The Pendulum Swings Our Way

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, December 10, 2020 Comments Off on The Pendulum Swings Our Way
The Pendulum Swings Our Way

Just me and some dogs, porch sitting on a November-in-Louisiana morning, so wonderful I’m wondering if nature is apologizing for August and September. The sun is gentle, breeze is gentle, and for the first time since I-can’t-remember-when, my spirit is gentle…

As much as we’re impressed with the hydraulic power of these machines, let us not forget our role in cleaning up our homes. Limbs and shingles, trash and debris, most of it carried to the road by that most natural of machines, the human body.

The moment moves me. I could get away with leaking a tear, because the dogs won’t tattle. Part of me is wondering why I feel so good, as if this feeling was a recipe, and if I wrote it down, then I could replicate it, cup o’ this, tablespoon o’ that, two sticks of butter… If only

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All I have to do is say the year number, 2020, and all of you know what that means. If you’re from southwest Louisiana, the rest of the state, and the rest of the country, can line up behind us.

At the least, it’s like being a kid again, and the adults have all the say. Mostly it feels like a stolen year, more survived than lived.

But it’s November now. There’s no guarantee about 2021, but as for 2020, we can almost reach out and touch the end of it. A lot of the bad stuff is behind us. We’re done with hurricanes. The election is over. Thanksgiving and Christmas are up ahead.

The debris truck picked up the hurricane mess from the street the other day. It was like being a kid and catching Santa’s sleigh on your roof on Christmas Eve. Speaking of roofs, it’s still blue, but it’s enough to stop leaks and buy time.

The fence is fixed.

Everything done, is one more thing done, and I feel some momentum.

But it’s more than that.

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This nice feeling I’m having can only happen if I truly know it’s opposite. Only having felt weight first, can I appreciate feeling light. Only because we’ve experienced mourning, that descended into sorrow, can we be qualified for our happy to ascend to joy.

The longer you live, the more life feels like a pendulum. And it’s the pendulum I trust, when I’m hit or hurt.

The ole thing about nature, and how it proves God – the complexity and perfection of the seasons of nature, for instance – so it is also with the seasons of happy and sad, loss and healing.

I was texting a friend, on the one-year mark of a great loss, and I used these words, “From the outside…” because that’s how it is with all loss, great and small. Only the immediate know what it’s like to be immediately near the crater.

But my distance was also a measurement for me. I had no doubt – not any – that there would be healing. Why so sure? Personal experience. Every single time I have lost, time passes, and the offsetting gain is revealed.

Anything about me that is improved, was improved through loss. I was born with the ability to be sympathetic, but you’ve got to pay a high price to reach empathetic. Many a soldier, but to get a Purple Heart, requires shed blood. There is no past me that I would return to. I don’t want to pay that high price, and I don’t have to, because I did it already, and I am changed for the better by my hard times.

And so it will be, with 2020.

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For now, for right now, I will enjoy this moment. I see a flower waving in the breeze like a playing child. A dog near me just laid over on its side, content like a fed stomach. I’m sitting on the porch wearing overalls, house slippers, an ole tshirt, but this feels like the best kind of church. God feels very here, and His mysterious ways very clear.

In a year where nothing made sense, this moment makes sense. I imagine God winking at me, like my grandfather used to when I was a kid, when I had one of those a-ha moments. 2020 owes us its opposite. That’s how pendulums work. I’ll accept this moment, as a payment on balance.

I wish you a moment like this. It’ll come when it comes. Don’t demand it, just expect it. And when it hits, just sink into it, and respect the moment, with a little awe. These moments are really more about God’s design than our IOU. It’s an honor to be small and humble, when great power comes friendly your way.

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to the rule of opposites.

Readers wishing to put Uncle P in their will, or to order copies of the book version of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories, may reach him at

P.S.: What if at the moment of death, we were to realize that our entire life was one continual 2020? What if part of what makes heaven “heaven” is that we reach it fully experienced in what heaven isn’t?

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