Wow. Donald Trump is the President of the United States, the most powerful economic and military country in the world. That was a very difficult sentence for my fingers to type. I haven’t felt this stunned by world events since 9/11, 2001. The world was changed then, and it is changed now.
To be honest, yesterday hope felt far removed from the realities of the day. The speeches of Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton and President Obama were inspiring and encouraging. Like a drink of cool water in a barren desert, I was grateful to hear their intelligence, wisdom and humanity.
I appreciate notes of encouragement and shared dismay you’ve sent my way. Family and friends have been in touch, and I’m so grateful for those connections. Earlier yesterday Wingfield Rehmus sent a reflection that, with her permission, I would like to share with you. She astutely expresses her grief and her determination to move forward in this piece we might call, “I Wept; I Rise.” May it help us all remember the light that shines in every darkness.
I WEPT; I RISE
by Wingfield Rehmus
Yesterday, I voted.
Last night, I wept……
I wept for the Khan family who bravely told their story and white America failed to respond.
I wept for immigrants that struggle day after day to make a better life for themselves and to build a new home for their families and again heard that they are not valued.
I wept for the disabled, mocked for their struggles, who are reminded that they are still pushing their chairs uphill.
I wept for same-sex couples, told that their deep love is a threat to family values while a man married three times with countless accusations of sexual assault celebrates as the torch-bearer of Evangelical values.
I wept for girls who yet again see that even if they loyally uphold their marital vows, work tirelessly for the public good, and strive to put forth a positive agenda, they are not good enough if a charismatic man comes along to challenge their accomplishments and grade their physical appearance.
I wept for boys who are presented with a model of success built upon rising higher by knocking others down.
I wept for women who have been groped by strangers and then told that they did something to bring it on or that they lied when they dared to come forward.
I wept for rural Americans who feel so disillusioned that their best hope comes in the form of a man offering walls and insults and instability.
I wept for the Earth, threatened by human unwillingness to face the reality of our collective impact.
I wept for those who seek to tell the truth as they watch boldly stated lies overshadow the plainly spoken truth.
I wept for African Americans when the answer to systemic bias is stop and frisk, law and order.
I wept for young women facing horrible choices.
I wept for those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
I wept for Christianity.
I wept for religious freedom.
I wept for humility and justice and mercy.
I even wept for a man whose sense of self is so fragile that he must paint his name in gold letters on everything he touches and who lashes at any who threaten his position.
The election might not have been about these things, but is was all of them.
And so I wept and as the tears fell, the rain washed over me as the skies joined in my sorrow.
Last night I wept, and I wept, and I wept.
This morning, I must rise.
I rise no longer complacent that good will prevail simply because it is good.
I rise aware that democracy is fragile and difficult and worth fighting for.
I rise in solidarity with all who felt belittled by a campaign built on the cornerstones of hate and fear.
I rise unwilling to remain silent in the face of injustice.
I rise with gratitude for our Founding Fathers whose wisdom built checks and balances into our government.
I rise having heard the suffering of small town Americans and wanting to listen to what their vote is saying about their concerns.
I rise with faith that God is with us, even at the worst of times.
I rise knowing that no matter how dark the skies, the sun will break through, that a small candle can light a dark room and ready to hold that candle.
I rise with forgiveness for all the pain we humans have inflicted on each other.
I rise believing that we are stronger together.
I rise with profound love for my partner, my children, my family, my friends, my community and my country.
I rise determined to fight for a different vision. A vision of a world in balance, a world of enough, a world of opportunity for all people and respect for others, a world of hope and peace and justice and meaning.
Yesterday, I voted.
Last night, I wept.
This morning, I must rise
And tomorrow get to work.