I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that what many of us really want this holiday season (desire so deeply, in fact, that maybe we can’t even breathe it aloud), is a shot at peace on Earth. With terror descending on Paris and Beirut; with Americans gunned down at a holiday gathering in San Bernardino; with the carnage repeated endlessly in media loops, the entire world seems to be churning in violence. A few days ago there was a bomb scare near my house in east Tacoma. Before I knew about it, I received a recorded message on my cell from Pierce County police saying the explosive had been disarmed. A 44-year old former soldier storing a live anti-tank explosive device on his roof was arrested and later released. (Allegedly he had no intention of using it).
Even in this jittery atmosphere, one of the things I’m most grateful for this season is to live in Tacoma, Washington. Nevermind the incendiary press and trash talk this city regularly gets in Seattle media; this is an amazingly cohesive, creative, progressive community where individual people matter. The liminal edge is where things happen. It’s also a place where conversations between people with differing viewpoints take place without the goal of decimating the opposition. I moved here from Seattle 12 years ago and have never looked back. I’ve met a lot of people who work quietly, energetically (and brilliantly) to make this city a more beautiful, safe, hospitable, culturally thriving and economically viable place. Maybe it’s because of the lack of hype that Tacoma is able to do it so well. Maybe it’s because the city isn’t endlessly loud and self-congratulatory that we don’t grab headlines.
When the world feels like it’s collapsing and our shared humanity is shaken, this is where I want to be.