Was a little traumatic.
It had been a long night.
Lucy the Maude was 11 days old, and we spent the night in various levels of semi conscious nursing. Drifting in an out of sleep, but never really resting, because there’s a baby attached to me. Lucy the Maude is very, very attached.
My alarm went off at 6 am. I had set it the day before the election so I could get to the polls before the lines, so I could be home on time to care for my brood of 5, plus my friend’s brood of 5*, on that adventurous election day. Election day had been preceded by good sleep and early morning.
The early morning post election…was less than welcome.
Husband got up to silence my alarm, and crawled back into bed with my phone. He’s not the lie-around-in-bed-with-a-phone type, but this is the morning after election.
So I asked him. “Who won?”
“Trump took it.”
And then I felt sick. And a little panicked. And then sick some more.
Those three words still make me cringe. I didn’t realize how badly I didn’t want him to win until he won. I hadn’t given enough serious consideration to the possibility.
All morning, sound clips and footage I’d seen of Trump kept running through my head. And my husband’s three words, “Trump took it.” And it’s possible I cried, but I’m not admitting to that. Or I’ll blame it on being 11 days postpartum.
I looked at my daughters–newborn, toddler, preadolescent–and it was hard.
I looked at my sons–grade schoolers–and it was hard.
I thought of my new american friends, recently arrived from Africa and the middle east–mostly muslim–and it was hard.
I thought of my years on the US-Mexico border in Texas and New Mexico, of all the people there–and it was hard.
At the end of the day, it was still hard. But at the end of the day, I was no longer in a state of panic.
Because at at the end of the day, this is what I had:
- a text from my husband, expressing his love for me and referring me to 2 Kings 6:16.
- My five beautiful children, safe and sound and growing.
- Health insurance that made Mr. the Roger’s dermatology appointment possible
- A date with Mr. the Rogers for a post-dermatology donut
- A text conversation with some dear (Muslim, immigrant) friends. They were frank about their disappointment, but that was dwarfed by their gratitude to live in a democracy, by their patriotism, by their support of the parts of Trump they agreed with. Their pragmatism, optimism, and confidence was an example and a blessing to me.
- Speeches from Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump expressing graciousness towards one another and belief in the peaceful transition of power. That they were saying these things instead of inciting violence is so rare in the course of human events that I feel blessed to witness it.
- Trust in God’s love for me, you, that orange haired man, and the people he doesn’t understand***
Am I happy with the outcome of the election? No.
Do I worry about what sort of damage may be done? Yes…but..
He is one man.
He is (blessedly) not my husband. Or your husband, probably.
He is a child of God. And so are the people who voted for him. And they, like the hypothetical immigrant terrorists he fears, like me, like you, can all grow.
Contrary to every pop song ever, we can choose how we feel. It’s hard, it takes practice, but it’s possible.
I can choose to love instead of fear. I can choose to love** at all times, and in all things and in all places.
Because, unlike the outcome of this election, this is something I can control.
God bless those who voted, and those who did not. God bless the president, even if he must be the orange haired man, to make wise and good choices. God bless us to not freak out and hate our neighbors and countrymen over their various feelings about the orange-haired man, or because of their fears. God bless us to choose love over fear, to choose acting over being acted upon.
God bless America.
*Yes, at 10 days postpartum, we spent the day with 10 kids. It’s less daunting than it sounds. Friend’s kids are ridiculously well behaved children. Also, I had my mother in law and brother in law with me, helping with cooking and cleaning and kitchen window replacement. They’re remarkable humans. Also, I had salt and vinegar chips, and lunchmeat and a plethora of other delicious, easy things to eat, also courtesy of friend. Election day was a good day. It was the last day I could fantasize over having my favorite candidate elected against all odds.
**See also: Stand as a witness of God
***that’s a lot of people.