This morning, I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and my whole spirit calmed down. He lived and was martyred during one of the most awful periods for the church. And yet, his words are like a balm and a reminder of what community is supposed to be like for believers. I do not think we are called to be shaking our fists and screaming our frustrations. I think we are called to Be Love in every situation – to be a human reminder of Love, and Grace.
I have been more and more on edge as this election cycle continues. The anger, spite, mudslinging are hard on my heart. The division and discord is frightening to say the least. While I may not be churchy, I grew up there, I know the Bible very well, and know the doctrines. I have been confused, hurt and horrified by the behavior and speech of those in positions of leadership in “the church.” We have seen both political sides supported and we have seen both sides vilified. I wake up with nightmares. My head is pounding with arguments I want to put out there, but I do not want to argue.
My husband and I have discussed this at length. I have wrestled with my feelings of betrayal by mainstream religion. I have cried for those I know who are in the church and being told from the pulpit who to vote for, even when it might seem to go against all they know of goodness and light.
Our system is based on two sides that are to balance one another. If we swing too far to the authoritarian right, we end up with totalitarianism. If we swing too far to the liberal left, we become hedonists. We depend on our other half of the equation to help us all walk a very narrow place in the middle where we can find common ground. We forget this in hotly disputed campaigns where the other side is defined as pure evil.
This morning, finally, I have come to a place where I can honor and respect those in my family who are leaning in a different direction than me. I recognize that our political viewpoints are based on passionately held beliefs of what is right and good and healing for all. We may be wrong. Not all of us are going to fit into a cookie-cutter version of what can heal us. There are going to be many different variations to make us all whole. But I believe we each have thoughts and beliefs and prayers that are cried out from places of virtue.
I love my family. I love every part of it. I love the ragged and the polished. I love the dark and the lofty. I will not allow differences of opinion to define how I see my family. I will always remember the good, the funny, the tender and caring. We are a whole because of our differences. This can be applied to our Nation as well. I am hoping that the depths and darkness we have seen in our civic discussion this election season will finally bring us to a place where we feel we have hit bottom, and the next time around, we stand up as a people and demand civil dialogue, and courteous communication. I hope we have had our fill of this poison, and that we will come together and require those seeking leadership positions to act with dignity, and share what good they want to bring to the table, and cease the finger pointing of what degradation they see in their opponent.
Today I take a stand to no longer allow myself to be dragged through the gutter of political ugliness. Today I take a stand to focus on my friends who share beauty in the smiles of their children, in a glorious photo of nature, in being still in the midst of this storm. Today I will light all my candles and say all my prayers. Today I welcome this spark of peace in my heart.