This week has been unlike any other that I can recall in a long, long time. We've experienced a very difficult presidential election 2 days ago, and tomorrow we honor our soldiers on Veteran's Day. Right now, my heart is heavy and my mind is swirling. Yup, I have not written here in a really long time, but I cannot but feel compelled to do so today. I am not at all sure I will be able to adequately express everything that I'm thinking about, but I will do my best.
Like so many others, I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch and track the election results. I do not know what I was really expecting to see, but I know for certain that the results as they played out, greatly surprised me, as they did for so many. I really don't need to know how you voted, and I am not sharing how I voted. It is no secret that the sandbox that is Washington, has been a litter box for a very long time, and no one has been willing to clean it out. The constant fighting and finger pointing and lack of any sort of compromising, no one taking responsibility for their decisions, the never ending blame game. As a result, our country is paying a tremendous price. Our citizens are hurting. No one trusts anyone anymore, including our government to well, govern. There is so much going on where people from other parts of the world want to destroy us, but the truth is, they almost don't even have to. We are doing it to ourselves.
I am a Christian. I do not smack people upside the head with a Bible, but I believe with all my heart that it is Truth. Truth that I try to live by as best as I can as a deeply flawed individual. Whether you have a faith or not, I am not interested in debating or bashing. Everyone chooses for themselves. But since I am a Christian, I did find myself praying before, during and after the election. I am also praying for our nation, which includes newly elected Mr. Trump. Becoming president is a bohemoth responsibility, It is a job that I am 100% sure I would not have the stamina to handle. But yes, I am praying for Mr. Trump to seek wise counsel and be brave enough to do what is right and good for our nation. Had Mrs. Clinton won the election, I would be praying the same for her, too. If our government can somehow find the courage to do what is right and good for our citizens, everyone wins.
But to see all the hate and anger and protests going on since the election took place, and quite frankly also during the campaigning period, is heartbreaking to me. It is a privilege to live in a country where we get to vote. Everyone chose their vote for their own reasons, and whether you like the results or not, someone was going to be elected, and the other one not. We are practically sinking ourselves into another civil war with how we are treating each other, and all I can say is WHY? How is sinking ourselves into a quagmire of hate, anger and even violence going to make our nation better? It is not going to help put food on the table for our hungry or help make ends meet. It will not provide our homeless with a place to live. It is not going to care for our children or our elderly. Behaving like that is not going to heal our nation. Tomorrow we have Veteran's Day set aside to honor our soldiers who fought and sacrificed to make our country a free nation. As far as I'm concerned, everything that is happening among us right now is a slap in their faces. Just because we live where we have the freedom to behave like this, does not mean we should. Whether you find it naive or not, I hold the belief that everyone has good in them.
I cannot fix what is wrong with our government or our country, but I can do is refuse to choose hate and anger and violence. Every one of us really only has control of one thing. Our own actions and decisions. We have to own them, good or bad, and accept the results of them. So I am going to choose love to the best of my ability. Scripture commands us to love each other. John 15:17 states "This is my command; Love each other." Love is one of the most powerful weapons we can use.
I am incredibly blessed to be able to work in a preschool, spending the best hours of my week with 2, 3, & 4 year olds. We don't just get to teach them letters, numbers, colors, shapes, patterns, etc, we get to teach them to love, to share, speak & act with kindness, be respectful, take turns, be responsible for their choices, to use manners, and to seek forgiveness when they aren't kind toward each other. Quite honestly, I learn just as much from those precious kids as they learn from me. They aren't born with hate and anger. Those are learned traits.
Perhaps Washington has forgotten these basic "beginner rules," if you will, from fighting for so long. So, maybe it is up to us to lead our leaders, not the other way around. To show them something better. I think all of us have so much more in common than not, and we all want to know that someone cares, that we matter. It is a beautiful thing that we are all different at the same time that we are all the same. We encounter so many different people in so many places in our everyday life, and we never know who just needs someone to show or tell them they matter. We never know who needs that smile or a sincere thank you, or a door held open for them because we don't know what trials they are facing in their lives. I can tell you from being on the receiving end, that being shown any sort of random kindness can completely revive a bad day or lift my spirits, or give me the courage to face the rest of a difficult day. Or, for some, to even choose to face another day.
So, my challenge to all of you is the same as to myself. Choose love. Choose to be nice. Choose compassion. Choose to speak with kindness. Choose grace. Choose forgiveness. In whatever form you can think of. Smile when you see or talk to others. Wish someone a wonderful day. Thank that person who bagged your groceries or collected your trash or replaced the toilet paper roll. If you learn of someone in need, help them. Pick someone on your social media newsfeed and just say hello. Pay someone a compliment. Hug your loved ones. If you flood your heart with what is good and right, it won't leave room for anger and hate. That is how we the people can heal our country, one act of love at a time. Be the reason someone smiles today.