ESSAY ON EASTER AND MINDFULNESS
I take back everything I’ve ever said about Donald Trump not knowing what he’s doing for the people of the United States and the image of Christ. He’s an evil genius! Also, I take back every disdainful thought I’ve ever had against the MAGA hats that put Trump in office and are keeping him there. Because of them, I’ve found a new lease on life, a calmer demeanor, and a deeper trust in God this Easter. (Thank you, oh Crazy Orange One and your MAGA hat minions for my Easter present!)
My non-believing sisters and brothers, do you know what Lent is? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is “the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting,” which is to draw one closer to God by the time Easter rolls around because the resurrection of Christ from the dead is so awesome that it is every Christian’s hope that if Christ can conquer death, he can conquer every other type of evil plaguing our lives. The reason we give up things at Lent that have some control over our appetites is because we hope it will be easier to scrub off the veneer of fear and hopelessness that blinds us to the power of Christ’s resurrection help in other areas of our lives.
Well, Eureka! The Holy Ghost gave me a revelation. The messianic imposter in the White House had caused me to momentarily think he was indestructible, invincible, and made of Teflon (none of his sins were ever going to stick to him and bring him down), and there was absolutely nothing I could personally do about his reign and damage done to our country. (If his Evangelical supporters are to be believed, I am not operating in God’s will by opposing the Orange One—in fact, I am a sinful little snot who will burn in Hell.) I was full of fear (not of going to Hell, but of Trump getting away with murder, which seems so much worse than living in Hell), and that led to chronic anxiety which led to eating a gluttonous amount of chocolate-covered bon-bons washed down with buckets of mojitos (not really, but you get my point).
I am seventy years old and counting—I cannot afford to waste any more of my days on fear and loathing.
So I had a Lenten revelation: I need to give up Donald J. Trump, not just for Lent, but for the end of time. He is like an obnoxious, spoiled toddler who is only happy if he is absorbing all our attention every second of the day. I no longer give him the attention he is demanding. I have replaced thoughts about Trump with gratitude and mindfulness via meditation, and I’m letting the God of the universe fight the things I cannot control—including kicking Trump’s ass.
I have become a mindfulness aficionado (more about this in the weeks to come).
Every morning when I wake up (before I get out of bed), I thank God for what I have—not what I’ve lost. (At this age, one starts losing things, people, and memories on a daily basis as it they were pennies in a pocket full of holes. Trust me, getting old is not for the cowardly.) In other words, if I can still breathe, walk, see, hear, talk, and learn…it’s a good day!
Then I mediate, and the sole script of that meditation is a prayer to the God of Easter:
“I have no plans today for my life—only sketches.
Reveal to me your path—where I should go, who I should meet, what I should do.
May I be slow to anger, quick to listen, and slow to speak.
Grant me courage, wisdom, grace, mercy, and above all love for those I encounter along the way.”
It has been amazing! No more stress, no more anxiety, and no more anger at Trump or anything else—I am as cool as an iced cucumber and I’m no longer in search of bon-bons. (I fully believe he’s going to be flushed down the toilet of life, but I’m not worried about the if, when, how, or by whom anymore.) Consequently, I’ve had the most amazing encounters during the Lent season. As you might expect, I met a Tin Man who needed a heart, a Scarecrow who needed a brain (actually this was a woman), and just recently, a Lion who needed courage.
Let me tell you about the most significant traveler I met along the way since the beginning of my new mindfulness journey. The Lion. He was a driver for a car service in New York City. He was Asian, young, handsome, and spoke fairly good English. On his dashboard was a miniature picture of the Dalai Lama. Our driver had shoulder-length black hair which sported a cocky backwards baseball cap that displayed the slogan: “Let’s get fucked tonight!” Since I had no intentions of doing anything that day but get to the airport on time and try to return home in one piece, I said, “Delta Terminal C, please,” and proceeded to get lost in conversation with my husband about our magnificent grandson and daughter who we had just spent a wonderful weekend with. The driver seemed lost in thought but said nothing except an explosive “sigh” every minute or so which was very disruptive—each sigh was like the percussive sound of a steam engine. (It was so unnerving that I almost yelled at him and said, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Turn on some music if this is the best you can do for conversation!” But this is the new and improved, mindfulness Eleanor, so I was not “quick to anger,” nor was I “quick to speak,” (plus, if the truth be told, I didn’t want my Uber rating to take a hit—it’s bad enough as it is!).
I thought the driver was frustrated with the traffic, and I made a mental note to give him a one-star rating where it says, “Driver was a good conversationalist” on the ratings form at the end of our destination. After a long twenty minutes and about thirty Eeyore sighs later, we finally pulled up in front of our designated terminal. As soon as I unbuckled my seat belt and hastily reached for the door, the driver turned around and said: “If you had a friend whose wife was having an affair with his best friend, would you forgive her and try to make the marriage work for the sake of the kids (he has the kids), or would you take the kids and run?” In the midst of a traffic jam with horns blaring, in front of an airport terminal, trying not to be late to catch a flight, my husband and I gave a broken-hearted lion a few minutes of counseling that I can only hope gave him the courage to let love win and try to save his marriage. (I’d like to think there was something about our mindfulness that encouraged him to open his Dalai Lama-loving heart to us…)
But one thing I’m certain of, ever since I let go of Trump and let God take over my mind and heart, I am encountering the most amazing human beings and having the most outlandish conversations. I shall keep you posted. In the meantime, if all the mess of Donald Trump and his minions gets you down or your life is one that makes you mourn and sigh, remember the God of Easter and his amazing resurrection life makes all good things possible, and in the words of one of my favorite authors:
“Everything will be all right in the end.
If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end.”
The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr
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