The Frustration Jar

A bonus post this weekend because I felt…compelled.

Over the past six months, it has become apparent to me that we, as a people, and especially as Christians, are not interested in hearing about other people’s frustrations. People make statements that imply dealing with this pandemic should be easy when it is anything but, and if it’s not easy, the implication is you’re not a good enough Christian.

I believe this is why we’ve started to boil over as a nation. Don’t believe me? I’ll share a few of those statements with you. “Money doesn’t matter.” It sure does when you’re about to be homeless, or you’re hungry. “You need to social distance.” I’m lonely, and I really need human contact so I won’t commit suicide. (By the way, September is Suicide Prevention Month.) “Why aren’t you wearing a mask?” I experience PTSD from having my face covered.

Here’s some more. “You need to stay home, or you’ll spread Covid.” (said by someone who can work from home) I can’t stay at home. I’m an essential worker, and I need to work. “Your business shouldn’t be open. The government says so.” If I don’t work, I won’t eat. Business owners don’t get unemployment. “You didn’t save enough money.” Did anyone expect this pandemic to last for six months and probably a lot longer? I’m not even including the fear, the racial tensions, or other illnesses in my statements though we all know they’re there.

When we don’t share our frustrations, they get put into our frustration jars. They fill them over and over until there’s no room for any more. Then, they burst either noisily or quietly. (Please understand. I don’t advocate bad behavior) But, all these frustrations need a place to go.

What are the solutions? I believe every time we listen without judging it loosens the load. I think every time we can solve a problem the level goes down, and the jar stays whole. When we show courage, we give another person courage. When we show love, people see Jesus.

Please, can we do this? Can we have the human contact necessary to survive as a species? Can we keep our jars whole so we don’t have to experience the alternative?

Dream Catcher vs Dream Chaser

Starting with this post, I plan on changing over to more writing-themed posts. Things have been swirling in my head on topics that might be interesting to my readership, small that it might be. 🙂 So, today’s title. What does it have to do with writing? The simple answer is it has something to do with my writing. Since last year, I’ve been working on a novel I’ve tentatively entitled Dream Catchers. During the 1960s, my main character encounters a group of aliens who help her and other marginalized people to become astronauts. It made sense as a title. I knew it was a Native American term though. I even bought one to hang on my door, but I didn’t do any other research much to my neglect.

It has become apparent over the last few days though that doing the research is important. Why? Because I saw another term as a hashtag related to the death of Chadwick Boseman last Friday. The term is dream chaser. Boseman certainly did chase his dreams during his career and his life, especially over the last four years. I saw him act in Marvel movies such as Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and particularly Black Panther which started his role as T’Challa, King of Wakanda. But, while I could wax poetic about the actor and what he meant to the world, that’s not the point of today’s post. Dream catchers and dream chasers are.

Wikipedia defines a dream catcher as this. “A handmade willow hoop, on which is woven a net or web. The dreamcatcher may also include sacred items such as certain feathers or beads. Traditionally, they are often hung over a cradle as protection.” The definition and history of the term also made it pretty clear that it had been misappropriated by others who are not of Native American culture. So, is it still good for me to use it as a title? To answer that question, I would need to decide if I wanted to do what everyone else is doing in using the title.  Also, does the title fit with the book I’m writing?  For this title though, I’m no longer sure it fits what I’m writing. That is if I want to be true to the Native American definition.

Then, there are dream chasers. According to Google, several things include the name dream chaser. A spaceplane, an album, clothing, and jewelry. Enough of a variety that I think it would be okay if there was a book entitle Dream Chasers. But, would it be appropriate for what I’m writing. Part of me lands strongly in the “yes” column because of a definition in a Medium post by Chris Coleman in 2016. “A dreamchaser is an individual with the courage to follow their heart and the belief to succeed in the path that they take.” Wow, this is exactly how I see Lily, my main character, and how I want to see myself. (Note–I need to put this quote in my quote book.)

I guess I answered my question then. The working title of my novel is now Dream Chasers. It’s a better fit.

As we move into September, I would be thrilled to take a shot at questions you have about your writing. Just let me know in the comments.