Thursday, November 10, 2016

moving forward

It's Thursday. Two days since I dropped off my ballot, well researched and varied among Democrats and Republicans, male and female. But the top was clearly marked for Hillary Rodham Clinton. I believed and still believe that she was the best candidate on the ballot. One day since I found out that our President-elect is a man named Donald Trump.

In that day, I have cried and screamed. I have taken my no-bra, smelly teeth, pajama wearing self and my pajama wearing toddler to the grocery store for doughnuts because I couldn't think about feeding the small humans breakfast and because deep-fried, sugary carbs seemed like as good an idea as anything. I have seen the first waves of racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred float across my computer screen like a horrifying dream. I have talked with my kids many, many times.

In that day, I gave myself time to be sad. I gave myself time to eat doughnuts and sit in my dirty pajamas and read books under warm blankets with my kiddos, cry and laugh and rant.

In that day, I spent too much time staring at a computer screen. I've read the article that says we're all going to hell in a handbasket, then another that says it won't be so bad, another that says we're royally screwed, another that says to pause, breathe, and give it time. I've tried to deliver thoughtful responses to ridiculously tricky situations and horribly racist statements, and sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed. When I realized that I really failed, I went back to delete my response and let the person know I had more time to reflect and realized it wasn't helpful or constructive. I'm still learning and growing. Aren't we all?

That day is over. Yesterday was the time to be sad; today is the time to rally. Today the kids and I bake bread for our church to sell at the Alternative Gift Fair benefiting many local non-profit organizations. We write thank you notes to a family friend who gave them candy for Halloween. We read books and build with magna-blocks and study Latin and trace maps.

I'm not sure what's ahead. There is uncertainty, and even more uncertainty than usual with a changing of the President considering our President-elect has no public service for us to base our best guesses on. In spite of national and international uncertainties, I am certain that when I look at this houseful of beautiful, intelligent, kind, flawed, loving kids, I have hope. How could I not? I am certain that the person residing in the White House doesn't change who we are and what we stand for and how we love.

I wake up clinging to the good of people and I go to sleep clinging to the same darn thing. Some days it leaves my knuckles white, all of that clinging. I wake up clinging to belief in the power of God and the love of Jesus and I go to sleep clinging to the same darn things. Some days the nails chip and break, what with all of that clinging.

I have to believe that most people want what is best for our country; we just believe there are different ways to get there. I have to believe that we have more commonalities than differences. I have to believe that more people will stand up, loudly, proudly, and vocally, when we see injustices against any of our brothers and sisters. I have to believe that love and light will win.

So where do we go from here? Where do I go from here? The kids and I have talked about the increased need to stand alongside those who are being mistreated. We've talked about volunteering our time. We've talked about being the peace and love that this world so badly needs. Then we argued about who had to clean up the Lego's in the family room, but we're not shooting for perfection here, people. Because we live in an unincorporated town, there is no traditional local government. That makes my quest to get more involved in local politics trickier, but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination. There are still refugees to support and hurting kids to love and struggling families to lift up. Meals to pack, hugs to share, money to donate, time to volunteer. More time to listen and seek understanding in our beautiful and terrible world. (quote by the brilliant Frederick Buechner.)

At this point it's just babbling. I just needed to put words on "paper." I just needed a reference point, a before, for what's to come for our family and country and world. I cling to hope. I do a lot of clinging these days. Whether you're cheering the outcome or lamenting the future or some in between hopeful hand wringing, we're all clinging to something. May we cling, celebrate, and lament together. May we all believe we are Stronger Together, even if we didn't vote for the woman behind the slogan.

Peace for the journey,

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