It is the ninth of November. A day after what is now termed as a most ‘historic night in U.S. history’. Our new President-Elect Donald Trump is set to become sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
Depending on which side of the voter fence you sit.
I discovered, while watching the election coverage, that I am not immune to deeply-felt emotions. The same can be said of millions of my fellow Americans. However, I can’t speak for them. I can only try to give voice to what I recognized rising up within as I saw myself described in the bar graphs of a televised statistical board from which commentary was being engaged among the panels covering the election.
Shame and fear is a powerful combination. I lived for years held tightly in the grip of these two deadly emotions that can shut down a life; silence a voice; dumb down an intelligent mind that loves to learn.
Last night I had held up before me a mirror designed to assign more than just a statistical label to me. It had the power to sway not only my but others’ emotion-charged perceptions and filters toward me and any others who fit in that voter description: White female non-college educated.
That particular bar graph consistently showed a higher percentage of support for Mr. Trump. It hasn’t escaped me that others were labeled by whichever bar graph description applied to them.
Writing about human nature as I often do, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that ‘blame, shame and less than’ was wrapped up in the nuances of the commentary that followed. As though, “Father, forgive them, they know not … ” was their silent internal prayer or swear. Not “know not what they do,” but simply “they know not.” It reached out and touched the tender scar in me that, though now healed, was hard-won after a long fight:
One life regret was that as a 4.0 student graduating at the top of my class, I did not go to college.
How I agonized when that regret would roll in on a perfectly-timed tide to remind me of my lack: The job it was no use applying for as it required a college degree. The tone or outright ignoring by men and yes, other women at times, because I had only the qualifications or ‘amount of knowledge’ suitable for certain kinds of relegated positions. I pursued business and became administrative support to many executives in my 23-year career. But, to break my own glass ceiling required that missing college degree.
I transitioned from my executive assistant career without hearing that glass tinkle around me.
Instead, it’s been broken perhaps not in the sight of others, but in my own heart and mind where the first shattering of lies that bound me needed to occur. It was from that place of healing and acceptance of who I am, what I was gifted with, whose lives are in my sphere of life and influence, and most importantly – Whose I am – that I watched and emoted as the Presidential election coverage went on.
As the emotional surge began, several things were coming to me. Thoughts tumbled over each other but fear was not among them. I am so grateful for that. It made me know that the journey I have been on with the Lord has given me a life education that no college degree could provide.
To be able to think clearly and reason with His understanding; to sense washes of love for those suffering their own opposite emotional distress; to be at peace with His peace that the world simply cannot and never will be able to give – these and many more are the certificates of life application earned by the one who sincerely seeks Him because everyone and all else has failed their heart.
This morning as I scrolled through social media I read the voices of many, of which mine here is another single voice in this country that still enjoys freedoms much of the world elsewhere does not. The voices ranged from giddy to angry, dumbfounded to off-kilter, with plenty of rude and disdaining.
The ones that really got to my heart, though, were the ones where I read words like, “I’m terrified. Scared. Fearful. Anxious.” I could relate because I’ve done my share of time in that prison. I feel deeply because I know and love the One who sets the prisoner free.
The fearful heart is the one that needs Him most, for fear is leveraged by the enemy of our soul. God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.1
Plenty of people across our nation have been praying. I can tell you that the ones next door and those within our own families no doubt voted opposite sides of the ballot. That’s a no-brainer because for every vote cast for Hillary, a vote was cast for Donald. You could not watch the neck and neck race of the popular vote and not note the near-equal division of our land.
As for my commentary, I have come to the conclusion that it is not even the Christian values that we as a nation profess to hold dear and near that was the decisive factor in this election.
It was the heart of every person that voted and the hearts of those who chose not to.
Every heart, from those deeply wounded and angry who cast a ballot, to those following their God-given conscience as best they prayerfully knew, to those who determined in their own heart that their vote didn’t matter, to those who educated themselves well and voted intelligently, to those who voted against rather than for… each riddled with a mix of emotions unique to their own life and experience.
When it comes down to it, where our heart is there will be our treasure. What do we treasure?
I pray it is not the paralyzing fear of faithlessness and cowardice, but the spirit of courage and resolution to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to Him which will carry us through opposition; and the spirit of a sound mind that comes through the exercise of discipline and self control.2
Most of all, I pray today on the ninth of November for all my own offspring. Today is my youngest grandchild’s second birthday. The day and this nation belong to him too. May he find it to be a gift.
~ Gracefully Free
*There remains more rolling around in me. I may stay tuned and invite you to as well!
1 II Timothy 1:7
2 Matthew Henry Concise Commentary