The Day After

light_the_way

 

Wednesday was a long day. 

I met with, and spoke with, and listened to a lot of people at my parish. Maybe as many as a hundred people throughout the day. Most were crushed and grieving from the results of the election – this is Alexandria, Virginia after all. One or two were happy with the results but reluctant to admit it, recognizing they are in the minority around these here parts.

Full disclosure: I’m not happy with the election results. I had hoped to wake up Wednesday and celebrate that my awesome country had elected the first woman president of the greatest country in the free world. Instead I woke up to learn that my fellow citizens – angry, and feeling more disenfranchised than we knew – elected a reality TV star who said, “Grab them by the p***y.”  The contrast is staggering to me, and it’s gonna take a while to fully comprehend. (And, just so you know, I wasn’t particularly thrilled about Bill Clinton becoming a resident of the White House again; but in order to elect the first women president I felt a few concessions had to be made … Bill being one of them.)

Early Wednesday morning, as our preschool families were arriving to start the day, one of our preschool dads stopped to talk with me. He empathized with me about being in a position of ministry on such an emotional day. He then asked if I’d ever read No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. When I said I wasn’t familiar with it, he said, “It’s a good book. Brutal plot, but a good book.” Preschool Dad continued, “There’s this scene when the sheriff in the book describes a dream he experienced after his father died. In the dream the father was riding his horse through a snow-covered pass in the mountains. As the sheriff rode, he could see his father up ahead of him carrying a moon-colored horn, lit with fire. The man knew that his father would ride on through the mountain pass and prepare a fire out in the dark and cold, and that the fire would be waiting for him when he arrived.” 

Preschool Dad said to me, “That’s our job. To carry the fire that’s been given to us and to have it ready to pass on.”

What a beautiful and helpful image that is – carrying the fire forward and passing it on to those who come after us. I am grateful to Preschool Dad for sharing it with me. We all must carry that fire – that light – and share it. As the stupor and fog of Wednesday’s early-morning shock lifted slightly through the day, I found myself even more strongly committed to treating women equally and fighting for those rights. With every fiber of my being, I believe women should be treated with respect. (The ordination of women was, after all, one of the many compelling reasons I became an Episcopalian.) With every fiber of my being, I believe all our fellow human beings should be treated with respect:  women, immigrants, those with disabilities, those of different genders, races and religions. We must carry that fire forward: the knowledge of the God-given dignity of every person.

Though my candidate lost the election, I am also open to conceiving of new ways for our government institutions to function. Clearly a large percentage of our population feels their needs are not being met. I’m all about trying new things – let’s hope the new president can do so.

Late Wednesday evening, we were wrapping up our vestry meeting, and our Junior Warden, Adam, closed with this beautiful prayer:

God of our coming and going, God of our past, our present, and our future, we have met, we have celebrated, we have remembered.

We have visioned, shared hopes, and dreamed dreams, and now we go out into the world in which we do most of our living and our ministering.

As we go out, remind us that we do not go alone.

As we go out, remind us that we go with a mission.

As we go out, fill us with love, hope, and peace to share with the world.

May our lives and our ministry be signs of your love and promises and possibility for the world.

AMEN

Great prayer, right? This is the fire we carry to pass on to others.  Adam’s prayer makes a perfect plea for “After the Election.”

As we go out fill us with love, hope, and peace to share with the world. May our lives and our ministry be signs of your love and promise and possibility for the world. Amen.

Let’s keep each other in prayer.

Peace friends, 

Chuck

PS

I thought Stephen Colbert – the popular professional comedian, writer, producer and television host – summed up the feelings of the day in his Tuesday-night broadcast. It seemed even he was almost speechless at times.

 

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6 Comments

  • Ann Greenleese says:

    Thank you for “Being All You Are”. Loved your heartfelt message!
    Great to see you tonight at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
    love,
    Ann Greenleese

  • Chrisitne says:

    Just. Love. You. Thank you for this, first time I felt the return of Grace in days. Hugs and prayers to you my friend!

  • Chris Orians says:

    Hi Fr. Chuck,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The election result left me speechless for about 24 hours. I have since been reading and finding out what I missed as I was convinced our countrymen and women would not elect DJT due to his outrageousness through the past several months. HRC was not to be our first woman president. This election was a wake-up call for the entire Nation. Michael Moore understood where we were when Bernie was winning all the Midwest Dem primaries, but the media wasn’t getting it. There was a mandate for change that was completely ignored. The plea of the disenfranchised democratic electorate was there in living color and many of us missed it. Speaking for myself, I became too focused on electing the first woman, and missed the cries of the disenfranchised in the heartland. The Flint, MI crisis and the Standing Rock crisis were overlooked, as was mention of climate change in the debates. Hindsight is often 20-20. My hope is that with God’s help I will learn from this. All the evidence was there that HRC was not the Dems’ top pick for the nomination, and many were respectfully unable in good conscience to support her at the polls. I will continue to be a light in the darkness of my community and stand up by listening to the weak, poor, refugees, immigrants, disenfranchised. I have concern about a DJT presidency, but I know we will be okay.
    Blessings of peace and hope, always.

  • Barbara says:

    Chuck thanks for the Election Blog, the sentiment and the prayer are wonderful but Colbert’s video actually got me laughing and agreeing that I’m going to live thru this with lots of help.

    Haven’t watched news since election night as the board was turning red BUT I’m back, we have to know what the President-elect is doing and what he’s done today is downright pitiful. So, will wait and see what his supporters end up doing. AND PRAYER. I am with you, I am with you, I am with you.

  • Carol Forde says:

    Thanks, Chuck. I needed this.

  • Irene says:

    I am surprised that you didn’t look beyond the fact of voting fora woman. It would be great to have a woman but not this one. Also, surprised because of her stance on abortion.

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