Last week was a tough one for most of us who have a commitment to not only the ideals of equity, freedom, and justice—but also the physical manifestation of those ideals into lived reality.
The United States of America has always been a land of paradox and illusion. What has been touted as “freedom” has really been freedom for some and slavery for others. What has been presented as “opportunity” has been a new life for some and stolen lands for others. What has been upheld as “justice for all” has really been justice for some and injustice for the others. What has been celebrated as “diversity” has been inclusion for some and exclusion for others.
Those who have suffered from the grips of this country’s unequal laws, oppressive systems, dehumanizing institutions and generational violence have known this too well and for too long. This project of the United States of America—this 238 year old experiment in democracy—time and time again has been at the expense of the poor, people of color, women, and immigrants.
It was enslaved Africans who were forced to give their labor for free in order to build the wealth and infrastructure of this country. It was immigrants and indentured servants who made a life on less than livable wages to build our railroads, grow our food, work in our factories. It was our indigenous brothers and sisters who were forced at gunpoint and deception to give over their lands for free. We cannot forget this history…it is part of the creation story of the United States. It tells us who we are and it shapes our current reality.
So again…here we are living in this “experiment of democracy” with a president-elect who is openly racist, homophobic, sexist, and xenophobic. It is again on the backs of the poor, people of color, women, immigrants, and our muslim and LGBTQ brothers and sister to endure the ramifications of this tyranny. . .for we will be and continue to be impacted the most.
This impact is personal. When you know and have witnessed this impact on your friends, children, cousins, aunties and people you love and care for, it is only human for feelings of anger, sadness, and worry to arise. They are the cries of our ancestors.
Allow yourself to be mad as hell. Shed those tears of sadness. Take notice of the worry you may feel about the future for yourself, your family, and others. It is justified by history. It is warranted by current reality.
Be kind to yourself and accept feelings of anger, sadness, or worry. To deny those feelings or bypass them would be oppressive and inhumane. Anger, sadness, and worry are demonized in this culture so much, but these feelings aren’t bad in and of themselves. They are present. They are real. They are often fluid. It’s what we do with anger, sadness, and worry and how much power we give them that can be either life-giving or destructive. This is where we have choice and this is where we have power. Let those feelings of anger, sadness, and worry be your guide and your teacher. May they give you wisdom. Let them clarify your truths and reveal your deepest needs. Let them move through you. Let them bring you to your knees for prayer…inspire you to action…warn you when you aren’t safe…spark you to reach out to others for connection and support.
I don’t believe in a God that gives the pain or takes the pain away-humans seemed to have mastered that ability, but I do believe in a God that is with us in the pain, helps us to endure, to transform, to create, to be powerful, to survive and to thrive.
God of Justice, God of Love,
God of Creation, God of Mercy,
be with us now and always.