If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. Henry Thoreau
Tomorrow has been anticipated and dreaded for months. Never have I felt so mentally assaulted by a campaign season. Everything is covered with a layer of grime- the kind of greasy dust that clings to your skin. A vicious tar like that stuff on the beach. You rub your skin raw with sand and towels, but it only drives the goo deeper into the creases of your skin.
I have a lot of strong opinions about many subjects. I know my views aren’t often shared by even close family or friends, but I understand that my world view is based on my own lens. Everyone views life through their own lens. And that’s ok.
I grew up with an awareness of how much my parent’s struggled to keep six kids clothed, fed and educated. I went to school with mostly blue collar workers- the bus drivers, cops, firemen and federal government drones.
I went to college- at the time the first one to complete more than two years of community college. I got all the financial aid I could manage and still struggled to finish on my own.
I chose a career that didn’t guarantee success- unless you count teaching a kid to read or write. I taught in the poor, Title One schools, because I loved the students and the job.
I had some upward mobility when I married a white collar professional. We weren’t rich, but we owned a home and I was able to take time away from my career, and raise my three kids.
I’ve been divorced, unemployed, and uninsured. I’ve been back down that mobility ladder- beginning all over from scratch. I struggled to get food on the table, pay those bills and put three kids through college.
That’s my lens. That’s how I see the world, and those experiences are what I think about when election time looms.
We all base our votes on what we think is best- for ourselves and for our country. We try to strike a balance, but it’s not always easy.
I believe in voting my conscience. That’s how I make a black and white decision on a ballot when the world is one million shades of gray.
I believe in a secret ballot. I don’t share my vote with others. It’s just my thing, I don’t need to know how you vote, either.
I believe that 99.9% of voters who go to the polls do care and take it seriously. If you took the time to get in the car and drive to the polls, you already care more than the cynic who cries, “what’s my vote going to change?”
I believe that no matter what happens tomorrow, there are no winners- we are all going to be disappointed. Maybe your candidate wins, maybe not, but the price we all paid was steep.
I believe that perhaps we all might benefit from a bit of self-examination after tomorrow, about how we judged and thought of others who did not share our beliefs.
I believe that Wednesday should be declared a day of reconciliation and kindness towards others. Because we need to scrub off this tar of hatred with love.
Most of all I believe that no matter what the outcome, the world will keep turning.
Finally a prescription for tomorrow:
Be gentle with yourself. Get some sleep. Bake some cookies. Give yourself over to something indulgent. Binge watch Seinfeld, or the Office- definitely do comedy- no heavy dramas or doom. Hug your kids, love your lover. Pet your dog. Cuddle your cat. Take a walk. Get outside at least once and notice the tinge of Autumn in the air. And Breathe.