Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#LoveDoes: Healing America through Love

#LoveDoes: Healing America through Love
Like the rest of the country last night, I watched Donald Trump win the election and I was floored. Stunned. Shocked. I disliked both candidates, but was sure that Hillary would win.

I consider myself incredibly blessed to have friends from all political walks. I have Libertarian friends, Democrat friends, Republican friends, friends who support gay marriage, friends who oppose it, friends who support legalized marijuana, friends who oppose it. I love debate and discussion and feel that overall, my life is fully of impassioned people who are gracious enough to agree to disagree.

However, as the tension grew last night, things got a little crazy. As Trump’s delegates inched closer and closer to the 270 needed to win, emotions were running high. People were arguing, feelings were hurt. This morning, when I woke up, there was still negativity, disbelief, anger all over social media.

But then, something beautiful happened.

My incredible friends started posting a call for change. And it grew and grew. My friend Morgan put it well. He wrote, “All your hopes and dreams are represented by you, not a government. Be a good person. Love with everything you have. Love everybody, not just the people you know…Be the trendsetter. Care about your tribe. Care about your planet. Care about animals.”

Suddenly, the negativity started to dwindle and there was post after post from people I respect all with one message. 

WE are responsible for change. 

And it will not be through politicians, media or hate. It will be through love. Kindness. Compassion. Being honest about the problem and fixing it.

My super insightful friend Rachel wrote a beautiful post, saying, “Don’t just look for the helpers. More important BE a helper. If you are unhappy with the results of the election, the solution is not to run…We RUN when things get hard or uncomfortable…But it’s time to stop avoiding. Stop running from pain...Both our personal pain and the collective pain in the country will keep surfacing over and over again until we deal with it because it’s beckoning to be healed. It’s not always easy to be brave and courageous. But bravery and courage are what we need most. And helpers. How can I help? That is what I will be exploring. I am not running.”

And folks, America is hurting. We’ve had some significant improvements in the economy, but I still have friends who can’t buy a house because of a previous foreclosure. I have clients who are thisclose to eviction because they are in debt after the economy tanked. Families are still broken, insurance is insane, we feel manipulated by the media and misinformation.

In a truly inspiring article from the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg wrote, “The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling. It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that they see as threats to their jobs and disrespected by establishment Washington, Wall Street and the mainstream media.”

As a counselor, some of the hardest clients are the ones that deny that anything is wrong. There are times when I can sense that there is pain or something bad happening, but because the person won’t talk about the problem, we can’t find a solution. It is finally in those dark moments, when a person finally admits, “I’m not okay” and shares what’s happening that we can work towards the solution and true healing can begin.

I think last night America finally admitted, “I’m not okay.” We are forced to acknowledge that underneath our Starbucks and designer clothing, there is pain. Fear. Insecurity. Homelessness. Instability. Anger. Racism. Sexism. It lingers everywhere still in America. So, where do we go from here?

We fix it. With love. At a Bible study this morning, we talked about the hashtag #lovedoes. Love can not just be words. 1 John 3 tells us, “…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

We have spent the last 18 months hearing hatred and venom spewed by people on both sides. We have tried to argue our points, convince each other to change, posted articles from reputable and disreputable sources. But you know what the overall theme is? It has all just been words. Empty words, ranted until we go back to playing our video games or surfing social media.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1 (ESV), Paul wrote that “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let us stop being clanging cymbals, America. Let’s stop berating each other, ranting online and angrily debating each other from the comfort of our own homes, while our neighbors are struggling. We need to love. We need to do. Let us love in action. In compassion. In meals served, monies donated, friends helped.

There are so many incredible things happening in our communities where people are loving through action. Recently, I was inspired by NFL football player DeAndre Levy, who started out making a personal donation towards a non-profit working to reduce sexual assault, then ended up raising $30,000 to test forgotten rape kits and bringing awareness to his community to help find justice and closure for victims.

My heart soared reading about Raising Men Lawn Care in Alabama. Rodney Smith Jr. offered to mow an elderly woman’s lawn, and expanded to mow the lawns of the disabled, elderly and single moms in his Alabama community, recruiting young men to help and serve others. I love how he shared in an interview, “It was amazing to see how many people were actually in need of help,” he said. “You have no idea what someone could need unless you extend a hand.”

Well, now we know. We know that our country is hurting. So, although I have concerns (like many of us) about the next four years, I am inspired. I am motivated to serve more. To love more. To help more. And I am surrounded by friends and family making the same commitment.

Let us stop ranting and fighting, and share opportunities for service. Let us share positive stories of people doing, not just talking. Let #lovedoes be our motto over the next four years.

Last night I went to bed stunned and tense. Tonight, I go to sleep hopeful and ready to see what America is going to do next.

2 comments:

  1. This is amazing. You put into words what so many of us are feeling. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your words of wisdom. To quote a lovely praise song: "Here in the power of Christ I stand." After all is said and done, we need to walk in the power Christ gives us, to bring words of hope and healing. Bless you!

    ReplyDelete

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