When last I left my blog, I was bouncing in my office chair, gushing about Sam’s first vote and the joy of witnessing kindness at the polls. My spirit was buoyed by white shirts and pantsuits, I Voted stickers and a Facebook feed full of post-voting selfies, beautiful in its diversity. All across the nation my lovely family and friends were waving flags, offering rides, and celebrating being American.
Twenty four hours later, my six foot four, eighteen year old son came to our bedside as Todd and I were still lying there, dumbstruck and heartsick. “Can I get in with you?” he asked. We scooted over and made room, and he lay down beside me in his school clothes and tennis shoes and fingered my hair, the way I used to do for him whenever he was sad or afraid.
“Enough is enough. Move forward,” posted a Facebook friend. No, I can’t move forward yet. I can hardly move at all.
“You lost. Get over it,” someone else wrote. I sighed a deep sigh and closed my eyes. But that’s not even it, I thought. I’ve been on the losing side before and I remember how it felt. I was disappointed and worried, but I got back up.
This one? This election is different.
I could make you a list of reasons why it grieves me so, and I bet you know what I’d say, no matter the side you’re on. I could say that I’m deeply saddened that we elected a bully with no credentials. I could say that we chose a racist and a misogynist, and honestly, if you don’t agree with this, I wonder if you really know what those words mean. I could say that because he won, I fear for my Muslim friends, for friends with brown skin or black skin, for children who’ve been adopted from other countries, for families that look different. You think things don’t happen? I know they do because they’ve already happened to people I love.
But ever since Wednesday, I’ve sensed that there is more to my grief, something deeper and even more frightening to me. So I’ve wracked my brain and talked to my friends, trying to figure it out. This morning, I sat in my pastor’s office and talked and listened. I think I know what it is now, and I don’t like it. I don’t like what I’ve realized about myself.
I don’t want to see God in people who disagree with me.
That is not good. That is not Christ-like. That is not something to put in bold. I guess I’m just trying to make myself face it.
See, here’s the thing that has gotten under my skin so much: people I know and love, people that I’m absolutely certain love God and want to serve God, some of these very people voted for this man. And I don’t understand how that can be. And I don’t really want to understand it. How could it be true that fellow earnest followers of Christ could see things so differently than I do?
But they do.
Apparently they were able to look past all that I see and still support him. (I’ve heard all the reasons, so you don’t need to tell me.) It makes me sad, but it also makes me know that I have some inner work to do. God enters the heart of any believer. God is in each one. So I have to stop using my invisible marker and putting question marks by their names. I hope that they offer me the same generosity, but even if they don’t, it’s something I need to learn.
Don’t think that I’m saying that I’m ready to trade in my values, that we should link arms and have a rousing singalong of Amazing Grace and all just try to get along. That’s not it at all. On the contrary. I’m pumping myself up to call out racism where I see it, to stand up against bullying, to fight against disrespect and sexism wherever I find it, to do it with more vigor than I ever have, outside the church and inside it too. I’m fired up and ready to go, as they say.
What I am saying is that in the days ahead, I am going to try very hard to resist the temptation to unfollow or self segregate with like minded people. I’m going to try to refrain from playing judge as to who is a real Christian and who isn’t, because it’s not my job and besides, how the heck do I know? If you’re reading this and wondering if I’ve put a question mark by your name, please forgive me. I don’t have the right to do that and I’m sorry. Please know that I’m asking God to forgive me on this and to help me do better.
So what is our job? What is our job right now, in this mess we’re in?
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
May God help us all.