Monday, November 21, 2016

Post Election Blues? Here Are Some Words For Living Well.

I am thinking today about the notion of Divine Chaos; how I see it playing out in my personal life and in the greater world around me. Having been completely opposed to Donald Trump as president although not too crazy about Hillary though I thought her extremely capable and “presidential,” I am now stuck, as are millions of others, with adjusting to our new, unwanted reality.

What to do? What to do?

Is this Divine Chaos from which we will all rise in time like the phoenix bird rising?

Or, is this simply the time of Armageddon, the end times awaiting?  Wait and see, wait and see!

One thing for New Horizons and myself to do was, of course, our “Overcoming The Polarization of Politics” conversation last Saturday. My board and myself were gratified with this occasion that permitted us to join with others, in our local community of Frederick, Maryland, to share our immediate thoughts and feelings, about the generally unforeseen election outcome. In addition to the open, non-threatening discussions we had, in both small and larger group formats, the outstanding takeaway for me was the opportunity the event gave me of experiencing the resiliency of attendees who were predominantly liberal leaning.

One woman in particular, one of our most dedicated local peace and social justice activists, touched my heart, echoing my own personal distress, of the “morning after” election results shock. Sitting quietly, more or less, next to her as she expressed her grave sense of personal loss and concern, my very spirit ached for hers. As she saw things in the aftermath of a Trump victory, all she has built her life upon, in terms of values and actions, could easily be swept now away by this new administration.  

What to do? What to do?

Yet in the midst of her sorrow, the steadfast resilience I have seen in her over the years was there too.  She would pursue what she held to be right in spite of apparent obstacles ahead. After all, these were a manifestation of who she is, at her core, and no election can alter that!

Across from this woman sat, in an intimate small group conversation, an African American man. In his profession as a lawyer, immigration law is one of the mainstays of his private practice. As I looked at him I also saw pain; a deep sorrow of what immigration law has apparently been for him up to this point. And, now?

He, too, showed a resilient character, touching my heart in a somewhat different way than the woman had.  His briefly recounted personal story told of him growing up as a Black man in Alabama, attending school in a two room schoolhouse, accommodating five grades. Was that before or after desegregation, I did not know?

Whatever his age, it was clear he had not been untouched, one iota, by the fight for African American civil rights, including, having, as he did, older cousins who had been on the front lines of that battle. 

Although I left that small group conversation to visit the others going on simultaneously, I took with me the impression that while this man had not been a Trump supporter there was a level of anticipated acceptance, predating November 8, that he had come to, that this election was only one more in an uphill battle for American civil liberties. 

As I contemplated his story Saturday evening and yesterday, along with all else I had heard at Saturday’s event, how dearly I wished it would not be that way in America for any of us.  Yet it seems this is how it will be now. 

In search of courage and endurance, I turn my mind, once again, to the words of Viktor Frankl, noted psychiatrist and survivor of Auschwitz as follows --
 “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
These are words at the center or resilience! 

I heard them, again and again on Saturday from our attendees, in search, somehow of “Overcoming “The Polarization of Politics: Healing The Wounds That Divide Us.”

What to do? What to do?

I hope  -- and – trust your post-election sorrows, if there are any, are similarly finding resolve.

And, if you are celebrating?

Well then I hope you will be patient with me – and the others – who are now intent on “leaning in” to learn and understand your views of the way things are so we can, somehow, stand together, united in “liberty and justice for all.”

1 comment:

  1. It was nice to read Willie's perspective. Thank you for sharing your insights on that.