Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Prayers and Lamentations
It's morning in America. Literally. Not in any rosy metaphorical way, but just in the "lord, I hate mornings and there's just not enough coffee for this" kind of way. It’s raining where I am, and the dull grey seems appropriate to this morning after.
Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States of America.
Sometimes I have to write things down and read them before I believe them. This is one of those times. Even reading it doesn’t much help. Perhaps it’s the sleep deprivation from staying up past midnight as returns came in and hopes dwindled.
I much prefer losing sleep for baseball games. This, alas, is not a game and I fear the many people dear to me will suffer greatly under this man. As friends lose health insurance, lose marriage rights, lose reproductive freedoms, religious freedoms, are reminded that their lives don’t, in fact, matter to the majority of Americans and their bodies are not safe, I will lament.
I will recommit to the work of justice, but on this drizzly morning it feels too soon to make even that small statement. The work goes on, but this election has made it so much more difficult.
There is a time for every purpose under heaven, and this feels like a time to rest in lament. That is not the same as wallowing in despair, but, rather, a holy moment stepping outside of the rush of history to give voice to the tears that well up in prayers for the nation. In my lamentation, I pray.
I pray today that my daughter, who this morning said, “I’m glad I decided not to apply to Virginia Tech because I don’t think I would feel safe in that area,” some day lives in a country where feeling safe is not a privilege reserved for men.
I pray today that a friend, who this morning posted, “well, I guess now I won’t have health care insurance,” some day lives in a country where health care is a right and not a privilege reserved for the affluent.
I pray today that an African-American friend, who last night wondered, “will I be safe,” some day lives in a country where black lives matter as much as white ones.
I pray today that gay friends, who are wondering if their marriages will survive a new Supreme Court, some day live in a country that believes that love is love is love is love is love.
I pray today that friends who are federal employees (not to mention my wife who is one), and who today are fearful not only about their economic futures but also about their personal safety following a campaign in which they were casually vilified, some day live in a country that authentically values public service.
I pray for the planet whose climate we have so deeply damaged, for the lands far distant where war wages and peace, today, seems even further out of reach, and for refugees who, today, know that they are not welcome in the country from whose shore shines a lamp that once proclaimed, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Finally, I pray today that our long experiment in self-government does not come apart at the seams, even though the fabric of the nation is fraying in frightening ways.
In time, I trust, we will find hope for our hearts, strength for our hands, and ways to give feet to our prayers, but today it feels appropriate to sit in lamentation. Weep, beloved nation, and trust that though tears will linger for a while, there will again be a time of joy, of dancing, of building up, of love, and of peace.