One could also rewrite that with verbs: First grieve, then work.
I woke up at 5:45am, my body still not adjusted after the daylight savings time change. I went to sleep late, only intellectually grasping what was happening in the election. I woke up and, even before consciousness, I could feel my heart broken.
It’s noteworthy, isn’t it?, that the feeling called ‘broken’ is heavy like cement, or like I swallowed six hard-boiled eggs without chewing. A broken heart does not feel like shards of glass. It’s a fullness that jams your esophagus.
Next, crying. I had to do that, and a few texts to my friend Lisa. I called for a Day of Mourning. I was still in bed, and I lay there.
“First grief, then work.” I read that right before I made plans to give up on social media (that betrayer) and the New York Times and the radio. The phrase was tweeted by Ada Límon, a writer I don’t know, yet.
It’s true: I did flirt with the idea of not going to work, or of going to work and refusing to work, or of going to work and telling someone else whose fault it is. Because it’s not mine.
I sat up and wept some more, my back against the pillows I put there to prop myself up. I thought of my children, one at a time.
Then I thought of cleaning out the fridge. Really. And I thought of emailing someone I teach with and promising, “Tonight I will download all those papers and put them in our dropbox.”I imagined the downloading, the renaming of the poorly named files.
The list started to form after that.
Once, at least 25 years ago, when I worked at Harvard University in fund raising where the theme was always leadership — “We are training the future leaders of America, and the world” (I got so tired of that) — I said to my friend Joe that I regretted I was no visionary. He reassured me that there would be no movement without people like us to schedule the troops, order the supplies in advance, and make enough coffee to keep everyone energized. Everyone would also need a tshirt or uniform in a size to fit their width and height. I am good at logistics, and so was he, and there would be no progress without us.
I don’t know why that anecdote popped into my mind. I have no plans today to join a movement. But, you know, logistics. Continue reading