I wrote this piece the morning after the 2016 election, but I feel the importance of sharing it again. As we head into the tumultuous Tuesday coming up, let's try and remember that every voter is full of emotions right now...fear and hope most of all. Let's allow each other our emotions, both before and after the election, and whatever the outcome, let's do all we can to respect each other's humanity and needs.
I am fortunate that I have the flexibility to walk the woodlands and visit the marsh this morning. Where else would I go on such a troubling day? I went into this election, determined that no matter the outcome, I would continue to do my best to live as salt and light in a world that always needs both. As an unashamed follower of Christ, I have and continue to attempt to live in accordance with what matters to Him...treating people with love, treating the Creation with care, and recognizing my dependence on the Spirit to help me to know and name my blindness and shortcomings.
But this morning, I have to admit that that determination comes hard. I am chagrined to realize who made up the voting block that has elevated our president-elect. I am sickened with grief and foreboding for what this outcome will mean for the earth, for the Creation, its creatures and all the humans who depend upon it for life, as the party elected will not hesitate to exploit it full measure and never look back.
I was thinking these thoughts, and wondering whether I had anything at all to say in this space this morning, anything gleaned from the natural world around me, as I walked along the boardwalk, when I heard the crashing and saw the dried cattails waving wildly. I had seen possible traces before of deer in the marsh, but was never quite sure. "How would they maneuver through the muck?"
But there he was, thrashing through the cattails, antlers entangled, seemingly struggling to find solid footing. I stopped immediately, as I didn't want my presence to spook him further and felt a surprising connection between that buck and myself, and with the rest of the individuals who make up this nation. Respect for that buck and his need was instinctive, it came naturally. Respect for wildlife comes from the very core of who I am (perhaps more readily than respect for people, sometimes, I am disappointed to say.)
As I watched and waited for him to make his way on to safety, I felt a visceral kinship with him in my own need for respect from others today and my need to offer others the same. Many of us are fragile this morning...those who voted other than the outcome, those who voted for it and are now wondering what they have done, those who voted in favor of it and are jubilant. We all need to realize that many of us are in emotional turmoil and the need of the moment is genuine care and respect for one another. If you can't offer encouragement to those who are wrestling, at least do what I did. Stay out of their way, give them space, and quiet and time to regain their footing and go on their way.
This day and the days to follow will be what the nation builds upon as we face this new era. Let us grant each other the grace to be ourselves and to reach out to care for one another even in disagreement. Let us continue our hard work of bringing light into darkness, for everyone's sake.