November 4, 2020
It’s the middle of the day in my neck of the woods. And while I dictate this blog post, there are many who are wrestling with feelings of uncertainty, preemptive disappointment, and overwhelm associated with the U. S. presidential election.
Last night, I did everything in my power to preserve my emotional energy and reduce overwhelm. From a dinner out to a late-night custard run to a warm bath. Around 9:30pm, I watched about an hour of various news programs, observing election results come in minute-by-minute. And at 10:30pm, I made the decision to go to bed.
While somewhat restless last night, I awoke at 6:00am and enjoyed my morning cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer. And contrary to my emotional reaction to the election last night, today, I felt increasingly anxious about the outcome.
I found myself refreshing my Google tab every few minutes, while calculating various pathways for my preferred candidate to win. After an hour and a half, with my brother’s leading, I begrudgingly closed the tab on my computer and started my work day.
Strangely enough, the waiting associated with the outcome of this election has reminded me of the night before my mom died in December 2012.
I remember laying in the bed next to her, my brother also there, discussing what we knew was the inevitable. We knew death was upon us. We also knew we couldn’t control the outcome. So we simply laid there, doing our best to keep ourselves awake, pray the best for her, and do everything in our power to not emotionally and physically fall apart.
This reminds me of how many, including myself, are feeling in this nation today.
We’re laying next to our screens – be they TVs, computers, or cell phones — discussing what we believe will be the inevitable. No matter what side of the aisle we’re on, there’s something deep within us vying for hope. Vying for the outcome we prefer. Vying for this long and arduous election season to come to an end.
At the end of the day, only one person will win the election. And regardless of your political leaning, ‘death’ will befall some. Deep within you is an awareness that you can’t control the outcome.
So, how do we manage situations in which we feel helpless, powerless, and overwhelmed with uncertainty in the waiting?
Short answer. We simply wait.
Of course, we can choose to lay in anxious observance of the ticker scroll on the screen — up one minute and down the next, like an endless roller coaster. We can remain wedded to the incessant flow of information flooding our eyes and ears.
Pray. Meditate. Be still.
Each of these responses, while seemingly passive, is quite powerful. They remind us that our lives are fundamentally out of our own control, despite our best efforts. They help anchor us to the reality that life’s plans are beyond us, even though we play a part in affecting the outcomes. Life doesn’t begin and end with us, and embracing that reality goes a long way in tethering us to the present moment.
One of the ways I’ve managed challenges since my mom died is remembering.
What do I remember, you might ask?
I remember that even as I lay next to my mom as she transitioned from this life to the next, I was safe. I remember that even after experiencing her death, certain that it would overtake me, it didn’t. I remember that nearly eight years later, I’m still standing, living, and even thriving.
Friends, beauty resides in remembrance. And I wonder if we might anchor ourselves on this day of waiting in remembrance.
Here are a few strategies to help you remember today:
Life in the election dash is not easy. Yet there are things to be done in the dash.
Remembering is one of them.
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