The morning after election day a friend of mine, downcast, asked me on social media, “Now what?” Good question, since “now what?” is exactly where we live.
I recalled that, many years ago, I had officiated at the funeral of an elderly woman who once told me, “You know, sometimes all you got is faith and hope.” Her life was considerably more banged-up than most, so I took her sage advice to heart and have held it gratefully as a sobering reminder ever since.
So yes, it’s important who wins this election, but regardless, our everyday job is right down here at street level, to keep growing as compassionate people, dealing rightly and generously with whomever we meet next. Sometimes all we’ve got is hope and faith, true, and that reality is certainly not confined to people of religious faith.
I have hope and faith in the inherent goodness of people, in their desire for dignity and decency and their capacity to treat one another kindly and well. Those desires move in the deeper rhythms of life and generate a fuel that consistently replenishes itself with experience. It’s more than enough to keep me going.
Occasionally, it won’t work out as we planned. The invitation to deeper conversation will be rejected, sometimes because of us, sometimes because the other person isn’t ready or interested. That doesn’t mean we blew it; it means we’ve received a valuable opportunity to learn how to be more effective. One of the most difficult lessons I continue to learn is the need to redefine success and failure, to take unexpected outcomes seriously but not personally.
So we keep going, wholeheartedly.