My wife’s therapist recently told her that many of her patients are experiencing high levels of anxiety over the presidential election. The therapist also said that many of her colleagues are seeing something similar with their patients.
And are we surprised? From our two major parties we have one candidate who can be maddeningly opaque and who seems to believe that ordinary rules shouldn’t apply to her; and another candidate who is vengeful, short-tempered, unrelentingly untruthful, racist, and a fear-mongerer, and who has been accused of about a dozen instances of sexual harassment and abuse.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that “a sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for one as for the other.” That we’ve had to think so much about this dumpster fire of a presidential election is as good a sign as any of just how sick our society is. And we’re stuck with thinking about it for at least another week, though it will probably be much longer.
But Lewis also warned that thinking about politics shouldn’t be regarded as “the natural food of the mind”. We think about politics “only in order to be able to think of something else.” The danger is that what “was undertaken for the sake of health” can itself become “a new and deadly disease.”
Between now and November 8 — and certainly after November 8 — I encourage you to find ways of reacquainting yourself with the stuff of health and wholeness: go for a walk or hike, meet a neighbor, linger over a meal with family and friends, pray or meditate, make something with your own two hands, read poetry (I recommend Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, and Anne Porter).… Read the rest