I am going to go a bit off topic today, but I will try to bring this back to recovery. I know many of my brothers and sisters in recovery share my thoughts and are feeling sad, lost, and afraid this morning. I also know that many do not. You may not agree with my assessment. You are welcome to your opinion. I respect your opinion, please be respectful of mine.
Once again, I find myself sitting on a plane on the way to a business meeting, so familiar, and yet so ungrounded. I left the house well before my son woke, after a fitful few hours of anxious sleep. Benadryl didn’t help.
Like many, I watched as the election was televised and saw my fears become manifest. I watched as a man who had campaigned on a what I saw as platform of hate and intolerance gained more and more ground, defying the polls. I’d never trusted the polls. I’d gone to bed, expecting the outcome, but not quite accepting.
I wonder how my son is this morning. He was genuinely fearful of this outcome. He is almost nine. I contributed to his fears by letting my own fears show over the past eighteen to twenty four months. But there were other factors in his fear. He heard the cyanide laced words of the man in the media – you couldn’t avoid them.
He understands what it means to build a wall, he understands what it means to dislike others based on skin tone, he understands distrust of other religions. And he knows what’s right. When he first understood racism in the first grade, he spoke of wanting to protect his friend Jameson who is mixed race.
I wish I was there today to tell him that things will be okay. That the world will continue to spin on its axis. That we have a system of government that ensures that even if we elect a megalomaniac full of vitriol to the highest office in the land, we have the legislative and judicial branches to prevent a dictatorship.
But, I am not at home. He will take his comfort from his mother.
I am not so saddened that we did not elect our first woman president as I am that we elected a man who I believe represents everything that I do not. I honestly never thought she was electable. Nor were her opponents in the primaries. I am saddened that the political parties couldn’t come up with a single candidate who I felt represented what the country needed, and who was electable. I am saddened that we have such a divided country. I am saddened that so many people chose to take comfort in words that cause so many others such distress.
I am shaken, but I am not shattered. Last night, I thought I’d be shattered. There were times when I thought that a drink would help. That numbing out would make this pain go away. I wanted the pain to go away. But I didn’t have a drink. I am not shattered.
I am resilient. Those of us in recovery are resilient. We are survivors.
The world will not end. We’re in for rough weather. We have a strongly divided country, and I suspect that many who chose to vote for hatred will soon find that the promises are empty, that we are in a ship without a rudder, and that our captain might not have an actual plan at all. Things will likely get worse before they get better. It’s gong to be hard. But we will get through it.
Those of us who choose love and kindness over hate and vitriol, we have work to do. We cannot afford to continue in the us vs them mentality. We must find ways to be inclusive. We must find common ground – it’s there I assure you. We must continue to work for what we believe is right and just.
We must do as Saint Francis guided us.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Brothers and Sisters in recovery, it is okay to feel sad, lost, and afraid, but today is another new day. A day to begin the begin. A day to remember what we have overcome.
A day to rise.