Don’t get me wrong. I am over the moon with happiness at the outcome of this election. It does feel good to be a “winner”. I am so relieved I no longer have to listen to the talking heads parse endless scenarios of doom. And I will slowly permit myself the luxury of imagining a hopeful future. I am going to take the time and enjoy this sweet moment of crossing a finish line that seemed to always be just out of reach. But, what price do we pay for winning?
There will be a chorus of “let the healing begin!” which is catchy and does need to be sung and yet, there are still wounds that need to be debrided. Over these last few years, I have found that my beliefs and understanding about people I have shared my life with have often been wrong. My comfort zone with hypocrisy is non-existent. My expectations of how “good” people should act rely more now on social media memes and late-night comedians’ monologues than what is told to me from the pulpit or taught in a classroom.
If this were another time and another culture, I would expect a council of Elders to meet, consider what would be best for the whole, and announce it at a gathering. Instead, I suspect each side will fall in behind their spokes-channels and be fed a script that will be parroted over and over again on Twitter, FB, Instagram, TikTok and Whatsap.
Should I be invited to the council, I would offer the following as points to ponder in the coming days.
How did we get to this place where half of us see the world one way and half see it another?
How did we come to decide that it is no longer in our best interest to collaborate and cooperate?
How do we overcome the built up resentment and mistrust that now occupies our energies?
How many ways forward are there where I don’t have to get you to believe what I believe before we can figure out how to put out the fire that is burning our house down?
What can we do to increase our capacity for not knowing and decrease our need for being right all the time?
How can I learn to see the “other” in you and not be threatened by that?
Who or what can show us a way we can we admit that there are some things that we can’t do all by ourselves and that in joining together, things can be accomplished that would surely fail otherwise?
How can we give each other a timeout to lick our wounds, absorb all the change that has gone on over the last four years, and not keep adding to the inventory of insult and accusation?
What sources of wisdom can we tap into that will engender hope?
What resources are there that we can share and still have enough for ourselves?
What do I have to accept to move forward?
What do I have to hold on to in order to move forward?
What am I willing to let go of in order to move forward?
When will I be ready?
I don’t have answers to these questions. But I do have time and space to explore them with you and with others. I invite you to answer these questions. Spend some time reflecting on what you are feeling today. How can you use that to heal?
Yes, I am feeling jubilation. But just for a brief moment. I realize that there is another group who are in mourning. Theirs was not the joyful victory; rather it was a bittersweet defeat. Their feelings are as intense as mine, but with a different consequence. While I am feeling relief, they are experiencing betrayal. While I am feeling validation, they are feeling scorn. It was only four years ago that I experienced this too. When my candidate lost and I felt disconnected, abandoned, and without hope. My lesson in that experience is serving me well at this juncture.
My lesson is this: things change. Not always the way I want them to. Not always on my timeline. I can be overwhelmed with joy or disappointment and still find a way to do the things I need to do. I can be bitter or generous, and experience the consequences of those choices. I can be emboldened to speak my truth and learn that in speaking it some people are offended by it while others may embrace me. The challenge here is understanding that the Universe cares little for my preferences, yet I am responsible for the impact my words and actions have on those who are known to me as well as those who are unknown.
The greatest toll of these last four years has been on my sense of community and belonging. It has humbled me to learn how many of my family and friends harbor hatred and prejudice. It has shamed me to learn how my silence has been taken as tacit acceptance of racism. It has inspired me to seek opportunities to create community in new and more inclusive ways. It has held a mirror to my own ways of being in the world, and I am wanting to change what I see.
There is much to be healed and much work to be done. I am up for the task!