I sent this out to my women’s group at our church the other day as I realized that I could not be the only one feeling frustrated about the current election situation:
*** Hello Sisters, Please grant me a few minutes of your time. I will preface this mail by saying that it is a mail about the election – but is not about politics.
We met last night for the Great Adventure Bible Study and went through our studies for the week. After the study, someone mentioned that they had been feeling anxious and almost depressed surrounding the elections.
A wave of relief came over me to hear that someone else had been feeling this way as I, too, had been feeling a sense of loss of peace, an overwhelming sense of anxiety and had been overcome with a feeling of depression. I had also been finding myself feeling very angry.
The election has become very divisive within our country and it seems as though the sense of charity of people toward one another has been lost during this time and people have forgotten the idea of what it means to treat others as they would want to be treated. Its not just in what people are saying to one another, but also in what they are doing.
The fact that Homeland Security and police around the country have been put on alert and are making plans for post-election outcomes speaks for itself (have we EVER heard of this being done here in the US before? We watch it on the news in countries around the world… but who would have thought that it would be the US that would be at risk of civil uprising and disobedience based on the outcome of the election).
In any event, this individual who was sharing her views last night noted that she was feeling persecuted by others for her beliefs and choices and it was becoming very clear as the election process unfolds. I, too, had been feeling that way. I have shared the story with some of you that I was ‘expelled’ from my running group because of my expression of my beliefs (which was spurred by a comment made by one of the runners while discussing the ‘Trail of Lights’ in Zilker Park – he said ‘I can’t understand why Michael Dell, a Jew, would sponsor a Jesus celebration’ – day after day I bit my tongue while running, but I couldn’t keep silent after hearing this entirely offensive remark). During the course of the discussion I was told I was ‘wrong’, ‘crazy’, and also told that my views were ‘extremist’ and ‘radical’ (I’ll spare you the details, but I can assure you that the discussion from my perspective was non-judgmental from my side and was a flurry of personal attacks from the other – those who were there are baffled by my expulsion based on the nature of the discussion). One runner even asked me to prove that God existed (things were a little intense by this point and I wasn’t quick enough on my feet to retort ‘Prove to me He doesn’t').
I went through a few difficult weeks of feeling very angry, hurt, humiliated and ashamed about what had happened, but have come to realize that God had actually freed me from a very toxic environment. ‘The truth shall set you free’.
In any event, I wanted to share with you a story of what happened to me yesterday. I went to morning Mass with G as I wanted to pray for God to be with Julie during her surgery yesterday and I wanted to pray for a return to peace and a freedom from anxiety for myself. I had been praying for this recently – but I was still feeling a little crazed and thought that perhaps going to ‘His House’ to pray might help Him hear a little more This was the gospel reading for yesterday: Lk 12:49-53 Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Father gave a beautiful homily talking about the power of love and used the analogy of ‘setting the earth on fire’ by our thoughts and our actions and through love and awareness. As I sat in prayer waiting to go up for Communion, I heard it clear as day from within – ‘The feelings you feel are an attempt to distract you from what you should be doing in this time, which is to carry on in the spirit of love and to spend time in prayer.’
I realized then that I had no control over the outcome (quite literally because I can’t vote but that I did have the most powerful force out there on my side to call on in a great time of need like this.
As if that wasn’t clear enough… our study last night was discussing Genesis 24 – 50 in which the story of Joseph is told. The Reader’s Digest version is this: Joseph is the beloved son of his father as he is the first born of the wife that his father truly loves and adores. He also has dreams in which it is revealed to him that his brothers will bow down to him and that they will be his servants. His brothers – envious of Joseph – sell him into slavery into Egypt and tell their father that Joseph is dead. Joseph goes on to become the most powerful man in Egypt next to the Pharaoh and saves his family – and the whole of the region – from great famine (G likes to call him the greatest commodities trader EVER!). In the end, he forgives his brothers for what they have done when he sees that they have repented and shares in his good fortunes with them. In spite of the terrible treatment by his brothers and being sold into slavery – and a whole host of other terrible things that happen to him during his life – he forgives his family and those who have done ill against him because he knows that it is part of God’s bigger plan.
The author of the study, during his lecture, notes that if you only remember ONE passage from Genesis – let it be this one that Joseph says when talking to his brothers about why he forgives them (remember at this time, the New Testament has not been written and forgiveness isn’t really in the order of the day….): As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. – Genesis 50:20
This comforted me greatly to remind me that this chaos and mayhem that reigns right now in the US is part of God’s bigger plan and that we are to trust in His will. We need to trust that He will watch over us and keep us from harm.
I’m sorry to have gone on and on here, but I wanted to share this with you in the hope that it brings you comfort in the event that you have been feeling any of the same feelings lately. I got up this morning and prayed the rosary and will do so every day until the election and will keep doing so after the election to call upon God for His mercy in watching over the entire country and call upon the hearts and minds of those who live here to be reminded of the need for charity toward one another and unity within. Much Love, D