These United States have never been easy. Democracy isn’t easy. Freedom is full of contradictions. Yesterday, 59,796,443 people — some of them in pain, fear, and frustration as well as hope and promise — exercised their vote for one candidate while 59,589,867 people — some of them in pain, fear, and frustration as well as hope and promise, cast their vote for the other candidate.
Like so many of you, I have been moved today by a host of emotions stemming from this election. For the moment, I have settled into a sadness. My sadness is not about the results of an election – this is not the first time my preferred candidate for any given office didn’t win. That’s the nature of democracy: there are campaigns and then we vote; someone wins the vote and someone loses the vote. I am disappointed, discouraged, and confused about the results and what they mean for our country. But I am also aware that half of the electorate are joyous, relieved, and grateful for the results.
My sadness is something beyond the political. It is a sadness for myself and others, a sadness that comes from disconnection. A sadness that calls me to wonder when I have failed to listen, to understand, the pain and fears of so many of my neighbors. To wonder when I have failed to share with them the hope I see in our changing country and changing world. To wonder where I have failed to help them imagine their beauty meeting the beauty of others. To wonder when I have failed to model human presence for them that is the ground of healing. These are my neighbors, our neighbors, our salvation is bound in one another.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, speaking to Jim Wallis, once said, “We do not have the right to give up this work. Our sisters and brothers are suffering around the world, so we have to keep working for peace and justice till the day we die.”
Tonight, we breathe. We name and grieve what we have lost. We tell our stories again and again; we listen to the stories of others again and again, knowing them to be true. And then we begin again the work of transforming ourselves to transform this world. We do this because we are called to a different way of being in this world. Called to wonder and imagination; into possibility; into love. We do this work because we are thirsty. Because we are of tender and compassionate hearts. Because we know fear and anger and sorrow. Because we each have gifts to bring to create the power to transform the world. Because by our very presence as a gathered community, we give hope and healing and wonder to ourselves, each other, and the world around us.
Tomorrow, we begin again to co-create the transformed world.
Love and Blessings,