How many of you have been feeling like THIS lately?
Me too! I am SO glad that it is over.
I have certainly found out that politics brings out the worst in people! I have seen such hateful and extreme rhetoric on Facebook and on various blogs in the past few months, weeks, and even today, AFTER the election. And not just by people who voted differently than I did.
It is so important to remember that we are all one nation. Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green...it doesn't matter. What matters, as I said to a fellow blogger and Facebook friend, is relationships.
Charles was in California these past 10 days to be with his family. His Dad fell ill and was hospitalized a week ago Saturday. Charles flew down that evening, overnighted in Seattle and was at his Dad's side at the hospital on Sunday morning. Thank God we were able to afford a sudden plane ticket. Charles was all set to come home after a week, but his Dad had a little setback on Saturday, so we changed his ticket until he could be reassured that all was well. We are grateful for the doctors and hospital staff who cared for him, and grateful that he felt well enough to go to the polls and vote, along with Charles' Mom.
|Photo: Michael Penn/Juneau Empire|
On Monday night, a fire broke out in a low income housing building in downtown Juneau. Thank God, there were no fatalities (except for a pet cat), and the injuries were minor. All the residents were able to get out of the four-story building safely. The air in downtown Juneau was thick with gray, toxic smoke. I was heading to a restaurant downtown to meet a friend for dinner before choir rehearsal (I'm singing with the Bach Society). As I got closer to downtown, I noticed how hazy it was, and as I got even closer, it was apparent that there was a major fire close by. I parked and asked a passerby where the fire was and she told me, "The Gastineau Apartments". My heart sank. It is home to 50 low income, disabled and elderly tenants. I proceeded to the restaurant for dinner and at the end of our meal, the power went out. The Fire Department had cut power so they could safely use water on the fire. I ended up going home - just the 20 minutes that I had been outside in the smoke made me so congested and wheezy, I knew I couldn't sing at rehearsal that night.
The Red Cross set up a temporary shelter for the displaced tenants, and for the guests at the nearby Baranof Hotel, who also had to be evacuated. The building tenants will have a difficult time finding new low cost housing. The Gastineau Apartments were pretty shabby and run down, but as I told someone, even a sub-standard home is better than no home at all.
Our small town is rallying to help these folks. Donations of funds, clothing and other items are pouring in for the victims of the fire. A local movie theater is having a movie marathon to raise funds. Local restaurants are giving them free meals. Nobody cares what political party anyone belongs to in this situation.
So, you see, in the end, the things that make us different are less important than the things we have in common, especially those of us who share a common faith.
Our faith in a loving, wise, just and merciful God. Our families. Our friends. Our health. Our homes. Our communities. These are the things that matter.
In the days ahead, if you find yourself in a debate with someone over the outcome of the election, don't get sucked in. Don't succumb to the temptation to hammer your point home. It never works, and it could damage an important relationship. Unfortunately, civil discourse appears to have gone the way of the eight track tape. It seems to have disappeared from print, broadcast and online media. Don't contribute to the decline of the polite conversation, especially in your homes and with your friends. Appreciate our similarities, and pray for those who have different views.
And I am grateful.