“The question is not Can we heal? The question, the only question, is Will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not go?”
– Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God
Yesterday, on the morning of Tuesday November 8, I sat on my mat in a studio full of other women, ready to do some deep stretching and thoughtful breathing. Our teacher asked us to rate our anxiety on a scale from 1-10 and I privately chose the number 7.
During the course of the class, the silence was continually interrupted by the sound of sirens outside. One after the other after the other.
Half-way through class I began to count and, by the time class was over, I was up to five. But that was only after I heard so many I started counting.
Waking up this morning just hours after the election results came in feels a bit like hearing the sirens in the silence. Because no matter how you voted or how you feel about the results, the fact remains that we, the People, are deeply divided.
As a woman who thrives on connection, this division breaks my heart.
I’m careful not to make a list of things anyone else ought to do, think, or feel this morning. I believe in the goodness of God, I do. But I also recognize the deep disappointment many of us have with God’s people.
Instead, I’ll simply offer up how I’m moving forward and encourage you to perhaps make your own list in time.
Allow myself to feel the way I feel.
Grief is a relentless companion. It will not tolerate being ignored. If we refuse to acknowledge the feelings of grief and sadness that may be present in us today, that grief will come out one way or another. I choose to bear witness to the grief rather than allow it to surface later in ways I have less control over.
Respect the right of other people to feel the way they feel.
Whether you are angry, relieved, sad, fearful, or a mix of all of these, I will respect your right to feel as you feel. We can’t argue someone into feeling the way we feel about things. No matter how we feel this morning may our emotions lead us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly in the days to come.
Refuse to name-call.
For me to vilify is unproductive. It doesn’t sit well in my soul and is a burden too heavy to carry. For me, this is non-negotiable. Instead, let’s hold accountable.
Look for the helpers.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers
Just like Mister Rogers said, in times of uncertainty it’s important to look for the helpers. Deidra Riggs comes to mind as someone who is fostering important conversations with the upcoming One Conference in Nebraska. This is just one example of many.
Be a helper.
We have good work to do. We have named leaders to pray for. We have minority groups to stand beside and listen to and learn from. We have a responsibility to do the next right thing in love.
If you need help to catch your breath, I wrote a prayer earlier this week to Unite the States of America that still feels relevant today.
You can also sign up here for Still Moments, a week-long audio devotional I designed to help you create space for your soul to breathe in less than five minutes a day.