“We have failed Thy grace.
Lord, I flinch and pray,
send Thy necessity.”
-Wendell Berry, “We Who Prayed and Wept”
A couple weeks ago, my husband briefly expressed his concern over the upcoming presidential administration to an acquaintance. It was a reasonable statement based on facts and important issues rather than emotion.
“Aw, do we need to buy you a puppy?,” the acquaintance interrupted. “What do we need to do to help you feel all better,” he continued in mock pity.
My husband ended the interaction quickly with grace and strength, but we have found this sentiment to be the knee-jerk response of a vast majority of conservatives around us. The few conservatives with whom we have shared our political views have made fun of us, told us we’re going to hell, or patted us on the head like whiny kids in a candy shop who didn’t get the treat they wanted.
Call me crazy or a snowflake or whatever you want, but something about this election season has made it ok to mock and gloat, to deride and hate. And that something is the president-elect. I have a feeling this division has always been lurking under the surface. But now we’ve been inspired by America’s representative citizen, the highest office in the world, to imbibe our darkness, rage, and fear of the other. If there was anything like empathy beginning to root itself in the soil of our nation, we have come to discover that there is no tenable land here. Rather we have taken residence on a rocky, arctic tundra of willful ignorance, panic, and depravity.
There is no common ground here. There is no meeting place. That is a loss and a death.
So, I will grieve a president who mocks women, ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, the physically challenged. I will grieve a president who gas-lights our country, manipulates the masses, and makes hate the norm. I will grieve a president who makes a mockery of our nation to the world.
I will grieve.
Because grief is not a luxury.
It is a necessity as the gateway to healing and action.
And if some of us grieve amidst the backdrop of jeering and bullying, we will still mend. We will work diligently to carry out active compassion. And we will hold onto hope. Not a shiny, pristine hope. But a torn and patched hope, strengthened by threads stitched over and over through a long, necessary night.