Four years ago, I sat up to the bitter end to see the results of the Presidential election. I had fully intended to do the same this year.
Didn’t happen. Joe had to come into the room and wake me up with the news.
Those of you who know me best are not surprised. You have set next to me in dorm rooms or movie theaters when I had the best intentions of ‘staying awake,’ and you have woke me up when ‘ it’ was over. You have gently shaken me awake to see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve.
Thanks to all of you who do not judge me or think I am apathetic or a party pooper.
Joe and I were both raised in conservative Christian families in Oklahoma.
Both of us grew up watching our families put in the hard work to build successful small businesses in rural America.
You likely can guess how I marked my ballot yesterday.
For the past year, I have been praying and hoping for ‘change’ for our country.
A week ago God made it clear to me that I was praying the wrong prayer.
A week ago I met Donna.
Since that day, God has rekindled the fire in me to BE the hope and change, not to wait on an election to do that for me.
Last night as I listened to elections results coming in, I was reading the book, “Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life,” by Robert Lupton. (Yes, I feel asleep reading it…not because it is a boring book…but because I am Holly and not much keeps me up past 10 pm. In fact, Lupton can rock your world if you haven’t read his stuff. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
My hope for change was not dashed last night when Joe woke me up with the news. In fact, this morning my heart is pounding with excitement about the hope and change that God is brewing in my heart since the ‘chance encounter’ I had with with a young, black woman, Donna,who lives in one of the roughest neighborhoods in my city.
I just might post about that experience later this week.
**UPDATE** Read about my experience here.
But, this morning I was prompted to read what I wrote on Inauguration Day 2009. I didn’t have a blog then and had only lived in Tulsa for ten months. I posted the following ‘note’ on Facebook after I watched the Inauguration of President Obama.
Since many of you were not ‘my friend’ in 2009, I thought you might see a glimpse into my thoughts about having Obama as my family’s president.
Hope and change will still happen…because it depends on me as much as it depends on the man who takes the oath of office on January 20th, 2013.
Here is what I wrote on January 20th, 2009. “Inauguration Day of President Obama”
I knew this day was going to be huge.
No matter your political leanings, most every American has been wondering since November just what it will look and feel like to see an African American place his hand atop President Lincoln’s Bible and take the coveted oath of office to be the most powerful man in the world.
We have all anticipated it, but yet I really don’t think anyone could have imagined it to be what it was. It literally was like a dream.
To be honest, it was never a dream of mine. I have been privileged enough to live in an era where I have never fully known the importance of the dream. I was once required to memorize the Emancipation Proclamation. I’ve grown up reading in history books about slavery, desegregation, and the struggles for equal rights. . .
But I was born in 1975.
Blacks had been voting for 10 years. Into the world comes a young blond haired fair skin girl who would never have the capacity to understand the significance of this day.
January 20th, 2009.
Today I tried. I tried to feel what so many of my beloved black friends were feeling. I wanted to feel the same things that they felt.
But as I sat there watching the new President walk down the road to the White House, I realized that it is impossible for a white person of my age to experience the greatest depth of emotion that this day evoked.
I got choked up listening to the prayer of Rick Warren and felt a sense of awe that God had allowed me to live in such a time as this. Like most of those watching the events, tears rolled down my eyes as I watched the beautiful Obama family stand in front of millions and wave to us for the first time as the First Family.
However, as the day went on I realized I will never understand fully the significance of today.
In some ways I feel somehow blessed to have been spared the pain so that I do not have to fully understand the victory.
I found myself confused.
Confused as I watched a special on Martin Luther King, Jr, and my son asked, “If those white people were Christians, why were they so mean to black people?” and I could not give him an answer.
Confused as to how I could disagree with so many policies of Barack Obama, and yet somehow feel as I look into my own kids eyes, that I too have won a victory today.
My vote was not for Barack Obama.
However, somehow today I am more proud to be an American than I have been in a very long time. Proud that my son came home today and let me know that he is glad he did not live “back then”, because he is glad he gets to go to school with Reginald.
Our country has turned an important corner. Though I will never fully understand the personal impact it has for some, I have my own reasons to celebrate.
Today I celebrate for all the black teammates I have had over the years each of whom I loved as sisters. (As a former female collegiate athlete, I was also blessed to be a part of the post-Title IX generation…another struggle I will never fully understand)
Today I celebrate for the black friends that I sat next to in classes in college and seminary, many of whom were the first in their family to receive higher education.
Today I also celebrate for the friends I have made recently, black brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom my husband and I meet with every Sunday night to worship, study God’s Word, and pray for each other’s needs.
But most of all, today I celebrate for my own children.
My children will grow up in a generation where the hate is an even more distant memory than it was in my childhood. Now, when our family bows our heads to pray for our President, we will be praying for someone whose skin is a different color than ours. My kids will grow up thinking that it is normal to have a black president.
And for that reason I choose to celebrate.