Ok, The unimaginable has happened. Trump has won. The Donald and his thong-wearing, gun-toting wife and rather dim children who go big-game hunting will grace the hallowed halls where Jefferson once walked, Lincoln paced, FDR wheeled his chair, and President Obama, Michelle, and their two daughters cheered our hearts. Not to mention Hilary and Bill.
Ack, as my second-born would say. When I first heard the election news, I felt the depression wheel going into high gear. I could literally hear it humming within as despair, craziness, incomprehension, anger, and a host of other things I am not supposed to do as a Catholic whirred around the wheel. Ack.
Then, after an hour or so of over-eating, looking at every bit of news and Twitter feeds that I could find, I yanked one small prayer out of my churning insides. This is Annie Lamott's favorite prayer, one of two; helphelphelphelp. I can't get to the thankyouthankyou part yet.
Something settled inside, probably as a result of calling on the Holy Spirit who comes to visit when I am in unstable mode. It said, "Go forth and do something. Do not sit in despair. Be proactive, babe." It could have been "dame," as the Holy spirit seems to channel 1940s films in my mind.
I levered off the couch, exercised, showered, put on makeup, dressed, put in earrings, sprayed perfume, and sallied forth to our local market in town. I collected: tuna fish, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, tomato sauce, pineapple chunks, and a host of other goodies which filled two brown bags. Then I drove to the HBA to buy disposable diapers and wipies, for we know that when poor women try to get into the work force, they have to provide diapers for their little ones in Day Care. Off I went to the Survival Center, not exactly humming, but at least not swearing.
As I delivered the packages, I said to the man behind the desk, "I am returning good for evil." He laughed. "I have to pick up my game and do more, 'cause Donald ain't gonna do it!" A lady came around the corner and chimed in, "Yes, we've got to do more!" Pretty soon we were practically swaying and praying together as we formed a small group that refused to be downhearted. We were committed to reaching out to the poorest of us. This felt good.
Returning home, I needed to nap and pray. As I was lifting up the election results and whining, "WHY???", this insight came winging in: "My story is bigger than this story." Ok, God. That sounds right to me. We are held in your universe, in your light and love. It's still up to us to make things right, but wrong-doing does not have the last word. Hope has the last word.
As Christians, we are pretty sure that optimism is not what is given to us. You have to hide your eyes if you want to hold onto optimism. But hope is different. Here's what St. Paul said, Romans 5:5:
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
We are not alone. We have community, faith, friends, church and political activism, and my favorite NY Times Opinion writer, Frank Bruni, who said: "The one thing we know about Trump is that he is inconsistent. He says one thing and does another."
He can promise a wall--unlikely and expensive. He may promise exiling all Muslims--unconstitutional, we still operate under the rule of law here. I'm not saying I'm not worried: I am, deeply, especially about climate change. I'm not saying everything will turn out all right. It may not. But I am saying that by being proactive, keeping faith, showing up, reading biblical prophets who shouted about justice (Isaiah, Micah, and Amos), and reaching out to the marginalized--we might, just might make it through the next four years with our reason intact. I will make no promises about the shape of our country in four years.