Last night was a night of surprises and I have to say for me unwelcome surprises. I was watching the PBS Newshour and saw David Brooks get quieter and quieter as the electoral map turned more and more red. I was saying to myself, “How? and Why and What Now?” I woke this morning with only two useful reactions.
First is about our response to moments of confusion and upheaval. We want a narrative that explains it and makes it bearable, but sometimes there is only the moment itself. We have to live into the mystery—be it sweet our unsweet. Last weekend I spoke at the Diocese of Louisiana Convention on the gifts of recovery. I said, “All we have is our faith. All we have is God’s promise. All we have is the love of the Lord which is in our hearts, but because we have that---we know there will be resurrection--not because of us—but because God’s love is stronger than death.”
I mean we don’t choose when we are born nor what circumstances we have to confront. We have “one wild and precious life” to live and we have to live it regardless of what happens around us. It’s not whether we like or dislike what happens; it’s how we live after the event.
There is a Zen saying, "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." Yes, we do have to be realistic about the changes this election will bring. But this is the day the Lord has made. If we do not rejoice and be glad in it, then when will we?
This doesn’t mean we don’t speak out about the issues of the day nor that we should pretend the results of the election don’t matter. They do. But our calling is to live faithfully and to be agents of God’s will and work here and now. Our life is too short for despair or denial. Instead let us go deeper and ask God, “What is it that we are called to do now given what has happened?” Then we must do it.
As Christians we are called to speak the truth in love and to remember what binds us instead of what divides us. In the midst of arguments my mother would say, “I guess we all are saying the same thing,” even though we were not. We need to be honest about our stark differences, but then we need to go deeper and get to the water table where we rediscover our common humanity.
My prayer for Mr. Trump is that he realizes he is elected to be the President for the United States—all the citizens of those states. Our part is to pray for President-Elect Trump’s ability to govern for the well-being of all the citizens and to seek to find ways to be agents of reconciliation and “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being” (BCP, 305).
The election is over. Today let us chop wood and carry water.