I've started this blog several times and started over. We'll see if this one actually makes it to print. Words have power, and I try to be careful and thoughtful with my words, I hope I am anyway. So many people are hurting right now. So many... on all sides of all issues. There's anger everywhere. Possibly much of it is justified; again on all sides. However, the way we channel our anger is everything. Life brings many disappointments along the way, but hopefully they don't define the bigger picture of our life. I've had my share and I'm sure there will be more. I cringe at the thought because...well... who wants to embrace disappointment? I'll come back to that in a different blog.
In my lifetime so far, I've had the privilege of voting in nine presidential elections. (Okay I feel old now) In those nine elections I have voted Republican, Democrat, and Independent. At this phase of my life I'm glad I can look back and see a diversity of thought and choice in my journey. My father always encouraged me to examine the person and vote accordingly. Although I haven't always listened to dad's advice, and we sometimes disagree, this is one area I'm thankful I listened.
Looking back on those elections, their outcomes, and what was produced during those terms of office held, I can honestly say that there are a few times I now believe I voted incorrectly...two to be exact... And a few where I held my nose and just voted hoping for the best. Too many of those. As I was able to experience each presidential term play out, I could evaluate how I felt about the effectiveness and potential good brought to our country by that leader. In doing so, I've been able to confront my own choices. (If I'm willing) I have always believed I have a responsibility to examine myself and my actions in the area of voting as it matters that we get it as right as we can.
Regarding one vote I made, I was able to look back with a grateful heart that the candidate did not win. It might have been disastrous. I didn't come to that conclusion overnight. It took me years to recognize it. Another of my votes, I realized in the middle of the term I wasn't terribly pleased. And in one other vote, I was able to correct an earlier choice I had made and vote in the candidate I probably ought to have voted for the first time.
Sometimes the vote went the way I hoped, and others it did not. That my friends is the American process. I can thankfully say that I've never lost my cookies over a candidate not being elected. Each president brings something different to the table...they will bring some work that we like and some that we don't. Not one of them has ever been the same person they were on the campaign trail. I can't say I've ever been 100% pleased with everything a president has done. None of them will perfectly fit our personal vision. I'm personally far more concerned about congress right now.
My point in all this is not to say I've figured it all out, because I haven't and none of us have. There is work to be done and healing to be felt. We can each help or hurt this process. WE choose. We can reach out in love to others no matter their beliefs, their color, their gender, or their party. We can help those in need, which I believe in my heart of hearts is the job of the community not the government. We can help encourage others who are struggling, and we can feed the hungry, and clothe the poor. We can help people get back on their feet, but only if they want to get back on their feet. We also have to recognize that some don't want our help. Some just want to be a victim instead of the victor they could be. That's hard for me to swallow because I love watching people walk into victory in their lives... whether its been poverty, abuse, neglect, depression, persecution, homelessness, illness, addiction, or personal pain. Whatever it may be, I've seen so many walk into victory and freedom from many of these things. I've also sadly watched some lose their battle, and some choose not to fight.
We can never be sure we made the correct choice until after we've seen what is done in the office. And I've always made it a point to give any candidate the opportunity to show us what they will do. If they do well then we all benefit. If they don't do well, then we use our voices to speak out and create change. This is how our country has thrived for over 200 years.
But, our words do matter, our actions matter, and how we use them matters. If we just shout obscenities and call people names, we lower ourselves and we don't carry ourselves in a dignified manner. I don't know about you, but I don't take people seriously who can't have a respectful discussion or use their voice in a productive way. We need to learn to allow people to celebrate when they desire to. Everyone has different reasons for celebrating different things. We don't all have to agree, but we can support others in their moments. What I don't support is doing damage, harming property, threatening others, and labeling people. This has never and will never accomplish anything.
My heart has been hurting the past few days as I've watched many people I know be hurt or do the hurting. Many didn't do anything intentionally, but also didn't stop to think about how their words or message came across. When I see this happening, friendships broken, people hurt deeply, words being shared that come across as if they're being thrown in the faces of others, arguing back and forth(and this has been on all sides people) it hurts my heart because it only makes us more divided. I've allowed myself to get drawn into the argument at times in the past and it's never good. This country wasn't built through division, it was built through unity and hard work. We've definitely had our growing pains, and we've seen a lot of strife, but what always sees us through is our ability to rise above, work together, and love others despite any differences we may have.
I've sat and talked with several friends this past month. People from all walks of life and differing positions on issues and our country. I love each and every one of them. They've all offered interesting thought. Ultimately we've had some great discussion and even if we don't agree on everything, we find that we definitely have more in common than not and we walk away loving each other. I'd like to think that's the way most people want it to be. Working together we can create great change. I don't know how everyone feels but it seems to me the first place we need to see improvement in is our economy. No matter who the president is, my hope has been that we will see people going back to work, supporting their families, getting back on their feet. If we can get that machine running efficiently again, I believe we'll see other areas improve as a result. It's like a domino affect.
Our country is a wonderful melting pot of many different kinds of people. Let's embrace who we are and be thankful for the amazing freedom we possess in the Unites States of America and move forward with a watchful eye and an open mind...with a loving heart and a thoughtful word. With an attitude to roll up our sleeves and heal our land.
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