No Glee, No Despair


First reflections on the morning after the presidential election.  I have several emails already from parishioners who are devastated by the election results.  I know that I have parishioners and friends who voted for Trump and who are pleased with the news they’re waking up to this morning.

It is time to listen to one another, not about the election results, but about our stories and the truth of our lives.  Like it or not, one learning from this election is that people who have felt ignored found their voice.

Both presidential candidates demonized the other side.  It was wrong for Donald Trump to not vehemently disavow support from those who are known white supremacists.  It was wrong for Hillary Clinton to call a large group of Americans “deplorables.”

There are too many people in this country who are hungry and homeless.  Too many feel that the American dream is completely out of their reach.  How will we bring good news to the poor in these next four years?  How will we bring about liberty for those who are oppressed?

I find inspiration in stories of resistance.  I think of the brave men and women of the underground railroad, who risked their lives to shepherd slaves to safety.  I think of those who kept Jews in their attics and basements during World War II, those who gave them false papers and stowed them away on boats and trains.  I think of women like Edith Cavell, the inspiration for the book, The Nightingale, who helped allied servicemen in occupied France escape over the Pyrenees into Spain and the people of the French village le Chambon who hid many Jewish children.

I’m talking about the kind of resistance that is personal and risky.  Some people may feel called to write vitriolic twitter posts, or to carry protest signs.  I feel called to get to know the people in this country who feel disenfranchised and advocate on their behalf.  I feel called to do what I can to encourage our young people to become involved in our political system so that we have better choices for leaders in the future.  I feel called to resist the pull of apathy and cynicism.

Let’s be countercultural, because the status quo is not working.  Let’s be countercultural and refuse to accept that our only two options are glee and despair.  We cannot spend the next four years complaining and obstructing; we cannot spend the next four years gloating.  There is too much real work to be done.

This is not resistance towards one political party or one president.  This is resistance to a system that has left many behind, resistance to the rhetoric of hate that has left many today feeling afraid.

This is not the day for gleeful celebration.  Neither is this the day for wallowing in despair.  This is the day to roll up our sleeves and get to work on behalf of the people Jesus loves.  He would seek out the people who are feeling forgotten, overlooked, ignored, and despised.  He would reach out to them with compassion.

Truly, we must learn to live together as sisters and brothers or perish together as fools.



4 thoughts on “No Glee, No Despair

  1. Susan Thompson

    Kelly, I just wrote a response and now have lost it! PERHAPS indicative of how I’m feeling today. Thanks to Lenore, I’ve read “no glee, no despair.” I know you are right. But my reaction to the various forward-looking things I’ve read on line today is basically what I’ve learned from life and from Stephen Ministry —about listening to people’s grief and not pushing them to get over it prematurely. I’m one of those grieving people today. I’ll move forward, I’m trying to understand this, but I’m grief-stricken at the loss of this woman as our president. Of course, you were writing a pastoral letter and are not my Stephen Minister! Thanks for reading, and with best wishes, Susan (Thompson)



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