Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thoughts the morning after the election

When I went out for my morning walk this morning, it was gray and drizzly.  My street was full of trash, and as I looked down the road towards the neighborhood school, I saw leftover campaign signs from yesterday's election.

Sleep deprived as many, if not most Americans are this morning, the weather and the view on my street matched how I was feeling.  Gloomy.  Surrounded by garbage.

So I did my walking prayer.  Thoughts rose to God:  My anger and frustration that my home, the Rectory, seven months after the Tax Day Flood, had not yet commenced its restoration.  My sadness for all people who are angry and afraid of what the future holds for them.  I beseeched God for the strength, God's Strength alone, to help me lead the community entrusted to me to be instruments of reconciliation, peace, and Gospel living.

I prayed for our newly elected leaders and for all of those who had the courage to put themselves forth with unbelievable vulnerability and were not elected.

When I returned to my becoming less and less temporary home, I went indoors and put on my work gloves.  I grabbed a trash bag and went back to the street.  I picked up soiled sacks of MacDonald's waste, a Lone Star beer can,  dirty napkins, a spent bottle rocket, and an empty Vodka bottle.

And I wrote a note to our newly elected president in my head:

Sir, you have vowed to unify our broken nation in your acceptance speech this morning.
As I write this, the majority of our American citizens who voted yesterday did not vote for you.  Please know they will hold you to this early morning promise.

Meanwhile, this one chick priest is already picking up the trash and will continue to work for a country where we strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of human being.

No exceptions.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Prayers of the Saints on the Eve of the Election

I've been thinking a lot about my dad lately.  He died in 2008, and the last person he ever voted for was Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary.

My dad was a lifelong Southern Baptist.  He was a deacon in the Baptist Church, and at least two of his pastors wrote of him in their books;  their words were about how he had inspired their own spiritual journeys.

One of his tasks the last year of his life was to read the Koran in its entirety.  He could no longer easily hold a book, so he sat at his computer each morning and read chapters from the Koran, in addition to the Bible, as part of his morning discipline.  Daddy was curious and wanted to understand folks who believed differently from him, so he read and he listened.

Daddy was a clinical psychologist, spending much of his professional career serving veterans as Chief of Psychological Services at Veterans Hospital in Dallas.  A president of Texas Psychological Association, he was nationally respected.

Daddy led an effort in Texas to require that psychologists be accredited. Before this effort, any person could simply claim to be a psychologist and take clients, whether they had had proper preparation and training, or not.  He had seen the deep damage that poorly educated therapists could inflict on those who were the most vulnerable, and he was an instrument of change.

In this election season, I've been wanting to talk with my dad.  As both a Christian and a psychologist, he always had interesting insights into the people who served in government and those who put themselves forth as candidates.  He had a gift of wisdom that clarified.

I've wondered what he would say about Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump.  I know that he would have been respectful, because that was a value he held.  Daddy would have had some sage insights about their personal motivations.  He would have helped me understand the anger and fear of the American public, and would have offered me wise counsel about how I could be an instrument of God's reconciliation and peace.

In this season of All Saints, I am especially aware of the prayers in heaven of all of those we love and see no longer. I have a keen sense of my dad's prayers for all of us.  That includes his prayers for Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton.  A veteran of World War II, I know how much he loved our country.

When I voted last week, as I made my selections, I thought of my dad.  I miss him so much.  I'm grateful he's praying.