This morning I woke up early. Like many I found it hard to sleep last night and I needed to get up and shake off the sadness and start my day. I sat alone in my kitchen feeling like I was in the middle of some dystopian nightmare bestseller. I sipped on my Earl Grey tea. On the ground next to the china cabinet was a poster of a puppy and a bunny. My eleven-year-old daughter has been renovating her room, removing the ‘baby stuff’ and putting in more mature things like a fall garland of orange, brown and yellow leaves. I remember buying her that poster at the school book fair. She loved it and wanted it so badly but I had a rule - we only buy books at the book fair. It’s a pretty good rule. But some rules were meant for breaking. Anyway, that was years ago. She is growing up. And this morning I sat in my chair fighting back tears and feeling so low and defeated. What would I say to her when she woke up?
It took a little while but eventually my tea disappeared, my quiet reflection came to an end and the house arose. It was a pretty normal morning. Cereal and making lunches and the four-year-old being very good at being four and behaving like a little morning monster and whining a lot and driving us crazy. The difference this morning was the kids said, “Who won?” and I said, “Trump. But, don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine.” And they said, “Wow, really? That stinks. Can I have money to buy a drink after Mock Trial?” Hmm. “We should talk about some stuff,” I said. They listened. After our discussion about what was lost last night and what the future might bring and a bit about what it means to be a good person we climbed in the car and headed for school. People were angry in their cars. You could feel it. I noticed and mentioned it to the kids - “You see, people are hurting, guys. You know, we need to dig even deeper today to spread love, compassion and understanding. We need to stay out of judgement and remain present.” They said, “Okay, Mom. It’ll be all right.”
And it will.
Here we are today in the aftermath. We are all still together. Still doing our thing. But, somehow it all seems a little harder, I know. It’s easy to love someone you agree with. It’s easy to love everyone when it’s a bright, shiny, sunny existence and you haven’t a care in the world. It’s harder when you're thrust into a situation with someone who is combative and negative. Why are there so many who are so angry, I wonder? I think this hateful rhetoric struck a chord and it spread out like a wildfire devouring everything in its path. Boy did it ever. But, you see, I think LOVE spreads, too. And the more you give it out, love or hate, the more you get it back and it multiplies and multiplies.
I’m so grateful to live in a country where I have a choice. I’m hurt and sad that other things got in the way of politics but I cannot refute this fair election. I have to move forward. This is an opportunity for healing. Love is the way.
When I returned home after dropping them off at school I folded up the poster and put it in the bin. It feels like something, lots of things, have changed. A tide has turned. We as a country have moved on from something that felt more innocent and are pushing onward into something foreign, unknown, risky. But, maybe it need not be totally negative. Maybe in all of this we can find an opportunity for growth? We have a chance here to begin a dialogue. We have an option to heal, to come together and heal. This morning my daughter did not wake up in a world where her mom got to enthusiastically shout - “A woman is president!” Instead, she woke up to a shockingly changed landscape. But, there was a discussion about it. Our kids are resilient. This won’t break them or us. It’s up to us whether we want to be part of the hate or if we want to move forward with love and kindness and find a way to heal our wounded country.