I don’t know about you but I have a small ulcer (teeny tiny) that has formed since the election. And it’s not really because of the obvious reasons. It’s actually because it has become so difficult to filter through so many different thoughts on social media. In fact, my brain has turned into one of those sponge pits at Sky Zone. You know, the thing that looks so fun to jump into — and then you wonder, “How am I supposed to get out of this thing?”
As I read every word, your compelling thoughts go into my head, but because I’m looking to you to tell me how to feel, I sink straight to the bottom. Then I’m left feeling like it’s nearly impossible for me to break free. I start grasping for someone else’s thoughts and ideas to help pull me out, but that’s just as challenging as me trying to get out on my own.
I know who the culprit is — the one who is responsible for allowing the words of so many enter into my already cloudy thoughts on the issues at hand. I blame the culprit because this culprit chooses to look at your thoughts, your pain, my confusion, your angst, my desire for hope, and I know it’s all real. But still, it’s too much and my brain is crying out for something a little different today.
Basically, it cries out for gratitude.
Writing about gratitude this week is about as cliche as it gets. But still, I’m grateful that we have a holiday that actually forces us to sit down and just be thankful.
But First, Guilt
I feel guilty sometimes because I see everyone in so much pain over the election — and believe me, had we known the guy from The Apprentice would be our next president we would have watched another show. (Because if we’re picking rich TV stars we’d rather have Jerry Seinfeld.) And while Trump was not my pick, sometimes I just want to scream WE CAN’T FORGET ABOUT HOPE.
And hope actually never comes directly from the President or our leaders or your pastors, because if that was true we would all agree on an exact description of what hope looks like and feels like. No, hope always comes from within. From the way that you view your current situation — the opposition, the grace and the misery.
As my friend Holli recently taught me, HOPE is facing terminal cancer in the eye and still saying, “I’m not afraid because I have hope.”
Once we lose hope, we are powerless. We fall prey to whatever someone else wants to accomplish. We lose. Even in our sadness and pain and fear, there has to be some sort of hope to cling to. Because at our lowest points, without hope, some call it quits.
But I feel guilty for these thoughts, because the risk is too high right now. We don’t know what Donald Trump is going to do or how he is going to be. His recent decisions and his uncensored responses do rock our boats.
Remembering Your Invaluable Role
But what if we took our eyes off fear for a moment and looked at our family structure. We looked at our children and said, “Don’t ever place your hope in mankind.” Because I have never met a human who isn’t frail and hurting, nor hasn’t ever hurt someone because of this. Have you?
To my daughter I will always say (even before Trump was president-elect): Every woman can (most likely) say they have had an experience where they felt uncomfortable by a man, or a teenage boy, or someone of the opposite sex. There is nothing like self-confidence and bravery to not allow someone to bring you down or talk to you in a way you do not want to be talked to.
To my sons I will say (even before Trump was president-elect): Don’t ever be the bully or the hurter, the one who makes ANYONE feel uncomfortable with your words or actions. Fight for what is important and stay strong to your beliefs. Don’t cower to opposition yet fight only for what is good.
To my children I would say: There is only one leader, one person who we can model our lives after and feel confident in that. And it never has been nor ever will be a president. For our family, it’s Jesus. A self-sacrificing, peace-bringing, truth-teller who stopped for the poor, spent time with the sick and downcast, and never turned away from what He believed.
There must be hope. We can’t stop now. Trump is the president-elect. But I’m not leaving it up to Trump to teach my kids things that Chris and I, as their parents, must.
We just can’t lose hope.
Remember Gratitude Today
I’m a stay at home working mom. On a regular basis, I feel no opposition or fear. But when I do, and at times in my life I have, I feel radically challenged to rely on the hope by which I preach in the good times, to do so also in the bad.
The culprit I blame in the earlier scenario is me. I have a choice. To fall into the bottom of the Sky Zone styrofoam pit and stay there or to go bounce freely on the trampolines where you don’t get lost.
This isn’t denial, this is hope that produces freedom.
God has not left us.
I refuse to say He has.
I am choosing hope.