I don’t remember another time in my own life when things were this tense in my country. But I do know a bit about history and I am not sure I want America to go back to some of those years. I am among those who have been protected because of my race, my freedom to choose where to live, the privilege to go where I want, and the expectation that I will be respected in my day-to-day dealings. But over the past couple of years, social media has opened my eyes to the realization that the forces that keep others from having these same benefits are stronger than I ever knew.
I have chosen to be one to wear a safety pin as a sign of my willingness to help someone who feels threatened in a social situation. Now I realize that the pin is not for them, but for me. It is pinned to my coat to remind me that when I see someone getting bullied, I can choose to do something about it. I have that power. I may have to conjure up courage, but I don’t have to allow my own fears to get in the way of speaking up or stepping up. The other advantage of the pin is that it is a sign of solidarity. If I see someone being threatened and I notice others wearing safety pins, I can feel our common resolve and trust that if I act, others will step forward as well.
We are reeling from the election. Or rather, we are reeling from the campaign. It was ugly as hell. I heard things spoken that, if I were lesbian or black or Muslim or an immigrant or a person who would suffer or die without health care, I would be full of fear. I am a woman and I am elderly, so I am in two categories of folks that feel fear. But I am choosing non-fear. I will respond as issues come up. I will hammer at the doors of my legislators and, when necessary, join my voice with others to speak. I will use my gift of writing as best I can.
I will smile at anyone and every one I pass on the street and strike up conversations with folks in the check-out, especially those who may be suffering discrimination. I will listen. I will speak only words of kindness. I will pray to be an instrument of God’s love.
Some of us walked into the voting box this election with the attitude that God is the one in control. But I don’t think that has anything to do with who won or who lost the election any more than God controls which team wins or loses a basketball game. That isn’t how God works. I believe that God works in hearts. If the outcome of this election is people stepping forth to love others, even their so-called enemies, God’s will is being done.