I love Peggy Noonan. I really do. In fact, she’s the only older (than me) woman of which I’ve said “..if I weren’t married…” .
Here article today so perfectly catches my mood in this post election. My favorite part:
I was introduced at a little podium and began to speak and the people in the back continued their racket … (snip)… I looked out at them and said
if they didn’t simmer down I’d start to sing, which would be terrible for them.
The roar continued. All I could think to do at that point was talk through it and over it and do my best and say what I had to say and introduce the next speaker, a U.S. senator.
He–it was Arlen Specter–understood the room. He took the podium, readjusted the mike, smiled and said, “Ssssshhhhhhhh.”
He said it very softly, drawing it out, then letting the sound gently disappear. Then he said it again, even softer.
And the crowd began to quiet.
The senator’s wife leaned toward me and explained, consolingly, “You didn’t know, but when the crowd won’t stop you have to go ‘Ssssshhhhhhhh.’ It’s the only thing that works.”
“Why does it work?” I asked.
She said she thought it might be something in the human brain that responds, even in adulthood, to the first sound your mother made to you when you were an infant and fussing.
Peggy then dedicates the rest of her article to reminding us that even though we’ve just been through a very tough election, even though there are many pressing issues in the world that we feel compelled to yap about, we need to take a little time and let it all be.
She quotes the Psalmist :
Be still and know that I am God.
This is one of those concepts where Judeo-Christianity converges with Buddhism and Hinduism. We are drawn to the stillness and peace that always seem to escape our grasp, because we can’t let go. This is currently true of liberals and conservatives, Iraq War proponents and anti-war zealots, Americans and Europeans.
This weekend, I will take Noonan’s advice. No politics. No arguing about the war. No Sunday talk shows. Instead I’ll find a quiet place and read the Bible. Have a long talk with my wife. Play with my kids. Watch the Titans lose again (now that their season is effectively over, I can watch with bemused detatchment). Sing and play mandolin in church.
This is the long breath after the climb up the ladder and before the plunge. The election is over. For good or ill, our political fate in the USA has been decided. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas are coming. The stresses involved in that season are the antithesis of “Peace on Earth”. This is my only chance.
My DVR is almost full. Does watching episodes of “Lost” and “CSI/NY ” qualify as “being still”?