The other day I posted this woeful little snippet on Facebook, along with an incongruously beautiful photo of fall trees:
“This election has left me feeling emotionally exhausted.
I know I’m not alone in that. I know that most are ready for it to just be over, already. But I derive no comfort in the fact that Election Day is just one day away. Everything that divides our country today will continue to divide us tomorrow. And Tuesday’s results, whichever way they swing, will be bitterly contested. (If not legally, then in the court of public opinion.)
It seems more appropriate to me than ever before that we do this in the fall. For we have a winter ahead, and we must get through it before spring can come.”
That’s a depressing thought, I know. But it’s a good representation of where I find myself these days. I’m feeling weighed-down and serious. And ironically, I’m feeling far less nervous than I normally do before an election, because we’re sunk so deeply in the mud this time that I can think of no electoral outcome to offer us relief. Nov. 8 will not end our ordeal.
So I’m not praying for Election Day to come at us with greater speed. I’m not praying for one candidate’s triumph. I’m not praying for a particular partisan or demographic turnout. I’m praying something like this:
Please be with us. Please abide in our hearts so as to nudge us, the American people, to seek goodness and truth, justice and love. (In other words, to seek You.)
Help us to dispel the anger, fear, and resentment we have been harboring. Help us to heal the wounds that have degraded our relationships and divided our country. Help us to take an honest accounting of our roles in that division and to be brave enough to reverse course.
Help us to listen, to reach out, to speak honestly. Help us to stand up for our own convictions and to try to understand others’. Help us to respond to reason and good will, not provocation and malice.
Help us to value the vulnerable. Help us to speak up for others, especially those who cannot speak up for themselves.
Help us to give generously, to work hard, to understand that our citizenship conveys both opportunity and obligation.
Help us to elect upright, honorable individuals who will put the common good above personal gain.
Help us to remake our political parties so that they reflect different strategies for achieving human rights – not differences as to who deserves them.
Help us to weather this storm. Help us to awaken to its destructiveness and resolve to overcome it. Help us to renew our country, to remember its promise. Amen.