When Life is a Badger Fight

Look mom – my knee is all scraped because I got in a fight with a badger.

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Wandering Supergirl

I looked at Bea’s already scabbed and newly bloodied knee. It did, indeed, look as though she had gotten in a fight with a badger. The source was from biking too fast, taking too many sharp turns, and valuing speed over safety.

Yesterday felt a bit like waking up after a badger fight. I was (and still am) so very surprised at what America most values. I was so sure that love would win, that kindness still mattered, that we weren’t really afraid of the unknown. I was wrong. My heart hurts for those who are truly, deeply impacted by the values represented in this election.

Bea asked me if she could still be president when she grew up and I couldn’t honestly answer that question. Can she? As long as we are afraid, can a minority or a woman or anyone who is different from the status quo become president without serious repercussions? In the next thirty years, I hope something changes.

I know I’ll feel hopeful again. I know that this presidency won’t be our worst and that, in the greatest scheme of things the next four years can’t really undo all the progress we as a nation have made. I know that my hope is in something greater, something that will last far beyond any nation we live in.

But I’ll also take time to grieve. To allow myself to be sad that my neighbors don’t love each other well enough. That I don’t love them well enough. That we still live rooted in fear rather than hope. I’ll acknowledge those big, sad feelings.

And then, I’ll move on. But this time with a new perspective. With a keener eye for injustice and how I can actively be part of the change. I’ll vote even more consciously with my dollars and support causes that will reflect my values, far more than any candidate ever could.

I’ll remember that it is in our small, everyday moments that these ideals are lived out. That small moments lead to big changes.

Ever the optimist, Bea told me that if she can’t be president, maybe she’ll be a “wanderer.” I told her that sounded good. She’ll be just as likely to fight a badger, either way.

How do you vote with your dollars? And, how do you explain politics to the preschool crowd?

I’m Not Voting My Values

Bea pulled out Barack Obama’s book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters yesterday. As we were reading the story of what makes America great – from the kindness of Jane Addams to the bravery of Jackie Robinson and so many other heroes in between – I got a little teary.

img_2143In this season of division and other-ing, I think it’s easy to forget what this country is founded on. It’s not founded on people who look like me or believe the same things I do. It’s not founded on people of the same class or education level. The thing that makes America so great is that we are built on diversity. Without activists and pacifists; without leaders and followers; without people giving up everything and people using their wealth for good; without artists and businesspeople, we wouldn’t have much of a country.

Like a lot of people, I’m staying away from social media (especially Facebook) until next week. But when I do check in, I’m noticing quite a few friends explaining that they aren’t voting for a candidate but for values. Values that reflect their own; values that mimic their view of a perfect nation.

I already voted but as I was filling in those bubbles, I realized I wasn’t voting for my own values necessarily. If I believe in the radical message of Jesus, that the Kingdom of God does not look like me or my perceived values, then I need to vote for my neighbor. I need to vote for people who don’t look like me or who don’t have what I have. I need to remember the “others” as I look at candidates and amendments and propositions that will impact the lives of my neighbors far more than they will impact me.

On Sunday, our message was taken from Psalm 23. What struck me most was when our pastor, Jenny Morgan reflected on verse 5:

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows. (Bible Gateway, NRSV)

Jenny said that often we view this verse as one of division – that we’ll get an amazing feast while others look on. But, what if it means that we’re all at this feast together? That our enemies are invited, too? That the table is big enough and Jesus is welcoming enough?

I’ll be watching the election coverage tonight and praying for our nation. I know that the coming weeks will be ones of continued division, but I hope of healing and reconciliation as well. And I hope that, regardless of who our next president is, we will remember to love our neighbors.

Does your faith impact who you vote for? How do you take an objective view of issues?