After the Election


Fat lot of good it did.

My stomach feels sick because I’ve been crying. Curled up in a ball under my covers sobbing. I stayed up too late and woke up too early. And I know I’ll crash and burn in a few hours, but there’s no way I can sleep right now. I could give you the litany of my fears. I could share with you the catastrophic scenarios of the future playing out in my mind. I could share the terror gripping my heart as I realize that about half of the people in this country hold values in direct opposition to my own.

The bottom line is that I am scared: scared for myself, scared for my children, scared for people who aren’t male and people who aren’t white and people who aren’t straight and people who aren’t rich (and I’m frankly not sure how even the rich straight white men are going to handle this), scared for the health of people and the health of the planet . . . The list is endless and I will stop now. Because as scared as I am, I also realize that fear is what has landed us here in the first place.

I do not understand much about what happened with the election, but I understand this: when people are afraid they cling to false hopes and make poor decisions. When people are scared enough, the truth no longer matters. Fear has a way of narrowing our vision so that only those closest to us, those most like us, matter. Fear blinds us to creative possibilities. Fear robs us of the energy we need to live well in this world.

So as we face a dark reality this morning, we should grieve; we should be angry; we should acknowledge the dangerous possibilities of the future. But we cannot be overcome by fear. Because we need real hope and we need to make wise decisions. We desperately need truth-tellers, compassionate visionaries, creative problem solvers. And we need energy—we need more energy than we will be able to muster if we let fear take hold too tightly.

I don’t mean today, friends. Today we should cry and eat chocolate and be with friends and pray deep wordless prayers and get out in the sunshine (because the sun will rise despite it all). Today, we do what we need to do to get through.

Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, though, it will be time to wipe our tears and open our eyes and get to work. I realize there is an awful lot of work to do. Perhaps we need a collective chore chart: you make sure people know that sexual assault is unacceptable; I’ll repeat “black lives matter” over and over and over again; she can work on disability rights and he can promote clean energy policies and another person can fight for rational gun laws and someone can advocate for immigrants and someone else for LGBTQ people and . . . Maybe I’ll make a sign-up genius.

It’s hard to know exactly how to move forward. But I trust there is a way. For now, (after the chocolate) I’m going to start with two of the most common commandments in scripture: Do not be afraid. Love one another.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Do not be afraid. Love one another.

And, of course, “Lord, have mercy.”


16 thoughts on “After the Election

  1. Sign me up! Seriously! We need to groom our kids and grandkids for public service. Plan for the election of 2060 — 16-year-old kids now will be 60 then. We owe it to them to mentor them, guide them, support them. And yes, I mean our girls!

  2. Amen, and Amen. God is still here and He is still in control. We need to pray for our new elected “leaders” as commanded in the Bible. We must also continue to live as Jesus taught us to live.

  3. Thank you!! The words of the music we sing so often went through my mind this morning, “when Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing…” . Well, we aren’t there yet, but unless we begin with ourselves in this difficult reality, we will not get there at all, so in the quiet of prayer we must begin that journey toward love. Thanks to those who’ve written. I’m an elderly grandma and I must be on that journey, too. We owe it to all the young people.

  4. Thanks Joanna! Have managed to find a few places of helpful and hopeful thoughts today, and this is one of them. As I slowly recover from the shock, I find myself drawn to Creative Love, Creative Engagement, and Creative Resistance. But, like you said, providing myself some space today to grieve, especially for those, including family and close friends, who are experiencing even greater feelings of vulnerability than I.

  5. Margarent Feinberg in her study, “Fight Back with Joy”, tells about poking holes in the darkness. Those of us who felt in the dark after the election are being called to share our light. I’ll add don’t be afraid and love one another to my growing list of things I can do for those who need their hope renewed. Thank you for sharing how so many of us felt last night and this morning.You poked a hole in the dark for me!

    • I received a Christmas mailing from the Carter Center yesterday. There was a card inside that I’m posting on my bathroom mirror so I’ll see it every day at least for the next four years. It says “IMAGINE PEACE.” It will remind me of who I’m called to be.

  6. Like other responders, the unimaginable has occurred. Undocumented people are terrified, who knows about healthcare, can the planet survive the meager steps taken if environmental concerns are crushed… what I am wondering is if Democrates will follow the path of Republicans these past 8 years by not participating or collaborating insuring gridlock, and generally obfuscate to hamstring any movement anywhere, everytime, even to their own detriment. That pesky “love your enemies…” is such a bummer!

  7. I prayed for God’s will in this election. Trump is now the president-elect. I have to believe that it was God’s will. Trump is a powerful man who now has a powerful position. Imagine if he were on fire for our Lord! Now that is something to pray about! That is something to hope for. Disappointed or not, we do need to pray for our country, the people and for our leaders.

  8. Truer words were never spoken. Thank you. We certainly will need ‘a collective chore chart’ to clean up the mess we will inherit in 2020. Sign me up! In the meantime I am turning up my love light, putting on a smile and heading out to be the eyes, hands and heart of Christ in the world.

  9. Well, I have certainly been eating chocolate! Not exactly non-stop, but close.:-) Not crying non-stop, either, though some days are still a huge effort to keep the tears inside. As we now know, there were many eligible voters who did not vote, so this is definitely not a mandate for those in office. In fact, the majority happens to be the ones who voted differently! Always has been puzzling to me. Continuing to send hugs and love to you and your lovely family!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s