We Aim High

I’ve been too tired, to drained to write. I thought I would have been able to yesterday but I just couldn’t. But this morning, I feel like I can muster.

But finding the right words is something different all together.

Three days ago, I wrote about Hillary and her campaign. To the very core of my being, I felt like my vote for her was going to be a vote for a better world, a better tomorrow; that a vote for her presidency was a vote aligned with my soul and aligned with my faith. And yet, November 8th came, and the rest of the country did not agree with me.

I watched the results flood in, I stayed up practically all night watching as more and more states turned red on the electoral map. As each one turned, my heart quickened. I lay there on my friend’s couch, feeling like my heart was ready to jump out of my chest and out the window. I couldn’t focus right and set my reading aside. I sat there on that couch until two in the morning and watched as the world I thought I knew disappointed me.

The fear I felt three days ago was being realized in every, unimaginable way.

Yesterday was worse. I woke up, and cried, I went to school, and cried, and came home, and cried, and watched the speeches, and cried. I have experienced loss, and grief, and heartbreak but I’ve never felt the overwhelming sense of darkness that I felt yesterday. It was eerie. It was as if the weather was matching the mood. It was a dreary walk to school in the drizzling rain, as if the sky too was shedding a muffled tear. I got to school and there was a heavy weight on everyone’s shoulders. Everyone wanted to talk about it, but no one had the words. Everyone needed to vent and express their frustration, but they were all so sad it would set them over the edge. For a while I found it helpful to be there, but once my classes were over for the day I left for home. I took a bath, lit candles, and just tried to relax; but all night long my stomach was in knots and tears were in my eyes.

But most of all, my mind was racing all day long.

I’ve always had respect for the office of the president; regardless of who I (would have) voted for, I’ve never felt like there was a candidate that unequipped, unprepared to lead. I may have disagreed with their politics and their platform but I’ve always felt that they were able to take office and run this country. Not this time. I’m so worried about his ability to lead, and the potential consequences of his leadership still scares me more than anything else. The fact that I had to call my mom last night and talk about changing my birth control to a more sustainable-over-time option in light of the election result worries me to no end.

But the hardest part about this whole thing is watching everyone I know fall into a deep depression. My entire newsfeed is sad posts about the fate of this election. I come from 3 very blue states; California, Washington, and New York, practically everyone I know voted for Hillary and wanted a different outcome. They feel personally attacked and in danger as a result of the race. But amidst it is some hope.

I got an email from my Dad yesterday, encouraging me, despite our differing political ideologies. He, as a staunch Republican was able to comfort and sympathize with his grieving daughter. My best friend texted me encouraging me to find God in what seems like a godless moment and see the hope and light of Christ in our moments of trail. My friend from college called me and left me a voicemail to check in with me and make sure I was okay. The academic office at school left out cookies, brownies, tea and coffee and invited us down to discuss our reactions and our feelings about the results. This is what we need to do.

Back in the Spring, Michelle Obama gave a speech at the democratic national convention in which she said, “When they aim low, we go high!” a quote that has gained much attention and a lot of momentum as the race ran on. We aim high. We aim high. It was all I could come back to yesterday; as I grieved the loss and attempted to mentally process what was happening, I just came back to “We aim high”. How amidst it all can we continue to aim high?

Hillary gave her concession speech yesterday morning, and in it she addressed different demographics, encouraging them to persevere through this hardship. Two of the most powerful addresses were to “young voters” and “young girls”.

“…to the young people in particular, I hope you will hear this—I have, as Tim said, spent my entire life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks. Sometimes, really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public, and political careers—you will have successes and setbacks too.This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is, it is worth it”

“And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

In this moment, this moment of loss and grief, she reminded us all that we must aim high. We cannot lose heart, but we must continue to fight, to love, to hope, and remember what is important to us. Now more than ever, as what we believe is being tested, as people who would rather tackle our problems by inspiring fear are in power, we must fight for those who can’t, we must speak for those without a voice, we must stand up and love, love, love, love.

The day of the election, I was walking home from school, praying that God’s will be done in this country. I’ve been reminded by many that now, more than ever, it is important to keep the teachings of Christ at the center and remember God’s place in this. It is a reminder that I discredit and sluff off whenever someone mentions it but, it is true. But Jesus knew God had his hand in things when Lazarus died, he knew he could make him live again, and yet, he wept. Jesus wept. He wept at the loss of life, and he grieved to see his brother hurt.

I too, weep for the loss we have seen and while I know God is in this, I still weep for the hurting world left in the wake.

Today, the sun is shining. The birds are out. The trucks are driving by. The leaves outside are falling from the trees. And despite the fact that my heart is still in a low, low place, I will continue to aim high and treat this world with the loving kindness it desperately needs.

Despite it all: I am so grateful to live in a country where I am free to write this. Where we are all free to express our dissatisfaction of this election for a long as we desire.


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