Terrible American

First off, I want to apologize. I am sorry. I don’t know if I have the right to share my opinion. I am not a good American. I didn’t exercise my right as a citizen today.

I didn’t vote.

I didn’t vote and so I probably have no right to share my opinion. I mean I have a vaguish reasonable reason I didn’t vote. Though I am from California, my last residence was Virginia and I live in New York. I should have done an absentee ballot, but I assumed I would go and change my formal residency and voter’s status. I procrastinated. On the last day I could register to vote in New York (which I was reminded of that day by a stranger on a train) I did not have my correct paperwork with me to send in. I was not allowed to vote by my high hopes and poor follow through.

If I can be honest though, I didn’t want to either.

I don’t like our candidates. The crazy thing, as far as I can tell, I am in the majority. Most of the people I speak to don’t like either candidate and while in the past the elections have been a voting for the “lesser of two evils”, I don’t think it has been seen so strongly by so many. On one hand, we have a candidate who “tells it like it is” but what “it is” is gross, racist, misogynistic, and all around frightening. On the other hand, we have “the first woman to be president, who also happens to not be Trump” but there are a lot of people who are not Trump, and this not Trump has a history is deception, inconsistency, and pandering to what people want to get into a place of power.

Who should I vote for?

“How can you even ask that?”

Should I go third party?

“and throw away your vote to them?”

Why do we even have a system where this is becoming the norm?

A part of me thinks: I could not live with myself if I voted for someone who’s behavior is so erratic, who has said so many terrible things, and makes obscure promises, and of those promises some of them just seem to fly in the face of the grace and love I am supposed to exude as a follower of Christ? How could I support someone who instills so much deep seeded fear into my friends?

but

If someone so obviously terrible to so many comes into power, perhaps people will then be stirred into action. Perhaps large scale (hopefully peaceful) rebellion will start up where people begin to lobby to get policies to change, our party system may be examined. People will be impassioned to bring change. I think my fear with a corrupt politician (though more appealing emotionally and for the sake of “peace”) is that we will fall into the fugue of status quo. We as the masses will forget about politics again (except to gripe) for the next four years. We need change…but at what cost?

That’s the other thing. I, a white cis male, carry with me a set of lenses that are narrow. I know for a lot of people even the potential of these awful promises is terrifying. I have never experienced that anxiety. My citizenship has never been in question, my faith and appearance puts me in a “randomly unscreened” category when I go through security or when I pass by a police officer. Will this possible political upset, be too upsetting? Individuals are at stake.

But you know what really makes me glad I am not “allowed” to vote?

Because this election has been stirring up deep seeded feelings, it has stirred up deep seeded hatred and contention. People are either abrasive with their opinions, everyone else be damned, or you’re afraid to share what you’re wrestling with because you’re a villain or a fool if you even consider the other terrible candidate. This election is dividing people in the worst way, no longer do we just disagree on opinions, but now we demonize one another for our decisions, worse our potential thoughts and concerns. Heavy moral implications are placed on both candidates. So how can a person decide, well reasonably, when they feel like they are being tossed between two echoing walls of people perpetuating the same arguments.

I am uncertain. People are stressed and worried. I don’t know how to help.

But you know what gives me peace? In general, bad things have happened and people still thrive, but more than that I believe people are more than citizens of a nation with a ruler higher than kings and emperors. Here it comes.

Jesus. King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I believe, aside from all this politics I know who leads my life, I know who is in control of the world. God has been constant and because all people are flawed He has still made good regardless of the appearance of hopelessness. He still moves and His creation is still beautiful, as are His people, even when we act ugly. So, while the waves thrash, I know the one who calms storms.

Admonishment (the following is to professed Christians, if you do not share this, feel free to end above):

We are not meant to worry about these things (Mt. 6:25-34; Col. 3:1-3; and the stories of the seeds planted along the road, don’t create unneeded weeds). Please. Please. I implore you, do not get caught up in the frenzy. I think it’s fine to share your concerns, to be nervous, to feel, if I didn’t I’d be pretty hypocritical to add this to the previous post. What I mean is please don’t demonize people, don’t ostracize people, we’re all mixed up and some people have different views than you. Sometimes their views can be hurtful, but at the end of the day we’re all sinners in need of grace and love. Please let’s trust that God has control still no matter the outcome. If it turns out as bad as people fear, God is still in control, in either case and remember, we’re more than citizens of this country, of this earth…remember that. Please, let’s not add more fear to the already tense times and lets bring instead the fruits of the spirits and try to be an ambassador of Heaven to all people. End admonishment…I will try to do my best.

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Cake Pop

“Please, mommy! Look it’s my favorite”

I hear as I wait in the back while on my break.

“It’s my favorite cake pop, can’t I please have it.”

She’s impassioned. You could here it in her voice. What she wanted more than anything in the world at this moment was that cake pop. I waited to hear how the mom would respond. I was invested in this now. Probably a little cynical in my eavesdropping expecting what normally occurs where the parent feebly responds no until giving in after the child begins  throwing a tantrum.

“Honey, no we are already getting a treat and we’re going to go and have dinner when we get home, we’ll get it some other time. Remember I said not to ask for it”

Here comes the tantrum.

“I’m sorry, I know.” Her voice begins to get choked up, “It’s just my favorite. I’m sorry, I just really want it.”

“I know honey, but I said not now-”

By now the little girl is sobbing, not hysterics, just completely broken up about this cake pop.

“Haven’t I been good, though mommy? I’ve been really good and I really think I deserve the cake pop” She can barely get her words out. She is weeping at this point.

I think her mom became really concerned at this juncture, “What’s the matter? You have been really good. I know you want this cake pop and we’ll get it some other time but not tonight.”

“Alright”

“How about I let you pick out dinner? What would you like?”

More quiet sniffling, “I donno”

Now I was impressed at first at how well behaved this girl acted. She was not throwing a tantrum, hoping to sway her mom, she was just sad. She didn’t understand why in the world she couldn’t have this good thing. She had acted good, validated by her mother, and her mom showed concern and love for her, which leads me to believe her mother has given her good things before, basically meaning the mother was not known to promise good and withhold it.

The little girl just didn’t understand. She knew her mother loved her and gave her good things and she had a grasp of the concept that typically when you do good things you get rewarded with good, but here she was learning a new lesson.

Reward not always following good behavior, but more than that good being held for a greater good that lies just around the corner.

In that moment, God spoke to me. He said it is the same with me right now and for a lot of how he operates. He has this greatest good for us and we see the good in front of us. We perform well, we behave well, and we expect the good that we see and desire. God knows better and He holds off, and has us be patient.

He doesn’t love us less, in fact He loves us more. He loves us too much to give us the first thing we see.

How do we respond to this? Well I know how I have responded:

God I gave up everything for you, for this, to be here, can’t I please have this. I’ve done what you’ve asked, I’ve been faithful, can’t I have this? Please, I need this. Lord, I need this right now, I am about to sink, this may be the last straw, what if this is the point of no return with my faith remaining? All these people are looking at me, expecting success in your name, where is it? I don’t want to let them down. They’ll think I was a fool, that they were right for not believing you could do this or that you even want to do this. Lord please.

Meanwhile, God has this great plan, this great gift waiting for us, but if we could stop focusing on ourselves we might see it.

I don’t want to settle for a cake pop if there’s cheesecake waiting, if there’s an entire meal at my disposal.

And since when did I actually do anything warranting more blessing than I can even think or imagine.

Honestly, I like to think I deserve the world, when I don’t even deserve that cake pop.