Carol A. Hand
On this first day many celebrate as a new year, I find myself compelled to speak as honestly as I can. It’s true that my life has not been as easy or privileged as some would imagine. It’s also true that my life has been blessed in too many ways to count. Many may think me crazy or delusional for what I am about to share. Ancestors have appeared to me during waking times to protect and guide me through rough patches. Wise beings have visited me with messages in dreams. And strong intuitions have warned me of dangers and opportunities as well.
I’m deeply grateful for the presence of the ancestors and wise beings in my life. I’m not sure I would have survived without them. Of course, being willful and independent, I didn’t always listen. And of course there was always a hefty price to pay.
I also wish to acknowledge my gratitude for the old and new blogging friends who have enriched my life in so many ways. Thank you.
Recent events have made me remember why I began blogging. There were stories and insights I felt compelled to share. You know, those messages that sometimes seem to flow through you and demand to be given voice. And then, as it happens, that purpose was compromised along the way. The appeal of attracting followers, writing posts that were “liked,” sometimes attenuated or muted my voice. But a funny thing happened when this blog achieved something I never envisioned in 2016, almost three years after it began. More than 1,000 followers, and almost 3,000 views one day. It was empty without meaningful dialogue and a sense of genuine connection.
Let me be honest and risk making people angry. A sizable number of my newer followers appear to only be interested in posting selfies to sell clothing and makeup and never like a post or leave a comment, thoughtful or otherwise. Or they’re new bloggers who seem to follow this blog, any blog, just to build their own following, again with no attempt to connect. Perhaps it’s foolish, but I do often follow them back because I honor their right to perspectives that differ from mine. I do learn a bit about worldviews that I might not encounter elsewhere. And the 3,000 views? Almost all were from Facebook, empty visits that, quite frankly, merely felt voyeuristic from a social medium that I am avoiding these days except to connect with my grandson.
As I responded to a comment from a dear friend yesterday,
“Thank you so much, ***. I don’t have the words to tell you how much your kind and thoughtful comments mean to me. I am weary at the moment and feel powerless to change the world my grandchildren will inherit. They’re lovely gentle souls and like all people everywhere, they have a right to live in peace and be treated with kindness and dignity. I will continue to do what I can anyway because I love them and I care about the earth. But it’s hard to keep hope alive sometimes.”
“Your kindness has given me a good reason to keep chipping away, ***. I’m deeply grateful. I had been contemplating whether to continue blogging or give it up. Posts and comments from friends like you make it well worth the effort.”
Weary or not, there’s work to do. After trying to clear ice from my car and driveway, I spent time playing a game with my soon-to-be-ten-year-old granddaughter, tell me a story (by eeboo corporation).
“Let’s play a game, Ava,” Ahma said.
“Okay, but I don’t know the rules,” Ava replied.
“Well, let’s read the directions.”
“ Hmm,” Ahma said after she skimmed the directions. “They don’t say much, so let’s make up our own. How about if I just deal out cards to each of us?”
“Yeah, that would work.”
“ How many do you think we should each get? Four? Five? Seven?”
“Five would be good.”
“Five it is, then Ava.”
And so we began weaving stories from the five picture cards before us, writing down each other’s stories as we went. First it was Ava’s turn to tell a story, and then, mine. (English is a hard language to learn how to spell!)
“Ahma, You’re a better storyteller.”
“It’s what I do, Ava. I’m a storyteller. I’ve had practice. I learned how to do it from others a long time ago. It’s something we learn how to do from someone else and this is my chance to help you learn how to tell your own stories.”
Just before Mom came, we packed the game away and created a special folder to hold our stories. We’ll keep adding new ones each time my granddaughter’s here. It’s such a small thing. But it’s something very special my granddaughter and i could do together on this first day of a new year to help build a better future.
As we embark on the journey of a new year, however we mark the beginning, I have a special wish. May we all breathe kinder stories into being for the next generations. Even when we’re weary.