Saturday, October 22, 2016

285. I'm what?

In the past few weeks I’ve been called a word that I don’t think I’ve ever been called before: wise. Multiple people have called me that, mainly for not wanting to watch the final two presidential debates. I’ve always thought that wise people looked like the wizard Gandalf, but I guess I’ll take it. I suppose we all have our own form of wisdom. Here’s how I came to my final conclusion on why not to watch the debate.

I didn’t watch the final two debates because they wouldn’t change my mind about anything. First, I already voted, so it’s kind of moot at this point. Second, I didn’t find that they were adding anything credible to the debate. They were just shouting, interrupting, and trying to get in sick burns. I didn’t need that anymore in my life. I hear it enough already. I decided that I could allow myself some time away from it all.

During my trip to Savannah some of my fellow conference goers skipped out on a ghost tour of the city to go watch the debate instead. I thought they were crazy. This was a chance to get away from the debate and go do something else. People likened it to watching a car crash. You just can’t look away. When you’re comparing what should be our highest levels of civic discourse to a car wreck, something is wrong. I’m glad I went on a ghost tour instead.

So, my wise tip for the day? Allow yourself to step away.

This prayer from Father James Martin really struck a tone with me.

An Election Season Prayer
God, I know that I don’t have to get angry.
I don't have to get worked up.
I don’t have to get depressed.
And I don't have to throw anything at the TV.
I just have to use
my conscience
and vote.
So help me remember
what Jesus taught in the Gospels,
and what our church teaches,
especially about the poor, the refugee, the migrant,
the sick, the homeless, the unborn, the disabled,
the hungry, the elderly and the lonely.
Help me remember the "least" among us,
and help me ponder in my heart
how to cast my vote for the good of all.
God, I know that no candidate is perfect,
because I'm not perfect either,
the last time I checked.
So free me of the burden of having to
vote for someone who satisfies
all my desires for a candidate.
My candidate will be imperfect,
like me.
Help me to be grateful for the ability to vote,
because not everyone has that privilege.
And when I meet people voting for someone else,
Help me to take a deep breath and
give them the benefit of the doubt,
because they are following their consciences, too.
Help me remember
that even though they sometimes drive me nuts,
I don't have to argue with them,
I don't have to convince them,
I don't have to hate them,
And I don't have to demonize them.
Then, after the election, help me work for unity.
Because I know that’s what you want.

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