It's the morning before Thanksgiving. The smell of tomorrow's feast is already filling my house as stock simmers on the stove to add to tomorrow's pan drippings for the turkey gravy. Thanksgiving day will be spent at our second born daughter's house, but I'll do my part to help her with some of the cooking.
Today, as usual, I woke up early to sip some hot coffee and spend some time reading my Bible and praying. My favorite worship playlist is my background noise. I've barely left the house since church on Sunday morning due to the remnants of this cold/flu that has sapped me of my normal energy levels. Instead, I've wrapped myself in the peace and comfort of home and let myself heal, not just from the flu bug, but from the recent death of my mother-in-law, and from the persistent strife on social media.
Perhaps I'm a bit Pollyanna-ish, a bit over optimistic. I think relational hurts and misunderstandings are something that can and should be talked and walked through. Abandoning relationship is not an option to me. (I'm not talking here about remaining in abusive relationships.) As a child who's dad, in essence, walked away from me at age nine, abandonment and rejection, either physically or emotionally is about as cruel as you can get. So, I tend to be extreme in the other direction. I persist in trying to mend relationship, at times, with others who have no desire to continue in relationship with me.
After the election, on social media, I tried to understand others and be understood by others that voted differently than me and saw the election aftermath differently than I did. In my attempts to "talk" through things, I made mistakes that hurt others. While I apologized, I'm not sure it was seen as sincere or as enough. I'm not sure that my efforts to maintain relationship in spite of still not seeing eye to eye about certain things worked. I'm still a bit in mourning over this, because, as I said, I'm just not a person who easily lets go of relationship. Those I don't see eye to eye with are still my sisters in Christ. I still care about them.
As I said, I've kind of hunkered down here in my safe place to let myself heal up in body, soul and spirit. I've decided to do what I've known was the right thing to do from the beginning. I'm focusing on making sure that the in real life people in my own sphere of influence are doing ok in this post election chaos. I've talked to the black and latino members of our congregation, to the immigrants, asking them how they are doing, asking them if they feel anxious or afraid. Overall, there is not nearly as much panic and fear as the media would have you think. Most respond to me with confidence and trust in God's care and protection. There's also a measure of trust in us, that we would never sit idly by and watch them be mistreated or abused.
Perhaps, part of my grieving is sensing that God just might be grieving, too, right now. Surely, the fact that His church is publicly biting and devouring one another grieves Him. Surely, the fact that we think that Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton or anyone or anything else on this earth could separate us from His loving care and protection grieves Him. Surely the fact that we are all so hell bent on being proudly identified by our political affiliation, our gender, our race, or our position rather than to humbly accept the truth that no other label or identity will last beyond this world and on into eternity except this one, "Child of God", surely that grieves His great heart.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the Christmas season is beginning. For God's sake, for the sake of the one King and the one Kingdom that will last forever and ever, I pray that you and I can get our acts together as God's children and refocus on the things that unite us instead of the things that divide us. I pray that you and I, each in our own in real life sphere of influence, will go about our Father's business, spreading the good news, making disciples, loving others. Meanwhile, I pray for God to bless you with His peace, joy and love. Have a truly happy and gratitude filled Thanksgiving.