Just some hours ago, I was cracking up with my roommate. We were on the Jurassic Park ride at the Universal Studios theme park, and we had a great moment in which we lost ourselves in laughter following some unexpected screams.
There was a dinosaur on my side of the ride's car/boat thing, and it both startled me with its sudden appearance and it spat water at me. Abby saw me scream and jump and pointed and laughed.
She then immediately became startled by an identical dinosaur on her side of the car/boat, screamed and jumped, at which I pointed and laughed, which then set us into shared hysterics.
Oh what a little time can do to our moods.
Time, and dehydration, and hunger and fatigue and...
We got home and I got on the computer to see who had responded to my messages sent earlier in the day requesting snail mail addresses so that I could send Christmas cards.
I mean, I couldn't have known what I was walking into, but wow did it send me in a tailspin of anger, frustration, and isolated sadness.
What did I find (after getting off a phone call that irked me)?
Attacks in Paris.
Aggressive opinions about attacks in Paris.
Attack in Kenya.
Attack in Beirut.
Anger about Christmas decorations.
Anger in my own heart in response to all that I was seeing and my own hostile thoughts about certain issues.
Can I go back to the dinosaur ride? Back to the 3D Minion ride? Back to tall beers and sunshine and escaped reality?
But was it escaped reality? It felt real to me.
I was really interacting with real people, really enjoying ourselves, really having kind, polite conversation. Sharing laughs, sharing fries, sharing Chapstick.
I don't mean to sound crass, as if our time at an amusement park was superior to sharing intense opinions on social media.
I'm not saying that at all. AT ALL. I mean, have you read this blog? I have some opinions, and oh do I share them, very publicly.
What I am saying is I enjoyed today's reprieve. And that I was not prepared for the reality check I got this evening.
I almost posted to Facebook, "Tell me something good!" so that I could then stand by and wait for pictures of kittens and minions and Julie Andrews to show up on my feed. But I decided to take matters into my own hands and hammer out this emotion-laden blog post instead (since blogging is sort of how I cope sometimes).
I thought about writing a gratitude list, which would not have been a waste of time.
I am opting for some other options, however, tonight.
1. I talked with my roommate about how it felt to come down into a sudden valley. I told her she was making an appearance in the blog and she said, "Read me the part about me." I felt better.
2. I ate veggie soup, tipping the bowl to get the last of the vitamin-y broth.
3. I am considering going to an event tonight, though it is past my bedtime and I am not the happiest camper, because it would mean a lot to someone I love if I make an appearance.
4. I am counting my addresses.
I have a Christmas letter drafted, pictures of people (and cat) who I love printed, and holiday cards purchased. I am ready to send these supplies to people who have inspired, who have held up my weeping head, have caused me to cackle with delight, fed me, prayed for me, loved me.
I have envelopes that will head to both coasts and be peppered throughout the Heartland in between.
In light of current world events, in light of hatred, in light of death, I am considering these pieces of paper to be supplies for soldiers. Because it seems we are all fighting battles this season. I want to let some people know that their service in my life has not gone unnoticed in helping me fight mine.
I am pretending to be Martha Stewart, and while I am not, like some of my more impressive counterparts, making my cards from my own hands, I am reminding myself that this gesture, this keeping the Pony Express alive, may offer some hope. Not just to the people who will check their mailboxes in weeks to come, but for me as well.
73 addresses and counting. That's a lot of hope.
All I need are stamps.