The 2016 Presidential Election took place yesterday. I drifted off to a fitful sleep, out of pure exhaustion, and woke up around 6am this morning to learn the news of who had won. The day since has been filled with anxiety…no matter who you may have voted for, you can not deny that the months leading up to the election highlighted the deep divides that still exist in this country, and that division is not likely to disappear just because one side has won the election.
In the midst of times and situations like this, I miss my father most of all. I miss his ability to look at a mess of people who didn’t appear to have anything in common and find a way to push through the resistance each side had built up and, at the very least, get them to sit down together and talk. I miss his ability to laugh, even in the midst of chaos, and not at the expense of other people.
But most of all, I miss how, despite the maelstrom of hate and prejudice that might howl outside our doors, he always stood as a bulwark against the storm. Dad always tried to find a way to show respect to everyone — whether he agreed with what they believed or not, he recognized that their behavior didn’t exempt him from acting like a decent human being. His integrity set an example that I will always strive to follow.
And so, as we struggle to make sense of how this country can begin to work together (because, make no mistake, we are going to have to work together), I leave you with the closing words from Dad’s last sermon:
As you go about being what you want to be, and doing what you want to do, you must remember that your decisions have consequences. Therefore, you have a responsibility to make intelligent, informed decisions, weighing the consequences of those decisions on those around you as well as yourself.
As you go about your life, remember to see the world through God’s eyes. Where you see despair, offer hope. Where you see hatred, show love. Where you see turmoil, bring peace. Where you see inequality, seek justice.
If you do this, you will bring joy to those around you, but, more importantly, you will bring joy to God.