I have to admit. I went to bed early last night. The tension was too high, no one knew what exactly was going on and the pressure from both sides felt immense. I’d never felt so much division in my life, or seen so many people struggle wholeheartedly in how to vote during an election period. It was intense.
What I woke up to was worse.
First, I signed onto the news…I needed to know where everything stood, how the night ended and if we had a candidate that was chosen. We had – you all know the outcome there.
But, then, I signed onto Facebook.
I saw so much.
I saw hate.
I saw fear.
I saw uncertainty.
I saw victory speeches.
I saw celebrations.
When I put it all together…I saw division. Division without thought for others. When division and speech happen without the thought for the people involved in the equation, it comes out as hate. Pure, spewing hatred.
I didn’t cry over the new president. That course was chosen months ago when the final candidates were chosen. I cried over the conversations and talk coming from both sides, from people I dearly love. I saw gross over-generalizations and assumptions. I saw talk without thought.
Right now, hearts are tender.
People we love are fearful. They’re afraid for their rights. They’re afraid for the direction of our country. They’re afraid at how their families and lives will be affected on a very real, personal level.
Over the past few months, division has grown like never before. It’s been helped along by social media sites, by the ability to speak openly without the fear of recourse. Friendships have been lost. Uncertainty and mistrust have festered…and the trend is always growing.
Here are a few things we must remember.
Hearts that are tender call for tenderness. Angry reactions, social media fights and generalizations won’t help anything. Stop. Think of who’s reading. Think of who will be forever impacted by your words. Think.
Listen. No matter who you voted for, listen to those around you. Instead of jumping to conclusions and public thoughts that 10 years ago would have been private, just listen. Take the time to try to understand those who are fearful, those who are feeling true hurt and mistrust today and in the coming weeks. Cross your party line and listen. Be there. Be available.
It doesn’t matter what side of the party line you reside on – if you can pick one after this cycle at all. Now is the time to pick each other up. Because, here’s the thing…the hatred that’s flying isn’t coming from the government right now, it’s coming from the ground level – from us. That means it can be fixed by us. We can’t take back the words of others – we can only account for ourselves. But, one small act of kindness, of truth, of letting others be heard could be more valuable with more of an affect than 10 others that are full of hate, pride or other negatives.
Lead by example. Our kids are listening. People new to our country are watching. They feel our emotions, they watch for our cues.
We cannot make a sweeping change to what’s done. It’s in the past. But, we can teach. We can show kindness to those around us. We can show our kids what loving our neighbors really means. We can show that being a good member of society, being good to those around us, that it trumps being a member of a political party every, single, time.
Reach out. You know those that are hurting today. Whether they’ve made it clear publicly or not, you know those who are concerned. Send a message – it takes 10 seconds. Let them know you’re there, that you’re ready to listen and that you’d be happy to grab a coffee or drink. Be there. Be genuine. Be willing to listen.
What’s done is done. It’s over. But, before you celebrate it or mourn it through mass generalizations, before you even try to understand what might seem incomprehensible…just be open. Pay attention, be a light, be a real example of love in a dark and uncertain time.
If you can make a difference in the life of one person today, it will be worth it.
Hearts that are tender call for tenderness – who can you be there for today? How can you make a difference?