Like a Kiss in the Night, Finding Words

November 23rd, 2016 by elaine

Last night, almost like a kiss, I got an email from the granddaughter I hadn’t heard from for far too long.  I was in bed, George sleeping quietly beside me.  I was about to put my iPad down on the night table, turn out the light, and close my eyes – then, a wee little flash, her name, a sentence.  Really?  Was it an old email mysteriously popping up?  No, it was totally of the moment coming from across Canada and a bit south into our “dual” country.  She apologized for disappearing, and quickly added, It’s been difficult to find the words to talk about how things have felt since the election.

Indeed! Isn’t that the real reason I didn’t write anything for my blog last week?  The  excuses I made  to myself!  Silly!  I had said what I needed to say  about the election the week before Done!  Move on!  Hmmmn    ….difficult to find the words….of course!

Well, that’s not absolutely true, was the next line in the email. I talk about it a fair amount, rehashing the same feelings of fear and outrage and sadness and concern over and over again.

Yeah me too!  At breakfast yesterday George and I stopped in the middle of it and vowed not to mention the man, the subject, ever again at breakfast.  And then added lunch, and then dinner, and then snacks, and finally NEVER AT THE TABLE.

Didn’t work.  But I am convinced anyway that I didn’t write anything last week because I could not bear to go there one more time.   And so, if I mention his name today it is only to illustrate my wise-old-lady theme: liars lie, they do not keep their promises, and if you forget it, or make an exception, or allow yourself to be seduced, which I fear, from reading the New York Times today may happen abroad in the land starting at the Times itself — you are in great peril.

Here is a personal experience, a little story from the past when I was not yet a wise-old-lady. I was attending a weekend training workshop in a field of psychotherapy (it shall remain unspecified here) where the buzz was intense about one of the participants who had been promised certain benefits by the leading-guru-of-all-time in exchange for certain services (none of them sexual), and had just been informed that the benefits would not be forthcoming, no denial of the services rendered, no reasons given, no redress possible.

Most of us were shocked.  We had not thought the guru so flawed.  We had all idolized him, revered him, recognized his huge contribution to the field of mental health.  Yet we all believed the injured party categorically and felt the betrayal as though it were our own.  All except one person, a person I had known a long time, who still absolutely believed in the integrity of the guru.  But how could you? I fairly sputtered in disbelief. In the face of all the evidence? My friend, who is not a lawyer, replied coolly, I will believe in the guru until he gives me personally a reason not to. (The inadmissibility of third party testimony?)

I was young then and the times were  more gentle in speech if not in actions.  So I did not say, Hey, Buddy, you mean you gotta get personally screwed before you believe someone else was screwed by someone you trust? Where are your powers of observation? I wondered.  Are you blind?  Where is your compassionate understanding?  Do you not have a heart?  Do you mean to say you would believe him if he offered you something you really want in exchange for something you have to give, your time, your work?  Are you stupid?

This story is a marker for me. It came to mind today when I read about the New York Times meeting with Trump yesterday inside the hallowed premises of the Times. The meeting was set up and then he tweeted that he was calling it off because the Times had changed the terms of the meeting, which the Times denied.  Then he tweeted o.k. he’d come. Are we not looking at a bold-faced lie from the get-go?

He who during the election campaign unfailingly referred to the Times as the failing New York Times, at the very top of the meeting said: I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special. I think I’ve been treated very rough. It’s well out there that I’ve been treated extremely unfairly in a sense, in a true sense. (There was more – I cut it.)  And when he was leaving he said, The Times is a great, great American jewel, adding a moment later, A world jewel.

The Times remarked about the meeting, the mood of the president-elect had mellowed. And what worries and disappoints me is that it also stated that perhaps there was some hope for the future relationship with the soon-to-be-president of the United States of America.  (I searched for the Times own words in this regard but couldn’t find them – perhaps they already realized their hopes were unrealistic and withdrew them.)

A liar lies, breaks promises, says whatever the listener needs to hear to fall for his/her manipulations.  What an incredible master Trump is at that game.  Perhaps it is inevitable that some generous people will make an effort to look for a good side, a bit of balance, perhaps. But what remains to be seen is what his avid followers will do when his promises, like the guru’s, are not fulfilled. Everyone will be angry – no exceptions.  It will be more than a buzz, it will be a roar.

We are all afraid and sad and outraged and we talk about it too much and we can’t find words to say what we are feeling because we think we have never felt like this before.  But we have – when we were infants without words, when we were powerless and vulnerable.  It is that primitive.

This is no time to regress to infancy!  We have words, we have legs, we have experience, we have courage.  Let’s keep talking, let’s stand up for what we believe, let’s believe in our own experience, let’s keep our fear and use it  – that’s what courage is.  We will need every bit we can muster.  We are not alone — we will help each other. Like a kiss in the night, we’ll treasure our own integrity.

© Elaine A. Zimbel 2016

Posted in Cabinet Privé, Eighty and then some..., Uncategorized

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