Tag Archives: relationships

The Day After Election Day

3 Nov

Voting ClipartNext Tuesday is Election Day in the United States. Like many Americans, I am both relieved and worried. Living in Ohio, we are inundated by both candidates, and our phone is ringing hourly to tell me how horrible the candidates are. Every television break has at least one political ad and our mailbox is filled with flyer after flyer. Does anyone think that these efforts really change anything? It doesn’t for me, except to make me dislike the person who is wasting my time and flooding my home with their rhetoric. I know where to go to find out the candidates’ platform. I know who to talk to if I want the liberal or the conservative perspective. I have never been swayed by a piece of paper or phone call, but I have by a friend or family member who is more politically savvy than I am.

In the US, we have the option to vote early or absentee, and for the first time since college I would have opted for that, but I also have a first time voter in my family who wants to come home from his own college experience to vote in person at our polling place; so my husband, son and I will all go vote together. It is a right and a privilege we all take very seriously. Since I have been eligible to vote, I have only missed one day of voting because my husband was out of town, and we always vote together. I didn’t even realize it until I talked to him that night and he asked me how I voted. Unfortunately, the polls were already closed. It was mostly issues that time, but it still felt bad to have missed.

Nearly every Presidential Election year we’ve been told that it is the most important election ever, and maybe they’re right, but maybe that’s just the rhetoric we choose to believe. After all, the President doesn’t make the laws, Congress does. Does the President have influence? Absolutely, but the lawmakers of the land are the Senators and Representatives. Yes, we could debate how horrible each of the candidates is, but that isn’t the point of this post. The point of the post is that someone is going to win Tuesday night and the US will have a new commander in chief in January. Some people will be happy. Some people will be shocked, and some people will be sad and perhaps angry.
The other point is that whoever wins, that person is our president; the president of every American. You may not have voted for or even like him or her, but what if, instead of criticizing and condemning, you chose to pray for them to be wise and decent and to fulfill the office of President of the United States with dignity and grace? What if you prayed for them to surround themselves with wise and decent advisers? Not a person of faith? Send positive energy to that person instead. Send positive vibes to everyone who will support that new President. Not in this country? Pray for us to make the best choice not only for our nation, but for the entire world. Truthfully, many Americans feel we have little to no choice in this election. Many want to ask each party why they couldn’t come up with someone better, but someone who follows politics more closely than I do questioned why any decent person would want to run for President of the United States. The media will attack every word and deed and  spin bad situations in your past to make them look much worse and some outlets that call themselves news will publish rumors as if they are truth. What kind of people would want to subject themselves to that type of onslaught? In addition, you subject your family to that scrutiny as well, so unless they are also squeaky clean and have incredibly thick skins, they are targets for the media trolls too, and that’s not even including social media and the hate that can spew there. We’re one of the most G-rated family I know, and I certainly wouldn’t want my children to have to deal with that.

Instead, I hope that whoever becomes President will work to heal the ugliness that has run rampant during this election. I hope that neighbors, friends and families can forgive one another. I hope that as the robo-political calls subside, we can all move forward in a kinder way. If I could, I would vote for that. Since I can’t, I will instead remind you that the book will be published very soon, and the new blog will launch sooner than that. I have no idea where it all will lead, but I plan to have lots of fun along the way. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

Past Forgiveness

4 Apr
My dad with my boys March 9 , 1997

My dad with my boys March 9 , 1997

It’s not even 9 AM in my part of the world and already this is been an extraordinary day. I think the best way to start this particular post is with a little background information. Easter Sunday was the 16th anniversary of my father’s passing from this world to the next. Some people think I have a strange view of death because I can be joyful about my father’s passing. The reason I can be joyful is that I truly believe with every part of my being that this life is just a small part of something much bigger and much, much better. The other reason that I can be joyful about my father’s passing is because he lived a difficult life, partially because of circumstances beyond his control and partially because of choices he made and the way he thought about life.

Just recently I began rereading the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the agreements in the book is” Don’t Take Anything Personally”. In a nutshell, the agreement says that whenever you take anything personally you accept the poison of someone else’s perspective which is really selfishness because you make the other person’s reaction about you.

Today as I was thinking about my 50th birthday in a couple of weeks and the party we are planning to celebrate, I started thinking about the people who my husband called who said they can’t come. Some of them are dear friends and relatives; people I cannot imagine not having at the celebration. I began to feel very unsettled and unhappy. I thought about saying the heck with it and just chucking the whole idea of the party out the window. I was irritated and aggravated. Then I remembered something.

In 1997, my dad was in hospice for his 54th birthday.  I had given birth to my second child on March 4th. At the time, I was also coaching a club volleyball team that had a tournament on March 8th. Four days after giving birth, I spent over eight hours on my feet coaching volleyball between feedings of a newborn, not by a bottle. By the end of the day, I was exhausted physically mentally and emotionally. I called my dad as we were leaving the tournament to wish him a happy birthday and to tell him we wouldn’t be able to see him until his party the next day. I knew he was disappointed. I knew he was hurt, but I was exhausted and it was late and I had to take care of myself and my baby.  We went to Hospice for his party the next day.  He died on March 31st.

Today, as I thought about my birthday party and how disappointed I am that some of the more important people in my life won’t be at my party, I thought about how disappointed my father probably was when we missed his birthday even though we attended his party the next day. I realized how deeply I regretted not being there. I realized how much guilt I still carried because we didn’t make it there. I realized on the most profound level how shame filled I was for missing his last birthday, for being in denial that it would be his last birthday and for causing him emotional pain that day. It was gut wrenching and I had one heck of a cry as the emotions bubbled up, but something else happened too.

As I worked my way through my regret and guilt, I thought about the “agreement” and how personally I was taking everything in regard to my father. I thought about my belief about where he is and the fact that any hurt my actions may have caused him are no longer important to him. For 16 years, I’ve carried a heavy burden that I don’t need to carry anymore. So today, I lay aside my regret, my guilt and my shame for a decision I made as an exhausted mom with a newborn 16 years ago. I also lay aside any irritation, frustration and disappointment regarding anyone who can’t attend my party.

After some meditation and prayer, I find myself in awe of divine unfolding that allows me to release my guilt and regret so that I can do the same for others. It’s a healing that I didn’t even know I needed but one for which I am so very grateful. I feel as though a part of me has been broken open, as if a dark place is now filled with light. It is a peaceful and joyful feeling and I hope that if any of you have burdens like this that you will find the grace that I found this morning so that you too can heal and move on in your life in peace, joy and love. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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