Editorial: Give space to lament

File photo

File photo

I don’t know what to say right now. I’m angry, sad, scared and exhausted. I’m writing this on the day after the election, and I’ve spent all day with people who don’t know what to say, who hadn’t considered this a real possibility, who are brokenhearted over the pain and fear this election has brought to so many in our nation.

It’s easy to quote hymns. It’s easy to post verses. It’s easy to shrug your shoulders, turn off the TV and banish any thoughts of politics from your mind.

It’s much harder to wake up, look around, see the tears in others’ eyes and have no answer when someone asks, “Why did this happen?” But that’s where I am right now, along with so many other Christians across campus and across the country.

This isn’t okay. Racism and violence and sexism and hate and homophobia and pride and greed aren’t okay. Neither are vitriolic Facebook comments, gloating retorts or careless mockery. But this election has shown more than ever that our country is full of these things.

I know that there are others who are far angrier, sadder and more afraid than I am because they’re part of groups that’ve been specific targets of hate: women, African Americans, Muslims, immigrants and many others. I know there are people across the political spectrum who feel like their prayers, words and hard work have all come to nothing. I know there are kids crying in schools today because they don’t know if their families will be able to continue living safely in America. And there are thousands of other things I don’t know, things that cause people across our planet to raise their eyes toward heaven and wonder whether they can see God through their tears.

Many of us feel stuck in sadness and frustration right now. Our country isn’t what we thought and hoped it was. We did our part, we cast our votes, and now we feel powerless. And so many of our fellow Christians, people we know and love and go to church with, voted for this outcome that is so frightening for those who feel like outsiders in our culture.

No matter which side we’re on, we as Christians cannot allow this to turn us against each other. We cannot give in to the idea that our political opinions define us more than our faith. We believe in the radical love and mercy of Jesus and our call to show that love to the world, and that doesn’t depend on our who represents us in Washington.

Our lament is grounded in that love. We cry because we love those whom this election has hurt. Let us strive to love more radically, remember our citizenship in the kingdom of God and hold the gates of that kingdom wide open.

Especially this week, that means understanding the fear many feel at the idea of a President Trump, accepting it as legitimate and working to fight the sources of that fear. It means speaking up against racist and sexist language—from politicians, yes, but also from your friends. It means listening to those who disagree with you and valuing their ideas. It means refusing to label an entire religion violent based on their extremists. It may also mean having lunch with someone who grew up in a different country than you, reading a novel from another culture or attending a strange church for a Sunday. Our world abounds with opportunities for learning and love.

May we cry over this seemingly compassionless world, and then may we show our loving God to each other.