What follows is not a statement of political preference – although with little effort one could easily determine my ideology. Nor is this a kumbaya-just-come-to-Jesus plea by someone without convictions who just needs a hug. Nor is it a milk-toast acquiescence to fatalistic non-action. This is a simple exhortation for us to stop living from our heads, perhaps even our hearts.
It is an invitation for us all to rediscover ourselves. Our souls.
Anyone within spitting distance of social media the past few weeks, uh, months…well, years actually, has had to endure the cage match that has become political discourse in this country. Chances are you jumped in to scrap on occasion as well. Come on, admit it, doesn’t it feel positively cathartic to drop your well-reasoned, deftly-articulated, bulletproof opinions into the foxhole and then run back and wait for the barrage of new disciples?
I confess, despite self-promises to the contrary, I too have sparred from time to time online. I too have seen what you have seen – a massive groundswell of support and teary-eyed repentance because someone, namely me, finally spoke the truth.
Yeah, that’s what happened.
Actually, I merely added to the carnage of dry bones philosophizing in the desert of ignorance, that welcomed a never ending explosion of verbal piranha-ism. There was no change whatsoever in anyone’s beliefs. Ever. And, if anything I walked away inwardly disheveled and outwardly grumpy. No one gained anything at all from the exchange, least of all me. My soul was tattered and, worse still, I was beset by a deepening sense of guilt for having added to the seething Gehenna that is Facebook politics. The Twitterisms of twattle. I bred dissension rather than being an instrument of peace (thank you Saint Francis).
Now that the exhausting (and tellingly self-important) process that is the American election cycle has come to an end, I have peace. Oddly. I think it’s a bit like getting a needle at the doctor’s office. The waiting is always the worst part. Well, usually. We’ve endured a two and a half year drum roll, waiting to hear the fat lady sing after the failed attempt to shoot someone out of a cannon.
We can easily get stuck between the clarion call of a golden era, hiding somewhere in our not-so-distant past. Or, we become dilettantes of some visionary Utopia yet to be unveiled. Either way, we miss the sweetness of this moment.
This sound. That smile.
This smell. That embrace.
This possibility. That touch.
This challenge. That kiss.
Listen, I’m not happy that Donald Trump is our President. I’m not happy that almost half the population didn’t even bother to vote. I’m not happy with the entire political process in this country. I’m not happy with the deep divisions that exist among us.
But, I am in fact, happy. Or, in faith language, I’m blessed. I have peace in the aftermath. It is the unquantifiable peace of Christ, whose love is so much stronger than our naïve opinions and murky thoughts.
So, here I share my personal Beatitudes for the coming days of uncertainty, safe in the knowledge that I need neither knowledge nor safety nor certainty, to be blessed.
Dear friends, will you join me in pursuing such blessing?
Blessed is the one who awoke to draw breath for another day.
Blessed is the one who sees him/herself in the eyes of another.
Blessed is the one who appreciates the dare of morning and the hush of night.
Blessed is the one who finds solace in the laughter of children.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom in the presence of elders.
Blessed is the one who cannot find hatred within, no matter who sits in power.
Blessed is the one whose speech is poetry, whose work is homily, whose life is liturgy.
Blessed is the one who sees past the surface to find the goodness in things.
Blessed is the one whose trust isn’t in flag, policy, or party – but in the Christ of love.
Blessed is the one.