I listened to this story this week, and it’s all I can think about. It’s what I thought about as I voted on Tuesday, and what my sister and I talked about as we walked home from the polls. It embodies so much of what I have been feeling. So before you move on with this blog, give it a listen.
After the midterms, there is so much to celebrate. More women, people of color, and LGBTQ people were elected than ever. It’s remarkable. And yet, I found myself still sad because my own state let me down in a few ways. Yet again, we continue to vote against our own best interests. I love West Virginia and I always will. I will not be someone who says I am leaving because of its struggles; I will stay and fight to make it better. But I promise you, it’s not easy. Sometimes, I think about leaving because it would be the easier thing to do. But I can’t. I won’t.
I really struggle with the divisiveness that has been created in my state and in this country. I will see posts from people I love and respect, and I am genuinely baffled at their lack of compassion for others. Of course, the latest sound bite is that of The Caravan heading toward the border. I can’t believe “The Wall” is still in the conversation and that this group of people, many of them children, is seen as such a threat.
It is no secret we are a conservative state, and like Tess in the NYT piece, I often hear so many people around me saying how “bad” the country is and how we need to make it great again. I hear people say we are faraway from God because of all the sin in the world, and I have to agree – but not in the way you might think.
I think we are far away from God because we have decided it is up to us to judge others.
We are far away from God because we have divided ourselves into Us vs. Them.
We are far away from God because we are telling people from other lands that they are not good enough to enter our country to seek refuge.
We are far away from God because we have decided that even immigrant children are a threat.
We are far away from God because we focus most of our energy on fighting the right to an abortion but very little on providing help to mothers or basic needs to the children who are born into poverty or foster care.
We are far away from God because we have encouraged a made-up rhetoric that God is a white American, and He only cares about white Americans.
We are far away from God because we shout from the rooftops that we need prayer in school, but we do not stop to think that prayer can be much more intimate than a written speech given over the loud speaker of a football game.
We are far away from God because we are literally turning away those who need our help, every single day.
Yes, I think we are far away from God. I think God looks at us and sees a people who have used His name to show discrimination and hatred. I think He sees a people driven by division. I think He sees a people who have lost all sense of compassion and understanding.
I know there were a lot of wins in this election, but I’m still worried about so many things, and I’m trying to dial into the root of that consistent worry. Instead of just being angry or ranting on Twitter (which I totally do), I am holding tight to the real reason I am sad: because I am afraid this division is too deep, and I am unsure what to do about it.
So, I’m going to try to put my worry into some more action. I’m going to join a campaign. I’m going to continue to protest where I’m needed. I’m going to use the love God has given me for others. I will fight for truth and goodness and love. Because that’s all we have, right?