Nursing a Hatred Hangover

I know it’s been more than a minute since I posted anything. I haven’t even been writing other than newsletter articles and sermons…which I don’t actually write but which camp out in my head for a week to be brewed then poured out and forgotten, not a drop ever landing on a piece of paper.

Truthfully, I haven’t felt inspired to write. I was out of sorts with the election then had a sinus infection, which inflamed my shoulder (a lifelong issue), which kept me out of the gym, which…which…which… And there I go, tumbling down the hill.

I have asked myself if I’m depressed. Mental health is very important and we need to check in on ourselves. And I have been. We all have. COVID has been terrible; there have been natural disasters; there is civil unrest around the world; locusts attacked parts of Africa; need I go on?

For the better part of this year I have been faithful in going to the gym and taking care of my mental health, doing what I need to stay grounded. I’ve been working out 1.5 hours nearly everyday, writing in my gratitude journal, reading my spiritual meditations, talking to my best friend and my husband for moral support, and spending time in the kitchen cooking for us and for students.
But doing those things has been a struggle over the past month, maybe a little more.

This morning I realized I am suffering from a hatred hangover.

No, it’s not my own hatred. I don’t hate anyone. I don’t even hate most things…just don’t come at me with a raw oyster. In the 90s movie Hope Floats, Gena Rowlands’s character utters what I think is one of the best lines in movie history. She plays a woman who does taxidermy as a hobby. When her daughter, played by Sandra Bullock, asks why her mother hates the daughter’s ex-husband, Rowlands replies, “Oh, I love all God’s creatures. I just love some of them better stuffed.”

My hangover is from absorbing the hatred that built across our nation and beyond in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the election and that is still not resolved. In college I enjoyed a particular beverage a little two much one evening. To this day, the smell of it nearly will send me to the bathroom in terror. Political signs, advertisements, and emails cause the same visceral reaction in me now. I want to look away, run away, for fear of feeling overwhelmed.

Because of the senate races in Georgia (which are important!), we have not had any relief in the past month. It’s like having a wave crash over you and you stand to spit the salty water out of your mouth only to find another wave looming over you, demanding you open your lungs for another dose.

God is love but God’s human creatures are consumed in a love affair with hatred.

I am exhausted by it.

Politics has become a sport and we all lose. Everything is politicized…EVERYTHING. I know because I make my own quick judgements about people based on the smallest details. As humans we make these snap judgements as a part of our wiring but our culture has capitalized on this impulse because click-bait makes us buy, buy, buy.

I think this is why I see so many friends falling hard and fast into the deep bucket of holiday decorating and preparations…only to find more sadness mixed with joy at the realization that the trappings might be the same but there won’t be the big parties and family gatherings this year. My own son observed this the other morning, starting his day by saying, “Mommy, Christmas is weird this year.”

Advent comes like a balm because I am reminded of another community that was suffering and waiting for deliverance. I’m finding good company in Mary, Elizabeth, and even John the Baptist this year. Our world is crying out with growing pains but no one is willing to step up to be the midwife it seems. But the baby will arrive regardless.

My best friend and I have quoted Julian of Norwich to each other nearly everyday for the past 9 months, “All will be well…”

So, even in this hatred hangover there is gratitude. I understand the importance and true challenge of faith more than ever. I understand that we can complain and cry out along with the psalmists and also share with them in their hope and optimism for God’s deliverance. I understand more, to paraphrase Frederick Buechner, that because of the cross we know the worst things aren’t the last things.

I will nurse my hangover as I nurse my shoulder, forgiving myself for not being in the weight room at the moment but encouraging myself to at least sit with my gratitude journal more faithfully and tend to my daily meditations. The weight room is there and will wait for me as I wait for recovery and I will slowly find my mind and soul cleared with the coming of the Christ child and the promise of renewal and re-creation.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Leonard Parks says:

    Thank You. Love you. Merry Christmas to all.


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