Donald and Melania and Hillary and Bill were friends once. They put their arms around each other and hugged and laughed, raising a glass of champagne in a wedding toast.
I cling to that picture in my mind as I sift through the ashes of this election. My own family split the Trump/Clinton vote–people I love and cherish often disagree with me on politics. So we don’t discuss it.
Today I learned that some of my family had decided to just get in the car and leave town…go for a long drive somewhere, they weren’t sure where. I laughed “I will be right behind you, but my destination is Canada.”
It was the first time I was able to laugh since Tuesday, when the whole country shifted in ways that startled us all. I know what it feels like to scream out loud in joy and run out of the house into the street to celebrate an election. And I know what it is to feels like to have a force kick me in the stomach so hard it takes my breath away, also because of an election.
I have friends who are personal friends with Hillary. And the Bush family. And Obama. And they are all kind people. So how do we reconcile this parting of the ways–when one side says “We need to go this way with the country” and the other side says “No, we need to go THIS WAY with the country.”
I had a friend in high school who once observed a man helping a woman onto a bus and she said, out of the blue, “I think that he might be a mass murderer.” I recoiled in shock, asking her why she would even say that. She replied calmly, between eating bites of her sandwich, “Because nobody is ever ALL GOOD or ALL BAD, and we need to learn that and get over it.”
I am thinking about that now. How both sides in this election have labeled each other as ALL BAD, when we know and hope that isn’t true.
I have very white and sane friends who now say they are afraid. I can only imagine how people of color and immigrants and all the ones labeled and threatened by the man who is now our elected leader must feel. To say that we all must be united is much easier said than done.
There is some comfort to be had in history…how our very founding fathers had bitter disagreements about the direction of the young republic. And yet it still stands today.
Living by the ocean is comforting. Watching the waves roll in and out with a seemingly ceaseless energy is a reminder that what comes in, must go out. And will return again.
I take comfort in the fact that Donald tweeted that he liked Obama and his wife liked Mrs. O.
It was ironic to learn that they had never met each other before, never sat down face to face and talked over dinner, or raised a glass of champagne.
I take comfort in the fact that a young woman with her daughter happened across Hillary and her husband, hiking quietly in the woods with their dogs. The hiker got a photo, and Hillary was smiling. One person who commented online wrote that she looked like the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders.
Maybe, ultimately, it is her faith that is upholding her now…the very faith that called her to serve long ago is still whispering to her “I am with you now. I will lead you in a new path to joy.”
And maybe, the man who says he has never asked for forgiveness or spoken to God much will find a faith along the way–a faith that says “Be good to these people. Lean on them. Seek wisdom and guidance. Look to a Source that is higher than yourself.”
The tide goes in. The tide goes out. Sometimes, I remind myself, it is low tide that reveals the most. It is low tide that allows the sandpipers to find little bubbles hiding food. It is low tide that opens the beach up so more may walk upon it, may linger longer without getting swept away by the waves.
Those whom the waves have swept into power must remember the sand that is always beneath them.
I pray for our new leaders. And I, too, look to a Source that is higher than I am right now.
Somehow the wind will dry all our tears and our footprints will make an impression, even when the tide is low. Especially when the tide is low. And may those who are now laughing, the joy rising in their throats, realize that the seagull’s cry is still louder than theirs. And will be loud tomorrow.
And in the end, eternity. We are all really as grains of sand…and also as common as the stars.
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