Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Nature’s fury turned inward

wild nor’easter

wild nor’easter
whiplashes its way
through the night

And we aren’t even at the center of the storm. Fury comes to mind. Along with chaos, heavy wet snow, traffic at a near standstill, unpredictable wind gusts and icy cold. Our  generator has run since about 6pm last night. The sun is out and the damage is visible. Not much in our yard, but a mid-size tree fell during the night, roots and all, across our neighbor’s driveway. It was chaotic.

I can’t help thinking about our President and the current state of our disunion. Chaotic. I know…some think chaos is inevitably linked to creativity. Perhaps it is.

I think of it as a sign of breakdown that may or may not end well. Especially when chaos comes to dominate the multiple pronouncements, tweets, behaviors, faces and voices of POTUS. It’s so all-encompassing that I’m tempted to expect and demand nothing better. Or adjust to it as the new normal.

Many years ago, for three seemingly endless years, I had a Dean who thrived on chaos. The kind he created around himself and across the seminary daily. I remember vividly the day I figured out how to comport myself in his presence.

  • Say as little as possible.
  • Don’t answer questions about any of my colleagues.
  • Stick to the point and get out the door as quickly as possible.

That day I knew exactly who was in his office before I went in for my appointment. It was someone I worked with often, and depended upon as a faculty colleague. Almost as soon as I sat down across from the Dean’s desk, he began asking questions about the colleague who had just left the room. I refused to answer, and got my agenda on the table.

I also knew that the moment the next person walked through the door, the questions would be about me. Indeed, he found ways of gathering bits of information and turning them to his own benefit. I knew I was on his hit list, as were several other colleagues.

There had been a warning sign I missed the very first day I met him. I was on the search committee tasked with finding candidates to be our next dean. He was one of several we interviewed in person.

He didn’t know me prior to that day. Yet the moment he walked into the committee room he broke out into a great big smile, came straight over to shake my hand and tell me how much he had heard about me and how much he was looking forward to meeting me. Indeed. Had I only realized….I’d just met another version of divide and conquer.

Through a series of unexpected events, he became our Dean and left us broken and divided as a faculty, not sure what had just hit us. We were reluctant to talk with each other about it until he was gone and we knew we were in safe space away from the seminary.

I credit our interim Dean for calling us together in a hospitable setting. Many, including me, carried unexpressed shame, anger and tears that broke out when we met to process what had happened.

Never again. Chaos as a management technique was like living hell. I’d rather endure a fierce Nor’easter any day or night.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 March 2018
Photo found at – January 2018 Nor’easter off the East coast of the USA

We don’t marry disaster

We don’t marry disaster
It marries us
Unrelenting drought
Genocidal ethnic cleansing
Polio and opioid epidemics
Avalanches of pain and anguish
Wild fires breathing fury
Hurricanes and floods of destruction
Nature’s fury turned inward
Human fury turned outward
Multiplied exponentially

See the pictures in my scrapbook?
Like pages of a newspaper
Good news one day
Disaster the next
See that man who’s smiling?
That beautiful woman over there?
Those precious children looking your way?
The young people who think no one is looking?
There they were just yesterday
And now…..

What’s to become of us?
The ‘us’ that doesn’t exist anymore
Families torn apart
Friends for life now foes forever
Enemies within and without
In whom do we trust?
In whom do we place our hope?
False saviors arise from glowing ashes
Snake oil dealers hawk their sleazy wares

I get up in the morning
And look outside, up toward the heavens
Where the bright face of a newly waning moon
Reflects the light of a new day just dawning.
Two birds swoop silently together into an oak tree
High overhead a silver airplane leaves a misty trail
Fluffy clouds drift beneath a deep blue sky
Signs of hope and reason enough to get up
And live yet another day in my small corner
Of this world filled with small people,
Large hearts and infectious smiles.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 September 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompts: Finite; Crescendo

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