Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Orange Grove: Being a Brief Reflection on Current Political Affairs and the Potential Afterlife

In the weeks before my Grandma Russell died, she talked to my grandpa and her kids about an orange grove. At this point, she was only somewhat lucid. She’d been ill for a long time and it had taken a toll. But my mom says that when she spoke of the orange grove she seemed especially certain of herself.

The idea was a simple one. Our whole family, extended out to all the spouses, families of spouses, and anyone else who wanted to come, really, would move to an orange grove. We would buy a large tract of land and plant hundreds of orange trees. Those of us living there would tend the oranges and live, all together, happily. It was a fair plan. The basis of which was her desire to have all the people she loved close to her and happy. I dream of the orange grove.

~ ~ ~

I've realized in recent years that my grandma's death affected my mom more than I grasped at the time. She’s not as open as she used to be. In an attempt to cope with losing her mother, she turned to religion. While this is often a helpful course of action, it may have done her a disservice. Sometimes I hardly recognize her. I often wonder what my grandma would think of it. 

I’ve struggled with the concept of religion for most of my adult life. I can’t reconcile the pain and suffering in the world with the concept of an almighty “good” at the helm of everything. Regardless of how religion would explain the bad, I just want the orange grove.

Generally, I like to think of myself as hopeful

In times such as we find ourselves now, however, that hope is stretched thinner. I don’t know how to process the level of hate we seem to have reached as a society. I don’t know what it means when people who raised me to believe that “red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in his sight,” now support bigoted and discriminatory ideas in the name of religion and “safety.” I don’t know what steps to take to combat the vast misinformation that is polluting the minds of millions. I don’t even know where to start.

At this point, I try to live my life the best I can. I aim to treat others with kindness, love, and respect. I understand that the peaceful world I dream of is probably just that, a dream. So I’m left with hope. Hope that I can make some kind of change. Hope that I can leave the world even a bit better than I found it. Hope for a potential ever after. For me, I think it might be an orange grove.

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