It's been 3 days since the election. Those of us that were confident good sense would prevail were blind-sighted by the outcome. That night a feeling that the world would never look the same washed over me. With a knot in my stomach and a feeling of fear, sleep finally came. I hoped things would look better in the light of a new day as some things often do.
During the hustle the next morning, I stopped in my tracks with a feeling that demanded to be identified. It's grief, I thought curiously. Over an election?? Dropping my daughter off at school, I maintained my usual send off, wishing her a good day. She looked at me and said, "Mom. How are we going to have a good day?" Hmmm, I thought, she feels it too. Checking in on social media I was struck by how nasty the conversation still was. I naively thought that once the election was over, it would die down. We're going through the grief cycle, I observed. All the elements were there; shock, anger, sadness.
By midday the fog started to clear and two choices presented themselves. We could keep raging at the machine until exhaustion or at the end of the cycle there is acceptance, sometimes called radical acceptance. Ha, I thought, that fits. It also occurred to me that stuff like this happens all the time, granted on a smaller scale. But often we're subjected to the worst person at work getting a promotion or becoming the recipient of a lousy boss. An oversimplification, I know. But we can't just call it quits, we're Americans, not quitters. Just because the game didn't go our way, we don't pick up our marbles and go home. Or burn up our cities. What good does that do? No, what we need to do is play the game smarter. Use the resources we have to shape our communities and country for the better. How? We volunteer for causes that are important to us and share our ideas and concerns with our elected representatives. Remind them, often if necessary, that they work for us. Perhaps this is our rock bottom and what it takes to motivate people to get off their asses and get engaged in making the change they want to see. There certainly isn't anywhere to go but up. I think we also need to be vigilant about keeping ourselves out of negative and toxic environments where people that foster that dwell. Turn off the news or take a break from social media. It's time to start a new conversation.
Today I thought about what I want to model for my 17 year old daughter who's on the brink of adulthood and it's this - when bad things happen to good people, good people go on. And they keep doing good. I want her to know we survive, and even thrive, in adversity. When it seems like the end of the world, it's not. I want her to know that her voice matters even when it seems like no one is listening. And that the answer is not to go away and be quiet but to find another inroad and speak louder.
Most importantly I want her to remember that when the world gets rough, there is always love and a warm home to come back to. I bet the same goes for you. Rest up, we've got a lot to do.