When you call yourself a writer, and you feel a great pain, you know nothing else but to return to the proverbial pen and paper and cast your thoughts and fears and anxieties and hope into words.
I’ve been itching all day to get to the screen. I wanted to be the hope. I wanted to say how I can be a model for my daughter. I wanted to say that Love always wins. I wanted to incite strength and support and unity and bravery. I wanted to Raise up and Shine for you.
But I can’t seem to do that today. It just all seems too hard.
In the moments between election disappointment and little feet coming down the stairs to greet me for the day, I pondered my words to my daughter. It had to be good. I was going to teach her to be strong. I was going to teach her kindness and compassion. I was going to teach her to stay positive and to love even when it seems hard.
But she came down so darn happy. I told her the news and said some nonsense that stumbled out of my mouth, clearly unprepared for this speech. To say she was bummed pretty much sums it up “so a girl won’t be president? Oh man,” and then she moved on to breakfast. “Let’s have smoothies today!” Away she went, humming through her morning, gabbing about her dreams (ice cream!), anticipating the day ahead of her (a school day!) I couldn’t seem to figure out how to break into her happy world to comfort her because she seemed to be doing just fine.
This isn’t a girl worried about her future. She isn’t concerned who her positive role models might be. She isn’t living in fear of bullies or hatred.
She isn’t feeling any of this because of one mighty factor.
She is loved. And she knows it.
Every single day from her friends to her teachers to her family to her heavenly father she is reminded of those who fill her with love. And most importantly, she receives this from me.
I am the reason she does not need to fear. She is already loved by me, and her dad, and most importantly, our God.
It’s really that easy. I know that it is. Just show love. Show love to our children and they will show love to others. We are taught this in our churches, we are taught this in our schools, and we are taught this by our parents.
So why does it feel so hard?
Why does it feel like such a mighty task?
I refuse to believe nearly half the country voted the way they did because of just hate. I care too much for people to believe in that much hate. Fear played a major part in that. People have spoken and their voices sound like fear.
But love conquers fear. So if we can just bring a little more of that, we all win, right?
But today, it just feels so hard. I know I need to rise up. I know I need to keep loving. I know more and more people just need to hear and see and feel love.
But when you have a child, suddenly the risks are greater. Suddenly you want this love to be bigger than the universe, stronger than the mountain, more powerful than all of the hurricanes that come her way. You need this love to be so very big for your child so it doesn’t just carry them but it carries every child.
And when you think that way, it’s heavy. The challenge feels too great. How do I possibly champion for love time after time after time only to feel so much further behind? I have to do this for my daughter! Her future depends on it. That precious happiness and joy I see her living each day cannot last forever if we keep falling to fear instead of love. It is my duty and if I can’t do it, I have failed her.
You know that feeling when you have had a really bad day and you know if you could just get a hug from your mom or your dad you would feel a little bit better? If you could just hear the strength and fight in your mother’s strong female voice you would know you had an ally. If you could just understand the peaceful and diplomatic character of your father’s ability to battle against negativity you could regain your footing to stay strong and positive. I needed that today. But alas my parents are out of the country (lucky them.)
Instead, I turned elsewhere. When lost, we look to our great leaders, and I took some comfort in a couple of my favorite role models this morning.
With steadfast character and fortitude, Hillary’s concession filled me with enough fight to stay strong to my convictions. I could her my mom “Amen” ing to that in her Baptist sort of way.
And with the same grace and mindfulness I hear from my father, Obama reminded us that sometimes this is hard. Facing adversity, fighting for what is right, standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, caring for all the people we are called to love. That is hard. But in politics and in parenting and in human living, we have to keep doing the hard things.
And we have to keep showing love.
It occurred to me in going through this reflection, that while it may seem like a mighty task, to be the champion of love for my child’s future, if my own parents can do it, if they can be the light I look to for guidance and support and love, surely that is all my children need. They need me to love them. They need me to show them how to love. They need me to read them the stories of love and hope and character and strength. And they need me to remind them every day that they possess these qualities too.
Today I admit this is hard. Being a mom, being a woman, being a Christian, being an American. It’s all hard. And we will keep making mistakes. But we’ll try harder the next time. And it will always be worth it.
They are most definitely worth it.