I was at the front desk, putting books on reserve for next semester’s classes and chatting with the librarians. I know these women pretty well. Usually, we share complaints about the new carpet, which, frankly, is halucious. Green. Looks like it belongs in a gambling establishment.
Today, we spoke about politics, about the future, about fear. All four of us remarked on the past year. We talked about the nights interrupted by inexplicable wakefulness, about a constant dance with anxiety.
“It’s like waking up to find you aren’t in the same country. But you are,” one librarian said.
Folks, there are objective reasons to be fearful – for our environment, for voter rights, for immigrants and minorities – the list is not a short one.
But we are not helpless. We cannot afford to sink into inaction, or to be dulled by our dread. I say there is an antidote. Psalm 100, folks. Let us make a joyful noise.
Here are some ways to do just that.
Write, call, write and call again: Recently, I have been signing a lot of petitions. But I am also using technology to message my representatives. This morning, I wrote not only to each and every Republican white guy who serves me in the House and Senate. I did not think that the plan by other Republican white guys to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics seemed like a good way to start draining swamps (this move seemed more like part of an ongoing effort to build one). Yes, I know that this was a House Republican move, but I wrote my U.S. senators anyway, too. I am writing almost every week about something, and I am not planning to stop. I am making noise. Joyfully.
Write to Mr. Trump, too! I have been visiting Mr. Trump’s website, where he includes a page for Americans to “tell their stories” and give him ideas about “how to make America great again.” I’ve written about my ideas for making America great again by, for example, providing access to citizenship for hardworking immigrants. I’m going to continue writing Mr. Trump. Joyfully. Want to join me? For your convenience, the URL is right here:
Give, give, and find another opportunity to give: Want to give a friend a present? How about denying capitalism its chance to inundate the world with more trash and, instead, giving a present that counts? Make a donation to the most awesome cause you think your friend supports. My family did this for the holidays, supporting organizations which provide free legal aid to the underserved, which are desperately trying to get relief to Syrian refugees, which help immigrants adjust to America, which work here in this country on progressive causes – well, you get the idea. It was fun and utterly joyful gift-giving.
Make a joyful noise – together! I am happily looking forward to becoming the program director at UNC-Charlotte for our combined Judaic-Muslim Studies Minor which will be launched this very spring. I can’t wait to bring the students in these fields together and to generate ideas for extra-curricular programming for each other and for our university community. We have a lot to share with one another. We have a lot we can do together. We can and will do this joyfully. You have yet to meet all the people you can sing with, pray with and join to good effect. Look around.
Lately, on my list serve, we’ve been writing about what we are grateful for as an antidote to our anxieties and fears. People, what if we were writing each day what we had done or plan to do to make a joyful noise?
We need each other’s joy. We need our own. We need to build and strengthen and support the good in this broken world.
Hari’u l’YHVH kol ha’aretz…ivdu et YHVH b’simcha.