I was thinking today how much I dislike this time of year. Sure, football is starting, which is wicked good. But there are several things that also happen that I can't stand. Some of them are pretty minor (baseball playoffs, mosquito invasion). But a couple are pretty big. One is the annual dance of death with the Hurricane conga line in the Atlantic. You know, I grew up in Florida. For 34 years I have lived here. And until 2004, I never really dreaded hurricane season. I didn't like it - that's for sure. But I can't remember going through a hurricane until we got hammered by three in a month in 2004. After that, I just hate watching the weather and seeing those monster storms lined up. Part of it is due to my kids. They hate the storms. Both of the older ones went through the 2004 season. Josiah especially remembers it. They can't stand the entire concept.
In addition, it gets to be a really complicated way to look at events - like some sort of ultra-twisted ethics puzzle. I don't want the storm to hit me, but to miss me it has to hit somewhere else. I was worried about this Gustav storm. And I was thrilled that it turned to miss us, until I realized that it was going to bust up New Orleans (same thing happened with Katrina). Now there is Hanna out there. I am rooting for it to miss us, but I don't want it to hit anywhere else either. It's getting to be to where I hate the entire season.
The other thing I hate is the political season. It seems like some variation of it happens every single year. But every four years we get this super-duper-hatemonger extravaganza. The Presidential election. Being passionate about something is great. I know that I have made my opinions known on this blog before about candidates. [Lots of good it did.] Opinions and feelings are good. That is what this country was built on - the merging and melding of ideas. What I can't stand is the hatred and vitriol that is spewed over the course of the election process. It is ridiculous.
On my Facebook the other day, one of the people that I knew in high school actually wrote that she wished McCain had died in the POW camp. WHAT?!?! How is that even close to appropriate? People have sent out dozens of emails about Obama - slandering him and his family. Now, Sarah Palin is facing the same character assassination. I swear that other countries must laugh their butts off at how we handle these elections. We spend months and months insulting and berating candidates, bashing them time and again, insulting them until it is amazing that anyone would even trust them at all. Then the one party who is the least offensive and incompetent squeaks out a win. And we spend the next three years with half the country hating the winner. Woo hoo! Democracy at work.
I especially can't stand how this plays out in the Christian community. The majority of "fundamentalist evangelicals" are Republican sympathizers. So, those people who dare to venture to the other side are usually ridiculed for it. And, as a result, they seem to feel it necessary to constantly either justify their position or fight like a cornered wolverine. Yes, this is definitely how a church groups should act. Definitely. It is weird, too. If Christians really believed what is taught in Ecclesiastes and Proverbs and 1 Peter, then they would believe that God is the one who chooses the rulers anyway. So our in-fighting and out-fighting seems kind of pointless, right?
But, my griping isn't going to change either of the things bothering me. Hurricanes aren't going to stop coming. And the elections wars are going to get worse as the two sides get further apart. I guess the key to do my best to make it through this season unscathed. Be prepared, be informed, be aware. I can't for a moment forget who is really in control. And I need to extend love and mercy to everyone around me - those with opposing views, victims of the storm. Even still, I can't wait until it is Thanksgiving. The only swirling white caps will be the mashed potatoes, not the satellite image. And the only steaming turkey will be on the table - not the podium.