The chicken breasts were still a little crunchy with ice when I put them on the cutting board. I felt the rage coursing through me as I picked up the tenderizing mallet. It felt good to release my anger onto the poultry. “Whack! Whack! Whack!” Over and over as I thought about how angry I was at them. I had been listening to an NPR news broadcast. The women spoke intelligently about their deep concerns about the chaotic Trump foreign policy in Ukraine. They had nuanced and measured views about the President and the successful mission against Baghdadi. They talked about the difficulty of crafting positive relationships with Middle East partners when the President talks about “protecting the oil,” like that is all we care about. Then they took calls. A Trump supporter called in. She said something about how the Democrats couldn’t be trusted and that they are persecuting this President and that America should be able to take oil from the Middle East. I listened to the NPR reporters try to make sense of the woman’s position, ask clarifying questions, and then respond appropriately.
It is like at NPR and all across America and the world so many people have been carefully crafting foreign policy, a complex legal and ethical governing structure, and coherent strategy for our future, and then some other people decided to come out of the shadows and burn it all down. Then we have to listen patiently to them ramble incoherently about how they have been wronged, the conspiracy theories they believe to be true, and the President they have come to worship.
And I’m so angry. This is my country! This is the nation I hope my children and grandchildren will call home. How can we be so irresponsible? How can we be so ungrateful? How can we turn from the form of government that has blessed us so much and trade it in for cheap authoritarian populism? How can someone as obtuse and blatantly villainous as Donald Trump do so much damage to something that has taken so long to build? And cost the blood, sweat, and tears of so many?
“Whack! Whack! Whack!” The chicken was flat, but I gave it a few more pounds before taking the knife to it and cutting it meticulously into small cubes. I actually made a great meal last night. With rice on the side. And Koolaid. My teenagers had seconds, so I’m glad I doubled the recipe. Keeping food in their stomachs has become more and more time consuming and expensive. Still, it warms my heart to see them grow! My oldest is taller than me now. I had to pull him aside and give him a stern lecture about how he was treating his brother. It was strange to look up at him.
Life with depression can be so confusing. Sometimes I can handle it. Sometimes I can channel the anger productively, avoid the shame, and press forward. Yesterday I started tickling my little Austin. He said, “Not all fingers! One finger.” I knew what he wanted. I stuck up my right index finger. “Hello finger!” he said as his eyes lit up. “You wanna go watch Ponies?” My finger is his imaginary friend. I have to get creative since he is home alone with me so much. I translate for the finger. “Finger says, that sounds fun. Finger wants some breakfast first.” He just found the T. V. show “My Little Ponies” and he loves it. Now he wants the pony toys for his birthday and Dad is not excited. That’s okay. He doesn’t do the birthday shopping. 😉
I can be a good mom to my family sometimes and sometimes the despair is just overwhelming. Ben and I have been doing our best to tag team and keep the trains running, if not on time, at least close. I know I fall short and I know that I’m not the mom I wish I was. All I can do is go to counseling another week, write on my blog another day, and trust that the Lord will lead me out of this pain. Someday, it won’t be this hard.