Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today, I grieve

I wrote this because I need desperately to process and grieve. If you feel differently by all means enjoy your unencumbered heart, but please refrain from dishonoring mine with your words.

Anna's school canceled a lock-down drill today because children were coming to school anxious and scared about the results of last night's election and didn't need to be reminded that someone might come in and shoot them in their classroom.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Last night Anna learned that Hillary Clinton might lose the election. She cried. She asked me if Donald Trump was going to kill her because she heard kids said that he is a 'bad guy' and that's what they do in movies. I comforted her and told her (again) that he's not a 'bad guy' and he wasn't going to kill anyone. I told her it was still early and we wouldn't know until the morning who won. I told her it was going to be OK no matter what happened. I thought about how sad it is that she might grow up scared of the next President regardless of the logic. I thought about how there are many real reasons to fear.

This morning Anna came into our room and asked who won the election. I swallowed hard, looked away and took a deep breath. I struggled to keep my voice steady and stated that Donald Trump did. She saw my tears and she cried, too. She kept saying that she was sorry and she kept asking if it was going to be OK. I kept telling her that she would be OK. I told her nothing would change in our family or our house. I told her it was even more important now that we are kind and love and take care of the people that Donald Trump isn't so nice to. She asked if he would be mean to her and I said of course not and that she would probably never meet him, but that if she did he would probably be really nice to her.

I was going to wake Anna up last night and bring her downstairs to see the first female be elected President of the United States of America. I was going to share that seminal moment with her. A moment that would have been historic and powerful for me, but would have been normal for her. She wasn't going to have to know any better.

But here we are trying to find the words to calm her fears without lying to her and lying to her anyway because we don't know how to tell her that this man who is hateful to so many, who has said things we can't repeat, who wants to turn away the very people Jesus wants us to invite in will be leading this country. I can't look her in the eye and tell her everything is OK when millions of people decided to put him in charge despite all this, or worse, because all this. It is not OK.

I went to bed lying to myself that it was going to be alright and woke up this morning with the realization that I'm not so much scared of what he will do, or try to do, but I am absolutely terrified by what has been done. Hatred, bigotry, sexism, racism and fear has been endorsed by millions upon millions of Americans. Make no mistake, a vote is an endorsement.

And this is where we are raising our daughters.

I was praying in the shower, tears falling down my face. I felt grateful and guilty with the realization that our children will probably remain largely directly unaffected, that in fact some of the unjust systems that will be perpetuated are the systems from which they already benefit. I felt angry and scared that we teach our daughters proper terminology and consent so they can protect themselves from the very thing that the President elect has bragged about doing. I felt helpless that he was elected despite such fervent and vocal opposition and then convicted that in fact for those of us who believe that love truly does trump hate that the work has just now begun.

I believe this - that now is when the real work begins. We fight back. We love bigger, we give more generously, we believe the best in people, we advocate for others. We don't give up. We don't agree with the vitriol coming from the White House so we model grace and compassion and justice in our homes. Our children may not see decency and character or even common courtesy in leadership but they will see it in us. We live with integrity. We live what we believe. We will be the change we want so desperately to see.

Yet...

Her school canceled a lock-down drill today because children were coming to school anxious and scared about the results of last night's election and didn't need to be reminded that someone might come in and shoot them in their classroom. And this morning, in that very classroom where they practice those drills, Anna put her hand over her heart and pledged allegiance to this country.

...

I remain committed to the good work, to sharing the Love and living in hope, but today, today I just need to cry.

3 comments:

Janet Hanson said...

My 24 year old daughter needed the same reassurance. It's difficult to find the words. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good," from Romans 12, the very heart of the NT.

Thank you, Sheri, I will be praying for you and your family, that you will be light in dark places.

Kristen Mashiana said...

Thank you for your thoughtful words Sheri. My 23 yr old daughter who is multi-racial and who is in college in Colorado texted me last night, looking for reassurance that life as she knew it was not over. She texted me again this morning with a simple, "Mom, am I going to be safe today?" How does a mother even begin to deal with that??!
I assured her and will continue to assure her (and the rest of my daughters) that life will go on, and our awesome and sovreign God will go before us, because regardless of who is now president of our country, God is still KING!

Panharith said...

Thank you for your thoughtful words Sheri!





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