Archive for November, 2016

The beginning of…

Posted: November 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

(You might want to read yesterday’s post titled “The day after…” if you haven’t already read it, before reading “The beginning of…” )

“The beginning of…” is one of several phrases we use when on the threshold of momentous change. That phrase often, though not always, embodies hope. Where there is hope there is life. Without hope the quality of—and often the desire for—life diminishes. Hope gives life vitality. Within the Christian context, hope is inextricably connected to faith. In a letter titled “Hebrews” in Christian scripture, the author writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

The New York Times described that hope as glee for some people and grief for others. There are many things people hope for in the beginning of the new president’s tenure. It is apparent that many people hope for change. The President Elect has promised to fulfill that hope. I hope for other things. Yet before I can hope, before I can experience the joy of life, I grieve for the loss of a once hoped for future, a grief many people share with me.

Grief cannot be rushed. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ seminal work On Death and Dying (1969) identifies five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—through which one passes anytime they experience loss. All five stages are experienced when one grieves even though one may move through one or more stages quickly.

Some of us who are experiencing loss in this election cycle may need more time than others to grieve. If you are not feeling loss but rather are elated, please give space and time to us who grieve. We must move through the process, don’t rush us.

I admit I first dealt with denial, a feeling that it couldn’t happen, surely something is going to reverse the election. I’m now still angry that the country I once loved now feeels like one that doesn’t want me and people like me or even people like the worshipping friends with whom I sang hymns and offered prayers last Sunday. America was once my country, but now I feel that at least half of it says that Hispanics, transsexuals, African-Americans, gays, disadvantaged, and marginalized people are not wanted. I echo Jeff Chu’s words: “Join me in my tears if you want. I’d really like that.”

Some of you reading this will want to be quick with words about “God is still on his throne,” or “not everyone believes everything the President Elect has said.” If that is true, why did you vote for him, or why did he say those things? This isn’t a game in which we say things we don’t believe to garner votes from people who don’t believe them. By so doing many people have been hurt. (Take notice of the spontaneous public marches and rallys last night.)

As I deal with my grief and lament my loss, I see a glimmer of hope through my tears. I hope…
…that the disquiet injected into the campaign will moderate,
…that grief and loss some people experience will not be ridiculed or spoken of lightly by those who glee,
…that cooler heads will prevail,
…that hurt and anger will transition into reparative action,
…that America will move forward into the greatness of a bright future,
…that there will be a day when America will not pine for an unrecoverable yesteryear, and
…that there will be the day when American will be future oriented once again.

All of this is complicated so don’t throw out cliches willy-nilly. Such words generally don’t help the people they are targeted toward. A greeting-card philosophy may be appreciated but not so helpful. What helps is when someone who voted for the President Elect sits down beside someone who voted for the other major candidate, puts an arm around them, and enters into their pain. When that happens there’s hope—there’s life.

One more quote from Jeff Chu: “The failure to love your neighbor comes in a multitude of forms. It’s complicated, yet so devastatingly simple.”

As a Christ follower, I know there’s hope in Jesus. So I’ll work through my grief. Be patient with me—or offer a tear with me. In the meantime, look for hope wherever you can find it—for in hope there is life.

The day after…

Posted: November 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

The day after…. How often do we use that phrase. When we encounter momentous events in our lives, those experiences that have the potential to dramatically change life in all its various manifestations, The phrase the day after… often becomes part of the legacy of the event. And so it is with the presidential election of 2016.

I woke up this morning the day after the election. I had slept in because, last night, I had stayed up late waiting for the complete counting of votes in states where the race was close. I came fully awake quickly. We now have a President Trump in waiting, or so I heard on NPR. Although I had stayed up late, I had retired before the announcement was made and a candidate had conceded.

On this “the day after,” I admit to feelings of despair, of fear. How did we get to this place where we, the American people, elected (not by a popular vote, which the president elect did not receive, but by the archaic electoral college process) a president who has demonstrated…
…misogyny (women are sex objects to be used),
…bigotry that treads on religious freedom (ban all Muslims),
…unkindness toward strangers and foreigners in our midst (a position antithetical to Christian scriptural teachings of gracious hospitality),
…a limited vocabulary compensated for by using crass, course, language
…a desire to protect us—with a wall, by withdrawing from decades old alliances and treaties, and by crushing foreign states with our power,
…a personality of a self-centered power grabber (rather than being meek and humble, which is a life-principle highly valued in the teachings of all world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, to name four),
…an attitude like a schoolyard bully, steps over—perhaps, more often, on—minorities, gays, immigrants, and other marginalized populations, and
…a lack of integrity by failing to give the electorate a path—including specific actions and resources to actualize them—toward realizing the broad visions he has promised for healthcare for all people, providing living wages for all people, withdrawing from the world and building hedges of protection. How will he turn brush strokes into details? (Example: Based on his rhetoric of creating many jobs and raising wages, he has yet to provide specific real-life examples where increased wealth of large corporations and wealthy people will result in someone(s) who is(are) out of work becoming self-sufficient in a job(s) that provides a wage that is life sustaining.).

This will be our leader. We will look up to him to guide our country in a progressive posture of growth and development. He will represent us in international relationships. He is the model of a leader our children will emulate.

He will be our President!

This is The day after… and, it is The beginning of…. Therein is hope—yes, even in our President Elect’s four-year term of office. Let’s talk about hope—tomorrow.

Election Day

Posted: November 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


This is Election Day, an end to a circus that has monopolized mind and body through the strenuous months of campaign rhetoric and bombastic television commercials. I haven’t a clue to the outcome. There is a general feeling that whoever achieves victory in the presidential race will be fighting an uphill battle during their tenure regardless of the results of the congressional campaigns.

To mark this day, James and Gabe envited Betsy and me to breakfast. I’m waiting for them in the condominium community room. After we eat, we will go as a group to vote. Election Day for James is like Christmas. Like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning, his excitement has been building over the months leading up to today. During the election season, he gathered friends in the community room to watch the debates with him. He hangs on every word of political pundits, not as the sole source of information on ballot choices, but to discover how other people view his choices, which have come through much personal research. He knows who he will vote for. It’s the strategy of politics that intrigues him like a game of chess. He is energized by politics. I think he pines for the day when he was part of the process.

We voted—James, Gabe, Betsy and myself. Though the line was about 20-25 minutes long, waiting with friends made it fun. It was indeed good to see people voting. Most people we saw were pleasant, even with smiles. I saw or greeted several other friends and acquaintances during the process—Bob, who owns the Washington Ave. Post Grocery and Coffee Bar; Jarred, who is president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and lives in my condominium, The Annex; Patrick, my neighbor in the condo next to mine; Lisa, who recently moved away from The Annex; and others I know by sight and greet but whose names do not have enough velcro to stick in my head. Being part of the democratic process is indeed a privilege—regardless of which squares you colored in on your ballot.

After voting, I left them at the polling place before they were through voting and ready to leave. I told Gabe I had a 10 o’clock appointment and walked on to the Downtown Barbershop for my bi-weekly haircut. As I walked along, gratefulness for my country welled up within me. Though America may have flaws, it’s a grand and glorious experiment in democracy, the land of the free and the brave—and may it ever be.