nothing but shibboleth

“Because there is something in the touch of flesh with flesh which abrogates, cuts sharp and straight across the devious intricate channels of decorous ordering, which enemies as well as lovers know because it makes them both:—touch and touch of that which is the citadel of the central I-Am’s private own: not spirit, soul; the liquorish and ungirdled mind is anyone’s to take in any darkened hallway of this earthly tenement. But let flesh touch with flesh, and watch the fall of all the eggshell shibboleth of caste and color too.
”

{Absalom, Absalom!, W. Faulkner}

*******

I keep ruminating on this passage that my mind somehow dredged up today from sophomore year Am Lit (only a mere decade ago…). I feel like I’ve spent the day cycling through the first five stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression…lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been a pretty bleak 24+ hours. Yet I have witnessed intermittent glimmers of kindness, compassion, resilience, grace — all of which I believe will coalesce into something truly beautiful and powerful once the dust has settled and people have grieved and healed. At the end of the day, the divisiveness, the rhetoric of fear and bigotry, the vitriol: it’s nothing but eggshell shibboleth. It can and will be overcome.  We can trust that we don’t need to have the answers right now, but we can love because we were first loved. And that gives me hope in a season where hope has been pretty damn elusive, both personally and universally.

As an aside — when your doctor offers to write you a prescription for Xanax the week before the election…you say YES. Lesson learned.