The Mourning After

They say grief has several stages: shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance/hope. I stood in shock for most of the day on Wednesday, 11/09/2016.  Found myself in mourning- mourning the loss of the America I hoped for, in the face of the America that is. I still find it hard to believe the next President of the allegedly United States is a xenophobic, fear-mongering, dog-whistling, erratic, divisive, reality TV star. This is who will have access to top-secret information and undercover operations? How did this happen? Who pulled the trigger against our progress? Who, what, when, where, why, and how? The rationale is beyond reason.

Reality is, roughly 46.6% of eligible registered voters didn’t vote in this election. Reality is, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with more than 2,500,000* votes over Trump. Reality is, despite mainstream media, hate speeches, zero experience, and mass un-appeal, Donald Trump won the electorate. Reality is, our faux democracy and single-issue hypocrisy got us where we are today. And that’s disheartening.

So I wasn’t just shocked that Clinton lost. I was shocked she was trumped by The Donald. Mr. Grab ‘Em By the P@&&¥.  Mr. Flip Flop on the Issues. The man without a plan. Don’t even get me started on his bigoted, racist rhetoric. And nearly half of Tuesdays voters pressed the green button for him? Seventy percent of white voters elected him?  It’s angering and eye-opening at the same time. The fact that over 60 million adults voted for this highly unqualified, unpresidential, uncouth, cyber bully… seriously? And President Barak Obama has to pass the baton to him??? Lord have mercy.

Needless to say, I know I’m not alone in this election distress. America has been deplorably divided and racially charged these past few days. And it’s out of control. It’s like we’ve been walking in the valley of the shadow of death, fearing the evil of the impending Trump administration. But I am reminded not to be afraid of the shadow. Not to be distracted by hypotheticals and worst-case scenarios. God is with us in the valley and He alone will escort us to a higher place.

I am shocked but not surprised.
Disappointed but not disenfranchised.

I still have power because I still have God. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever more. America may appear to be in a dark place right now, but God is shining His Light on her deficiencies so we can see His strength.  Let’s turn to Him to be made whole. Yes, the mourning is real. And yes, the struggle is real. But God is no less real in our grief than He is in our gladness. Let’s not lose the perspective of His position just because things didn’t go as planned.

Yes, Trump was elected President. But that position has an expiration date. Let’s work while we wait and practice while we pray.  Let’s not stop living, loving, moving and shaking. Let’s hold our elected officials accountable and let go of our own electoral laziness. Let’s build upon foundations of faith and break down the temptation to treat others with the very hate we despise. Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds; it’s what we do with it that makes a difference. Let’s all do better. Let’s turn our sorrow into good grief.

 *Updated 12/03/16 to reflect current election results.

 

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Dear Maya,

Maya Angelou writingWith mourning grace my heart was faced with the news of your passing. The most brilliant of gems in the literary diadem, you were a voice of victory everlasting. My gratitude is long overdue for the life, the laugh, the lines of you. I dedicate this time, this space, to the legacy you have fashioned. For touching my life with your words, for those adjectives and verbs, thank you for charging my soul with your passion.

In a younger time when I couldn’t define the acumen of your activism or the depth of your invalidism, I took refuge in your lyricism. I knew your words. It was your voice I heard. I could see my pain leaking from your pen. You interpreted the ramblings of my innermost and translated to the uttermost- empowering me to live for the first time. Again.

You were a freedom fighter, fighting to free me from myself. From simply surviving. From under-thriving. You were liberating. Rehabilitating. You freed me to understand the agony of my own untold story. To take inventory and unload my heart between tear-stained lines and paint the pangs of my past with the brush of my tender teenage interpretation. Released me to maturation.

You freed me from the quicksand of sins unconfessed and stolen innocence. Helped me escape the fate of their lies. Freed me to rise. Freed me to lift my voice and let go of the rage. To raise the stories off the page- even if only for my own heart to hear. It was clear. I was a caged bird. Didn’t even know I could sing. Your story made my song acceptable. A lot less rejectable. Allowed my freedom to ring.

You awakened me to empathy. To sit with truths unbeknownst to me20140530-140227-50547767.jpg and share in a stranger’s sorrow. To forgive the past and fight at last for a purpose-filled tomorrow. You were and are a legend living in the light and dark of our reality. A floodlight of peace in the abyss of brutality. To ignorance and intolerance your life lit a flame. Such a daring, darling, unintimidated dame. A brownly beautiful, bravely dutiful, awe-inspiring, never tiring, thought-provoking, lie-choking, hip-swaying, hard-working, harder playing, class-fully courageous, gracefully contagious, unapologetically intelligent, humbly unequivalent, odds-searing, God-revering woman. Phenomenally.

Thank you for freeing me through poetry to be a consciously thriving, growing me. In word and deed your touch excelled. You lived a love for life unparalleled. May your legacy we keep, your stories soar deep, and may you rest in His peace… I know those God-given wings fit you well.

Eternally Grateful ,

One of Your Faithful