Notes From Home: Give Yourself to Love
By Trudy Wischemann
There’s a beautiful song by Kate Wolf called “Give Yourself to Love.” It’s playing in my head right now, telling me what to write. I love it when it does that.
The song snuck into my awareness this week while we were on our Kavanaugh binge, getting divided up into two camps as if by a wicked gym teacher making teams for a flashy volleyball game. Bad Boys vs. Good Girls – or was it Good Boys vs. Bad Girls? Demonic Democrats vs. Responsible Republicans, or maybe it was Wretched Republicans vs. Decent Democrats? Twenty-five years from now the evidence will be released to determine who the bad actors really were. All I knew this weekend was that my side – no matter how you divided up the teams – my side appeared to have lost.
And I felt the sickness that comes after a battle, no matter who wins. It’s Rage’s post-partum effects. It’s the view of all we care about being overridden by the need to go blind in its defense, to become willing to leave it all behind, like family and home left in America to go fight Nazis in Europe. And the only antidote to rage is to remember love.
In my own small recovery process, I found myself licking my own wounds first. They were largely self-inflicted anyway: I could have followed my own good advice to my mother and just stayed away from the news. But there was something important for me to learn in this battle, and the lessons became clearer as I made up for lost time in the kitchen and yard. Washing dishes and gathering trash restored my sense of value to myself if not to the rest of the world. Now: what did we learn?
The battle between the sexes is still here. It’s not too different from the battle between conservatism and liberalism or the hard right and the far left: how best to meet the needs of maintaining the free spirit of this country, this state, this county, this neighborhood, this home. Through rigorous self-determinism or generous, self-forgetting and communing with each other?
This divide was built into us in this nation’s founding, or so said Robert Bellah, a Berkeley sociologist in his book, The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in a Time of Trial (1975.) It’s the same divide that separated Jefferson from Hamilton, the South from the North, the divide that led to America’s Civil War and all the major civil uprisings in the 1960s and 1970s, the “trial” Bellah was addressing. We are still struggling over a question we have not yet answered rightly: can we have freedom without equality?
Some of us know the answer is “no.” Freedom for some people at the expense of others is not freedom. It’s temporary insanity, temporary because those unfree others are always knocking at the door of the “free” ones’ mind, wanting to be let in. I’d like to propose that Brett Kavanaugh’s rage was not just from being pantsed in public, but also from the ghost of Christine (and who knows how many others) on that bed who he (and all the other “boys being boys” we recognized in her story) truly doesn’t remember because he truly never saw her as a person.
I think the only way to heal this divide, temporarily and in the long term, is to give yourself to love. Love can be fierce as well as tender, but it’s love so long as the beloved stays in view. Love thyself, to use Woody Guthrie’s parting poem to us, as a child of God (no more, no less.) Then, to part B of the one great commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself.
It’s so simple. Remind me again: why are we fighting?
Trudy Wischemann is a spearmaiden who writes. You can send her your battle scars c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.
– This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.