generous. Such a sad thought.