Take Heart

zzaugtimesI’m writing this on Saturday, November 5 before we know who won the election.  I will not change a word before publishing it on November 9.

If your candidate didn’t win, you probably feel like the world is a more unsafe place today than it was yesterday.   I have bad news for you.  The world isn’t a safe place.  It has never been safe and it never will be.  It has been less unsafe at some times than at others, but it has always been unsafe.  Loved ones die.  Wars, famines, plagues, earthquakes and hurricanes happen.  People are made prisoners or refugees.  Stock markets crash, planes crash, cars crash.

But the world is also a beautiful place.  We fall in love.  Babies are born and cared for.  The leaves turn green every spring and flame every fall.  We invent music and writing and dancing, rockets and computers and central heating, rule of law and constitutional government.

Human nature reflects that natural world that we are part of.  Good and evil battle constantly within us and without us.  I believe in a good God.  I believe that the essence of the universe is love.  I can’t know for sure if these beliefs of mine are objectively true.  But, I do know this for sure:  the only way to have a meaningful life is to live as if they are true.  The only way that love and hope win in the world is if love and hope win in individual hearts.

If love and hope win in our hearts, then we are not enemies no matter who we voted for.  Hate Trump if you want (I do).  Hate Hillary if you want.  But don’t hate your friends and family members who voted against your candidate.  Because, in the end, one of the candidates is in Washington, and your family and friends are right here in front of you.  And we are each other’s salvation.  My main character, Leona, in my novel The Saint’s Mistress, learned this in her hour of deepest grief and despair.  And I beg you, whoever you are and whoever you voted for, not to despair.  Start where you are, with kindness towards those closest to you.  Then spread it around.  That’s how we all win at life, no matter who wins the White House.

Look, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter.  It certainly matters who leads the most powerful country on the planet.  But the election is over.  The people have spoken, for good or for ill, and it’s out of our control now.  Control what you can.  Believe that the long arc of God’s plan for us bends toward justice, love and hope.  Then take courage and make it so.

Here is my commitment to you, my readers.  Every week for the next 52 weeks, I will suggest something that you can do to bend this world in the direction of love, hope and justice.  If you have ideas, please message them to me on Facebook or send them as comments on this blog post, and I’ll use them.  Some of them will have specifically to do with healing from this brutally divisive election. Some will be suggestions for local actions you can take if you are hurting and angry about the election results.  Most will have nothing to do with politics at all.  But I urge you not to just forget this election, even though you probably want to.  Whether you are happy with the result or not, take the passion that you put into the election and put it in the service of something shining and splendid and noble right in your own back yard.


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