I have been particularly quiet on social media this election season. Maybe you’ve noticed – my dad did and he asked me about it a few weeks ago.
And yes, I have been quiet. This election season has been hard for me. I’ve felt like everyone is just shouting at each other and nobody is sitting down and really listening to each other. I can’t make that better by also shouting at my 600+ Facebook friends. During this election season, I have had lots of meaningful one on one or small group conversations with my friends and for those I am grateful. I am grateful for friends who feel the same way as I do, who have been a safe space for me to talk about my anxieties about the election. I am grateful for friends who feel differently than I do, who have challenged me and caused me to think because I absolutely think that we need people of all walks of life in our lives.
But overall, I think this quote from The Art of Simple summarizes my feelings well. (By the way, you should totally click on that link because it is A Nonpartisan Guide to Surviving November 2016 and it’s full of amazing suggestions.)
I have to confess that I was truly shocked by how much anxiety this election caused me. I’ve never put any political bumper stickers on my car, but I’ve always cared deeply about being informed about what’s happening in the world.
As many of you know, I studied political science in college. So for me to feel so much anxiety about this election feels, in and of itself, unnerving. I love to vote and this year, I’m just dreading it. It feels like a chore, instead of an awesome privilege that lots of people around the world aren’t given. But what this election has taught me, more than anything, is the same thing that I guess life has been trying to teach me forever. Other people are out of my control. I can no more control them and what they do or say, then they can control me.
So while I won’t tell you who I am voting for this election season, here is what I can tell you that I choose.
I am choosing to love my friends and family, no matter who they vote for.
I am choosing to be kind to those who think differently than me.
I am choosing to remember that this election is just one part of life and even though it feels all consuming and everywhere, there are so many good and beautiful things still in the world.
I am choosing to look for the beautiful things.
I am choosing, in the wise words of Mr. Rogers, to look for the helpers.
I am choosing not to let the outcome of the election define me or my future.
I am choosing to show my kids that voting is important.
I am choosing to show my kids that we can love all people.
I am choosing to love myself and not let anyone make me think less of myself.
I am choosing to remember that God is in control.
I am choosing to remember that nothing can separate me from the amazing love of God.
I am choosing to have conversations with people and to try and really listen to them.
I am choosing to remember that we all have to still learn and live and work together after November 8th.
I am choosing to remember that things can change, even when change seems impossible.
I am choosing hope.
I am choosing not to let this election cycle change my hope.
This is what I choose this election cycle, no matter who wins.
Will you join me in choosing these things?