The other night I suggested to my husband that I was a bit cranky. He suggested that he was aware of that fact. I suggested that his suggestion was not helpful.

The truth is, some days, these days, my nerve endings feel a bit like live wires. I don’t mean them to. I don’t want them to. It just happens. Zap. And there is an ensuing rawness. I think the insulation has become a little threadbare. The current has a little more punch. The junction box is, frankly, a bit of a mess.

I suppose this is ordinary for the human experience. Being more than okay more than most of the time is tough. The constancy of what makes us potentially vulnerable and massively messy runs along a pretty fine trip wire. Money. Health. Family. Race. Gender. Identity. Politics…Love. And then, well, add on 2020 and, yah, cranky is on the rise.

But as I contend with my “new cranky” I find it to be more than just run of the mill annoyances stirring the pot but rather deeper seeded discoveries of what isn’t, what could be, and what I now hope for. Yes, a day full of inexplicable bad luck starting with a coffee pot overflow all over the kitchen counter is still irritating, but now that sort of thing is a final straw to deeper frustrations about inequities in the human experience that 2020 has so masterfully unveiled. We have begun to ache as we have come to understand the level of our vulnerability as a nation, as communities, as ourselves. It’s going to take time, and a little “cranky”, to process all of this.

Our FH Perry Builder, bi-monthly Community Meetings tend to be a space for processing. Last Friday we met and broke ourselves up into seven groups, each to craft a six-word story that described 2020. A team full of people who lost so much, it turns out, was extraordinarily willing to hold the unfathomable, acknowledge the intolerable, and endear the unforgettable. It offered a clarifying reprieve; a chance to come out of the fog and benchmark our bearings.

In years past, my end-of-the-year missive sought to create a sense of space and forgiveness, calm and bright, as the barreling train comes screeching into year end. I want that for all of us this year as well, a chance to set aside our annoyances and short-circuited crankiness. But I guess what I am also wanting is a way for the constancy of being unsettled to be a reminder that we can’t turn away from fierce conversations, that we must live earnestly, and that we have to always challenge what we want to call normal. These new requirements came on like a tidal wave but will take a lifetime of diligent response. That is a fact that is taking some getting used to but is, perhaps, the gift of a lifetime.

Along with the gift of these seven stories:

  • Resilience was our 2020 silver lining.
  • Promising start. Devastating change. Hopeful ending.
  • Good and bad. Double edged sword.
  • Extremely unusual chaos that re-set values.
  • It could have been worse, really.
  • Challenge of tolerance, loyalty, and resilience.
  • This is what time looks like.

Wishing you a joyful holiday season and Peace on Earth.
Allison