Who Won and What Now?

Please visit our YouTube channel to watch Rev. Ann Marie’s video recording of this reflection.

Waiting… for the possibilities. Waiting and waiting and waiting.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity presented to me to make a life-changing choice. There was no lack of desire on my part for wanting to take a new direction. But it took me a long while to make the decision. I did not use that long time making a list of pros and cons. The plus side was already so clearly a winner. It still took me days to decide, to make what I knew was the best choice. 

I needed time to decide if I had the guts, the courage, to make not just the initial decision, but all the ones after that.  

As one who is usually quick to decide, having that experience taught me something about myself I needed to learn.

We now know that more than half of the people who voted for the President-elect and the Vice President-elect made the decision they did for decency and for truth. They won; we won. Now we will be called upon to decide again and again for decency and for truth. Do we have the courage to do that? 

May we not think of what is before us as returning to the way things were before the last four years. Instead, may we think of what is before us as an opportunity to do better than we have ever done before. To say yes, to what is now, to keep moving forward, ever forward, with a “yes” into the next present moment. 

When I was in the of long time of agonizing over whether or not to make the decision I knew I wanted to make, but wasn’t sure I would make, what I had to consider was if I could follow through on that initial YES over and over again. After my hours and hours of not knowing if I had the guts to do that, to keep on saying yes, I finally realized I had to trust the energy of the hope that was fueling both my anxiety and my desire to take the leap.

This past week, I felt the agony of those long hours of not knowing again. It was all about waiting to see if enough of us had the courage to move forward.

It is clear who won. It is not yet clear WHAT will happen (past the celebrations, of course).

I woke this morning anxious that this new path won’t stay real; questioning if we will say yes to the partnerships it is going to take to change so much that needs to change.  

I believe this UU faith is all about learning how to follow the energy of hope. Not just to say yes one time, but to keep on saying it, to have the guts and the courage to keep saying it.

It is certainly true as African American Buddhist Rev. angel Kyodo Williams said during the waiting time this past week:

“Our anxiety comes from the desire to have things be different… [yet] there’s going to be the day after the election. And the day after that. We need to be present to what is, regardless of the outcome you want.” 

(Waiting isn’t just about holding your breath until the future comes. She reminds us that what some hope for can take a very, very long time.)

angel Kyodo reminds us in these, her words: “My ancestors had to prepare themselves, over and over again, for moving toward a freedom that was nowhere in sight. We prepare for life as it unfolds, not our ideal image of it. That is, literally, the only path forward.” 

And we must prepare for life as it unfolds, which is truly the only path forward.

Even when the thing hoped for feels so close, we think it is here. The Vice President-elect is a woman, the child of an Asian immigrant, a woman of color. For the first time. She is the fulfillment of a dream so many dared to dream.

All that she symbolizes is undoubtedly a leap forward. But we cannot stop. All that came together in the culmination of a lot of hard work deserves celebrating, for sure. Yet there is no time to relax, for we have just begun again. This one big leap by itself won’t change the fact that a little less than half of those who voted didn’t vote for progress, for decency, for truth. It doesn’t change the fact that this country is in the midst of a culture war, and a pandemic that is nowhere near over.

So there is all that, and all that will affect what happens in the next moment and the next and the next for years and years. And each of the next moments that present themselves will ask of us that we be present to what is, and to keep moving towards hope.

Perhaps the scales are tipping, and the momentum is on the side of decency and truth.

May we hold hands and do the work yet to come; do that work hand in hand with those who have had hope even when the thing hoped for was nowhere in sight.

Let us never forget that we aren’t by ourselves, we aren’t alone. There are those in the past holding us to our promises; there are those yet to be born who will see the results of what we chose again and again. We are not done.

But it is OK to breathe now. To be proud of what we did, and what we will do.

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