Election 2016 is nearly in the books. Nervous anticipation hangs everywhere; the words, “I’ll be so glad when it’s over,” are exchanged again and again in coffee shops, at train stops and every other locale where two or more are gathered.
Throw in a stewed mess of negative campaigning (what an understatement!) that stirs people into an emotional frenzy and I’m beginning to believe that our next president will need a divine intervention to repair the damage done to the collective American psyche.
My Australian friend Patricia says watching the American presidential campaign is like watching the best reality TV ever!
Too, too much!
I find the entire spectacle childish and sad. There’s a downside to living in a time when our culture is seemingly controlled by social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love the connectivity and potential for good that social media affords us, not to mention that I make my living working with social media platforms.
But for months, every sound bite and pictorial moment among the political candidates has become embedded in the global Twitter feed and therefore deemed newsworthy. My journalist’s heart weeps.
In Texas, we can choose to cast an early ballot so last Wednesday I approached the polling booth, not with excitement as I usually do, but with trepidation. I did not want to vote for either candidate. I felt a surge of resentment just as the polling judge announced, “We have a first-time voter!”
The young woman looked so eager and fresh-faced as she waved to the room.
“Bless her heart,” I thought to myself. What an awful, worn out election to be casting her first presidential vote.
Then I found myself wondering who is blessing the nation’s heart.
A Sunday surrender
At church yesterday, I got the reminder I needed of who is blessing us all. As dark as our nation’s time seems right now, God–insert your name for the Divine–always offers light. The beauty of humanhood is we get to choose to walk in the light and to send the shadows away beyond our hula hoop.
With light comes hope and who among us doesn’t want to carry that torch? I was also reminded during Sunday service at Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ, that choosing to bear the light of hope is carrying the mission of countless other masters of hope and peace who came before us. Certainly Jesus, but also the Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. were saints in that they lived and walked in light and love.
We would do well to emulate them. And we do.
You are an everyday saint when you speak words of hope to another and each time you encourage inclusivity instead of division. You are an everyday saint each time to listen thoughtfully without judgment or derision. You are an everyday saint when you see the world with eyes of compassion and when you touch someone else with your peace.
The votes that we cast in this presidential election are crucial–I’m praying for a future filled with optimism and goodwill among those who win their chosen offices.
But we have a higher calling. May you be blessed with an abundance of hope, love and peace this week, and in your blessing, pay it forward.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile:maryhere