Oh boy. Here I go. This one has been circling my brain for awhile. A couple of months ago I returned to my online community to reestablish the connections we had forged over the past few months. As we become reacquainted and welcomed new readers to the tribe, I thought it was important for me to articulate why it was important for me to not only accept “Plan B” but to actually embrace it. One of the definitions of embrace – according to Professor Google – is “the act of taking up” or “supporting something willingly,” and that perfectly captured the approach I chose when I realized that these new afflictions were not temporary visitors. I love to
talk write, I have a unique perspective, and a platform from which to share our story…and no matter what the situation is, we all face some type of plan B, and we always have a choice as to how to respond.
Over the past two years, our family has encountered “opportunities to practice resilience” in multiple arenas. I’ve referred to this persistent state of flux as our “eternal game of whack-a-mole” and, ohbytheway, last year I competed against my son in an actual game of whack-a-mole and he was amazed at my score, presuming my advancing age would correspond with delayed reaction time. But I’ve been whacking moles for the two past years, and enjoyed “dropping the mic” on that one. From diagnoses, to injuries, to employment changes, home repairs, collapsing ceilings, moving, grieving, healing, launching a company, and beyond….we’ve come to expect the unexpected.
But never have I ever had to buck up, put on my big girls pants, and dig deep for resilience because of the outcome of an election. (And if you are one of my tribe who was happy about the outcome of the election, I am humbly asking you to bear with me for a few more paragraphs. You’ll see why, if I manage to land this plane. It may take two posts.)
Our political identities are born of our unique circumstances. I have dear friends who have given generations of military service and usually vote for the party that (they believe) best represents their service and sacrifice. Others in my circle have been raised in faith traditions that dictate a stance on social justice and conscientious objection, and feel that “a different party” best reflects their worldview. I was blessed to grow up among both “camps” and I know that there are amazing people on both sides.
My understanding of faith informs my vote in a way that leads me to typically put checks on the left side of the ballot. (Yep, I did it. I just went there. ) My own Godview prods me to vote to preserve creation, and to protect our natural resources. My faith dictates a pro-life stance that I can’t find a box for – a desire to prevent unnecessary deaths due to gun violence, and to do away with the death penalty because (I believe) that we don’t have the right to end another’s life. I want to welcome refugees, and I believe we have enough resources to spread our nation’s substantial wealth around. I want parents to equip kids to prevent pregnancy. I want people to be able access to medical insurance and education. I want all babies to be born, but to also be fed and cared for even if their parents can’t afford it. (Cue bleeding heart liberal soundtrack)
So yes, my lens of faith informs my vote, and I know the same is true for many of you….it just does it in a different way. But does that make ME “less” faithful? And in the reverse…do I see YOU as more or less faithful because you live out (and vote from) your theology in a different way? (Are my “red” friends still here?)
NEVER before have I witnessed such rampant “defriending.” Perhaps that’s why the whole country gathered around their laptops last April, waiting for a giraffe to give birth. Finally, there was something we could all agree on…the world needs more live giraffe births. And guess what…we’re gonna get one!! (More on that later) For now, the bear cam will have to do.
I think there are layers upon layers as to why we can no longer cross the aisle and forge a compromise, and I see the polarization dividing our church pews as well. I believe one of our biggest issues is that the art of discourse has disappeared. We’ve stopped “purpling” all together. And it’s making me sick.
I don’t know about you….but when it comes to our political climate, I feel terrible ALL OF THE time. I am not succeeding at embracing this Plan B. Trump supporters are mad at Democrats and call us whiners. Democrats are calling Trump supporters “baskets of deplorables.” And it’s all just poison – and while it doesn’t directly affect my health, it probably indirectly does.
Life is so much better at Disney World.
What if we tried to find a new way forward. Could we agree to try to agree? To find common ground. To pursue peace and perspective and to listen. During that horrible election season, I showed my sons a clip from the 1988 Bush/Dukakis debates. I knew that the art of political discussion replete with MANNERS had completely disappeared but we were stunned by the stark contrast of their discussions when held up against the most recent season of political ick that we were all subjected to. One thing is for certain...it’s not going to start with Washington.
Maybe we’ve strayed too far from our 70’s hippy roots with each campfire beginning with “Let there be peace on earth.”
So perhaps it can begin here. Or in your home, or your neighborhoods. I love purple. More tomorrow. If I have any friends left.