“It’s really a wonder I haven’t dropped all of my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” ~ ~ Anne Frank
Like so many others, I woke up this morning enveloped with despair. How could this be? What didn’t we do? What does this say about us? Something that seemed so certain slipped out of our fingers as surely as if we were trying to clutch at vapor. And then, along the way, there have been moments of such sweet serendipity that I have been moved to tears in their preciousness.
One of my first acts of the day was posting something to Facebook. It was my attempt to set the tone for how I would respond to our new reality. I wanted to convey a peaceful resolve. A family member from the other side of the political spectrum commented in appreciation for my stance. We sent a few kindhearted messages back and forth. I asked for his help; after all, his party won, and those in my tribe need folks like him more than ever now to hold our new leader to the highest standard. He assured me he would do so. And then he wrote, “Deb, I lock arms with you.”
At first, I admit, I felt the internal confusion that comes from seemingly mixed messages. I wanted to say, “How can you cast your support in the direction of one who promises to restrict and remove my freedoms and then say that you lock arms with me?”
And immediately a new thought fell in line behind that one. I realized that I had a choice. I could chew on the mixed message or I could savor the sentiment of unity. I could focus on the confusion or I could focus on the connection.
In every moment, we are called to be better people. We are called to love each other with a spiritual fire. We are called to shine a light on the best in each other; and we are called to remind each other that everything else is not the truth of us. We are called to inspire and uplift and encourage.
But also in every moment we are given another option. We can dive into the depths of suspicion and discontent. In every single opportunity we have to shine, we can decide on the darkness.
We have to choose.
I gathered my students in a circle this morning and talked to them openly and honestly about this election, about the fear a lot of people have, and about the personal impact it has on me as a lesbian. I told them that nothing about this election can take away our freedom to decide each morning just how we want to show up in our world. I told them that love is still stronger than fear. I told them that love comes a lot easier when your side wins, but the love that you have to reach into the depths of your soul for and muster in the face of defeat is the one that is actually, bygod, love. And I told them that no matter how they feel today, whether joyous or forlorn, we’re all still going to make it through.
In other words, I told them that I lock arms with them. And we all felt a little better, a little safer, and a little more assured that everything would be okay.