on moving

I have two grand ideas. At least, I think they’re grand. And they aren’t hard ideas. They don’t involve a lot of work or much effort or learning a new skill. Not to start anyway. The goal is learning and growing. But the starting? That’s probably the easy part.

And yet, I haven’t managed to get off my butt and make these things happen. I’m a procrastinator, so that’s strike 1. Despite that, I do manage to get things done. Eventually. Strike 2? These two ideas involve putting myself out there. I’m an introvert. I like my down time, my alone time, my quiet time. I guard it and protect it. My Grand Ideas involve Other People. You know, the kind you have to talk with and engage.

Post-election, I’m fighting with myself as much as I’m fighting (in my head/heart if not in person) with other people. I want something different. Doing the same old thing has led to an imbalanced man-baby leading our country. If this doesn’t shake us up, what will? Let me rephrase: if this doesn’t shake me up, what will?

Routine is comfortable. It’s safe. I like that. When one struggles with anxiety, one learns to cultivate safety. Except that I wrote a new prayer for myself for 2017, one that asks for the grace to be broken open, vulnerable. I’ve thought of my post on vulnerability quite a few times in recent weeks as I’ve pondered these Grand Ideas. One of them in particular will take me out of a comfort zone. It’s a little intimidating, but it’s not complicated. So why am I getting in my own way?

It drives me batty when I’m in a situation where things are done a certain way simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done. But here I am, doing the same thing in my day-to-day life.

Until now.

the hard part

We all have them: those friends or family members, coworkers or acquaintances who voted for the other side. There have been quite a few articles written about the divisiveness of this election. Articles about why the people who supported Clinton (enthusiastically or even begrudgingly) are upset about Trump’s win. Articles about why this seems to be such a betrayal—of democracy, of whatever religious values are held, of the common good, of basic human decency.

Yes, this was a divisive election. Yes, I’m mad as hell about Trump’s win. And yes, I feel betrayed. I am preaching to the choir, though.

These days, I keep thinking about what it means to heal. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned to a friend that a family member has unfriended me on Facebook. I mentioned a few other things that have happened in the past months that lead me to believe this wasn’t accidental and that it stems from our different thoughts on the election. She was pretty shocked by this. “Who do you want to be in this situation?” she asked. I answered immediately with the right answer: “I want to be the healer.”

And yes, I do. But that wasn’t completely truthful. Because I’m not ready to be the healer yet. I’m mad, not just at this person, but at half of our country who thought Trump was a qualified, acceptable, “lesser of two evils.” And this person doesn’t need to bear the brunt of anger that’s directed at millions.

I don’t like being angry. Maybe I do occasionally. But to have daily moments of anger? There’s a reason it’s one of the seven deadly sins. Anger poisons. It runs through the body, red hot, tensing shoulders and jaws, furrowing brows. It blocks sight of the good and the capacity for gentleness. Left stagnant, anger turns the heart to stone.

We who are angered are standing at a crossroad. I don’t want to let go of my anger yet. The things that are happening should result in anger. We should be mad that people who legally came to the United States or who helped us in our times of need were detained last weekend. We should be mad that women, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, the disabled, the LGBT community are frightened for their freedoms. We should be mad that those with mental illnesses now have better access to guns, but their access to quality health care is being debated. This deserves anger.

But it also deserves movement. And that is, for now, the hard part for me. Because the movement that’s required isn’t merely about organizing and protesting and donating.

It’s about opening the heart to those by whom we’ve been hurt. Is that too dramatic? I’m not sure it is. Politics is personal, someone somewhere has said. And if that’s the case, then our feelings and beliefs will be broken in the process of being political. And this time, the process has had everything to do with who we are as a country. I can’t put Donald Trump’s hatefulness and uncouthness aside from his politics. His politics reflect his hatefulness. And that’s something I’ll never accept.

So what do I do with my neighbor(s) who voted for this man? Who thought he’d be okay despite everything that said he wouldn’t? I’ve learned something about them I didn’t want to know: they can turn a blind eye to hate, discrimination, and ignorance. I’m not quite ready to forgive that yet.

I want to be the healer, but maybe the wound is still too fresh.