I don’t speak for you.
There. I said it.
I also don’t speak for people who look like me, dress like me, work with me, worship with me, or live near me. And, most importantly, I most definitely do not speak for someone who is nothing like me!
I am just… me. A wife and mom. A hospice chaplain. A progressive Baptist. A pastor. An LGBTQ+ally (and yes — I asked and was told that I am. If that matters.)
I look like women who voted for Trump in large numbers, and that pisses me off. (White, middle class, Christian.) I supported Hillary and contributed to her campaign. I tried to influence the hearts and minds of people around me to vote for her. And apparently, I was not very good at it.
Election night, I had tears in my eyes and felt frustrated. I had no words for those closest to me who were also devastated. I heard their fears. I was distressed with them. I am deeply worried about them because of the rhetoric and abuse we all heard from Trump during the campaign. They are vulnerable because of who they are.
Here’s what I have learned in the last few days… (Sorry it’s in bullet points. I don’t have time to create fantastic, in-depth prose.)
- By accident of birth, education and economic status, I could fade into the Great Beyond of white suburbia. But my Calling, my conscience and my faith do not allow that.
- Those who know me already, know that when I wear a safety pin* or a rainbow bracelet, that I am visibly trying to signal what I believe and will do. And that I want them to be treated fairly, kindly, respectfully as I want to be treated.
- Those who don’t know me personally might think I’m posturing.
- The dying patients I serve, as well as their families, need my focus and care. Many of them are marginalized by their race, religion or gender identity.
- My coworkers who care for the dying with me every day are sad, stressed and discouraged.
- My family, friends, and parishioners have real fears, hurts and anxieties because of this election season.
- I don’t have enough money, time or energy to respond to every need around me. That means I have to pick and choose, and I try to do that wisely.
- I am praying — fiercely — for the projected new President.** (As of this date, the Electoral College has not met.)
I am trying to make a difference where I am. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Next year. In my context. Wherever God takes me.
I will do this imperfectly. Incompletely. Ignorantly. But I will keep trying.
I will continue speak up against hate speech whenever I witness it.
I will keep learning. Growing. Praying. Reading. Listening. Serving. I’ll wear a safety pin and a rainbow bracelet. And sometimes, a cross. And I’ll try to do a better job of being an example of Christ in the world.
soli deo gloria
*It used to be that when someone wore a cross, they were expected to act “Christianly”. But today, the cross has been co-opted by political entities within American politics. It seems that a safety pin might better express my effort to be a welcoming, affirming and listening presence, without the trappings of a particular religious group.
**[edited to add] This does not mean he has my approval or my trust. (Bless his heart.) It means I am fulfilling a Scriptural admonishment to pray for those in authority.