Ending. Beginning.

79e1dcd771692a79c9919a6cc035829eWell, tomorrow is Friday, January 20, 2017 and we all know what that means… The past eight years have been far from perfect. In fact if I could sit down with President Barack Obama, there are many frustrations that I would share with him. Having said that, I would say that overall, I mourn the end of his days in the Oval Office.

After the prior eight years, he seemed a dream in many ways. An African-American, young, hopeful, inspired to do grassroots change, socially progressive, and so much more, he inspired so many of us. Yet, the reality of governing versus campaigning set in, and some of the dreams evaporated. Add to that, many made him a hero, and nothing good comes of that. The hero-making, idolizing is what turned me off early on during the campaigning, so I was very late to hop on the Obama for President train.

For good or ill, although I think that she is in many ways the single most qualified person to be president, I have long been ambivalent about Hillary Clinton. Go ahead, pelt me with rocks and garbage, fine – but it is the truth. Anyway, in 2008 and in 2016, I struggled. Honestly, if I had my way, it would have been Joe Biden all the way, but that’s another blog post I suppose. Thus you know have my political leanings for the past 16 years. Anyway, ambivalence and struggles aside, it was a dark day for me, as it was for many of you, on November 9, 2016 when we learned that she would not be our president.

And here we are – today is the last full day, the final 24 hours, of Barack Obama’s presidency. This has me thinking about a number of things, far too many to write about here today, but I’ll try.

freshhellEnding. Yes, it may seem like the end to many of us. I’m over the worst of my despair, although who knows what fresh hell awaits us. However, now more than ever I am convinced that something good will come. Call me a crazy optimist, but if we do not have hope, we have nothing. As a Christian, hope is at the center of my being, but if you look at many traditions and practices, hope is also at the center. In fact many Christians have replaced hope with fear, but continue to call it hope. If tomorrow is to be better, and here is my real hope, what will you and I be doing about it? Without each of us participating, hope is not going to be a thing, no matter how or where it sprouts within you, be that Jesus himself, your davening, or your morning yoga practice. Or both.

Are you with me? I am convinced, which is indeed part of my faith life and life of liturgical practice, that without community we are nothing. Hope and community are intertwined in ways we have yet to fully understand. Are we going to be part of networks and communities that move forward in hope? Or are we going to sink? If the marches planned for Saturday are any indication, we are looking to be parts of networks and communities. I’m not worried about Saturday, I am concerned about sticking through the tough days that we will slog through together in the days beyond Saturday.

Whatever your group, your community, your tribe, your congregation, your network, are you ready to get busy? Much will be asked from each of us if we want our dreams of a better world to become reality. In that regard, it does not matter who the president is. Maybe having this president is a gift of motivation for us? Whatever the case, we have to work together for a better future for all. The greater common good means a better future for all, including those we would rather not include in said better future.

I know, I always have to spoil it, don’t I? That means sometimes linking arms with people with similar goals at large, but very dissimilar goals in specificity. One example of this going wrong is this, which I am not prepared to write about in detail, but this event did make me very angry. How foolish we are with our ideological purity. If that is where we let the new president take us to, we are truly lost. If we can’t coalesce around our larger goals without pushing people away from the table without conversation, then we are equally intolerant as those we bemoan. Think of it this way fellow left-leaners – if you wish that one of your more conservative friends or relatives could just meet and get to know a Muslim-undocumented immigrant-LGBTQ person-African American-fill in the blank so that they might open their mind, I would ask you to do the same in this case. Please consider it… ok, I am moving on.

Beginning. For anyone who is left reading, if your own annoyance with me has not driven you away, I leave you with this song, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House. The lyrics (seen in the video, and also posted below the video) offer us some real insights for the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Don’t let them build a wall between any of us – another country or another person. Don’t dream it’s over, it is just beginning – if we are willing.

Are you with me?

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Now I’m towing my car, there’s a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but there’s no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the T.V. page

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum
And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and release

Don’t let them win
(Hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now)
Hey now, hey now
Don’t let them win
(They come, they come)
Don’t let them win
(Hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now)

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6 thoughts on “Ending. Beginning.

  1. Fran,Here is something i read recently which I think is appropriate: ” God will be with us every hour, every minute of this day so that nothing can happen that together we cannot handle” I pray this fervently. Over the years I have met and made many friends of different race and religion and under the surface they have the same hopes and fears that I have..

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  2. Fran, I have decided to fast and pray on Friday and have asked friends to do likewise. Our country needs healing. And Trump needs our prayers (even if all we can manage is “God, please shut down Trump’s Twiitter account!”) Meriel

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  3. I’m with you! The theory that one has to hit bottom before change can occur keeps coming to mind. I’m hoping and praying and believing this is what is happening. How we respond makes all the difference. Thanks for your words.

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  4. Tomorrow’s #InaugurationFast includes opting out of social media so I can gather energy and get centered for the work ahead. And oh wow, will we have lots of work to do! ❤

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