It's been a week, for some of us, it's life as usual, but for many of my friends who are of color, who are of undocumented status, who serve in communities of people who are not like me, it's been a rough, and daunting week.
As I've navigated this week, it was easy on November 2nd to look at the memes that said something to the affect:
"After the election, I'm going to...go to work, be happy, live my life and love others."
I really thought - that's smart, that makes sense. I mean I did my early voting, I've prayed about my decision and I've decided that no matter who wins, I'm still going to keep working hard and fighting for injustices. So yeah, I'm not really losing much sleep over it at all.
UGH, Tuesday it hit me, as friend after friend that I talked to was consumed with stress, as friends and people I respect of all different backgrounds were visibly worried, distraught, anxious, couldn't sleep! It hit me that me thinking or saying that comes from me being in a place that absolutely looks different than the place where they live, breathe and commune.
And I shared it, with two of my most lovely bible believing friends. I told them that it makes me sad, it makes me hurt and yet, I'm still going to go to bed tonight and wake up in my warm house, with my sweet baby and I'm going to be okay. As soon as I texted them that confession, I saw that the migrants and refugees who are sleeping in tents at our Texas border were holding an all night prayer vigil. Because to them, this election means life and life more abundantly or it means possible exile back to their home countries and possible violence or death. Or it means extended times in the camps, it means more trauma and hardships.
For my black brothers and sisters it means that our nation has chosen a candidate that doesn't look at them as made in the image of God. They feel completely disregarded and unloved, they feel betrayed in some instances and they feel fearful in such a close race that half of the nation agrees with that thinking too. I just can't imagine feeling that.
That's not my life. And now don't get me wrong, I'm not condemning anyone that posted that meme above, not at all, because the fact of the matter is for them, that's their truth. And truly it's mine as well. But I'm struggling with it in ways that I don't know I have before. And here's why, I did nothing to deserve that truth, but by the grace of God go I. And some of you may say, well, you've always been a hard worker, and you have made good decisions and you follow the Lord. And those might be true, but there were times in my life where I could have just as easily ended up on the wrong side of the law. Just like some are today. And I could have easily been born in another country, but I wasn't. There are many situations in my life that I look back and I see the protection of God over my life for no reason of my own doing. My life could be dramatically different today, but by the grace of God I was saved from certain situations. But this is not about me...UGH, I think we all do this, we all go back to me, because that's what we relate to and that's sometimes all we can understand, it's how we see the world, through our experiences, but that's not the whole story.
So here's where I struggle...
How do I support my friends who are hurting, who are fearful and who are struggling with this election in ways that I cannot understand? In ways that I may never understand. How can I hold this space or this tension? To know that their fears, regardless of whether or not they are factual, feel so real to them today, tomorrow and until a decision is made. How do I not invalidate a person on either side of this divide because truly I can't really relate to a lot of those on either extreme. And how do I do it in a way that shows love, compassion, mercy and grace and doesn't sound insincere? I'm so blessed and I'm not saying that to gloat, I'm saying that because I don't want to forget just for the sake of convenience. The Lord has called us to live with radical abandon, to love Him and make Him known to others through our love. And I'm not sure how to love others who I can't relate to or don't have to...Do you?