Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day, from a Canadian in the city

 Anyone who knows me in "real life" knows that I am the least political person ever. I hate politics, and use my built-in-excuse that "I'm Canadian" to avoid all discussion, debate etc. When people start talking about politics, I typically leave the room in search of diet coke and cheese dip and someone who wants to talk about fashion and/or Top Chef. My family is very liberal (we're Canadian remember) and Adam's staunchly conservative; therefore, I always feel a little caught-in-the-middle and tend to just pray no one brings it up (which never happens. It always comes up). All that to say,  this post is a little uncharacteristic for me. However, in the past few days, we have had several people ask us if we are planning on leaving our house for election day. You know, just in case Obama loses and all our neighbors go crazy.

The kiddos have also been asking us, on a fairly regular basis over the past few weeks, who we are planning to vote for. Before we can even answer, they typically remind us that we better vote for Obama or else they will lose their food stamps forever. One of our boys told us yesterday that if we REALLY cared about all the kids, we would vote for Obama so they wont go hungry without their food stamps. I'm not even going to touch the fact that they are clearly ill-informed and all getting their information somewhere unreliable, however widespread.

I have an easy-out in answering the kiddos, simply reminding them that I have a green card and can't vote. Adam avoids the question by asking them what they think he should do and why. Side note: he doesn't do this because he's a staunch Republican and for sure voting for Romney, or because he would never vote for Obama, but mostly because he doesn't really know who to vote for because he's not a big fan of either candidate. In case you're wondering, this post by Jen Hatmaker describes our politics to-a-T. Oh and also our pastor who said in church this Sunday: "My hope isn't in any man, whether he's riding an elephant or a donkey." -"

A few of the boys who told us we would vote for Obama if we really loved them were sitting in our kitchen last night working on a school project on the importance of voting. Adam was heating up meatloaf (thanks Aunt T!), mashing potatoes, and sauteing onions and garlic. We debated the pros and cons of using onions in our meals, with the boys' staunch arguing for no-onions-ever, while we debated the merits of onions adding flavor to our potatoes. We helped them work on their power point children's book on voting, and inevitably the issue of our voting preferences came back up. The boys mentioned that people who voted Republican hated black people and that the reason the Republicans won the state of Georgia was simply a numbers game, because there are more white people than black in Georgia.

The fact that this is a black-white issue for them (even if it's not actually one) reminds me that perhaps there are still some racial issues and inequalities and wounds that may need some healing for all of us. And I responded with what they already knew: As long as we live here, they will not go hungry. They will always have a place at our dinner table, an after-school snack waiting for them, and fresh eggs for collecting. We wont let them starve, regardless of who wins this election tomorrow or how many food stamps they get every month.

Because ultimately, it shouldn't matter if we are black or white or Democrat or Republican. It doesnt make a difference who sits in the White House, because God still sits on the throne. And as long as He's there, then I think He wants His church to be a place where race is a non-issue, where government doesnt need to feed the poor because His people are sitting down to eat with them every single day. Where black and white aren't lines that divide, but lines that draw a picture of God's Kingdom, adding their voices to the multitude around His throne.

I spent most of today driving all-over-creation. Caden went to the doctor, and Jayci and I had a Target date, and then I picked up Zack after school. Somewhere in the middle of all my driving, I heard (just barely, over Jayci's constant and loud singing of made-up songs) that the two candidates spent a combined total of over 6 billion dollars on the election campaigns. And I dreamed for just a minute of how much more simply all the welfare problems and abortion questions and what-not could be solved if we would utilize all these extra resources and start taking in babies whose mothers cant take care of them. And start feeding the hungry. Opening our homes to those who dont have a place to sleep. Befriending the lonely.

I pondered 6 billion dollars as I threw my fifty cents in the toll. As I stopped to grab a $1 diet coke. As I paid my $25 copay at the doctor (twice) and spent $50 to fill up on gas.

And all the while, I caught my breath time and again at the brilliance of the deep blue sky of fall, juxtaposed with leaves flaming red and glowing yellow. Clinging tenaciously to the branches, their color deepens and brightens as temperatures drop and winds gust. Still they hold on, finally fluttering to the ground in a blaze of swirling orange and brittle brown. And I'm reminded that sometimes the death of something can be just as beautiful as the beginning. Fall trees rival spring flowers in color and variety. The bravery of autumn and the promise of spring. Both equally beautiful and vital and true. And so too, there is beauty to be plumbed in the death of the things we worked so hard to earn. The death of our divisions. The death of those possessions and comforts we grasp to try and fill what only Christ can. In the upside-down Kingdom of God, we die to live. The last will be first. We lose our life to find it.
So today, let's choose to stand laid bare, piles of brilliant leaves around our feet. Sacrificing and letting go and voting, and living in faith that God will sow new seeds. That the outcome of the election isn't nearly as important as the choices we make every minute of every day. That the way we live our lives as believers in the Kingdom of God will have much more far-reaching impact on policy and abortion rates and healthcare costs and foreign policy than any leader ever will.

The doctor today told me that Caden, quite simply, is remarkable. And so I cant help but believe, at least for today, in miracles. In the power of a God who carries us and surround us. A God who entered into the darkest places in order to birth light. A God who demands that we stay. Because staying means standing with those who think they have no voice, those who fear going hungry, who want desperately to know that we will still be here with our onion-laden-potatoes after tomorrow's election ends, regardless of the outcome.

“So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back.” (Piper)

17 comments:

  1. such a beautiful and REAL perspective. Thankful for your sweet presence in that community and those lives. Thankful that you share your life with the rest of us!!

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  2. Hello! I found your blog through A Fly on My Chicken Coop Wall, and I am now following. You have a beautiful family, and your photos are amazing. Thank you for such a thoughtful post! ~Susan www.solesearchingmamma.com

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  3. Hot dang.

    ps - You? Canadian? Who knew???!

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  4. Sitting on the back patio, overlooking the Colorado mountains as I read this. I've missed our secret non-conflict political discussions so much this year! Thanks for posting so much truth and perspective all the time. love you, friend!

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  5. Perfect. I'm attending a Bible study which is working through the books of Kings in the Old Testament. Our leader chose those books intentionally during this election season to remind us that whether God's people are ruled by faithful men or evil ones, He is continuing to accomplish His purpose--the redemption and restoration of all things.

    I think this is my first time over here--came from a link posted by Flower Patch Farmgirl.

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  6. I am so blessed by your blog, but particularly today. Thank you for reminding me that God wants us to stay and stand :)

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  7. Beautiful, Becca! Thanks for sharing and for putting all of the political drama in perspective :)

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  8. I think the truth of the matter is if God's people, me first, had been faithful to minister to the needy and share what we have instead of accumulating more and more for ourselves the conservative principals would be upheld and we wouldn't have this division. We can and must do much better living with less ourselves and giving more of our love, resources and energy to make a difference for those who have lost hope. Your family is a wonderful example of just that!

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  9. As always, thank you for putting so eloquently into words some of what my heart feels.

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  10. Completely and totally agree! Thank you. (And for the record, I would much rather eat cheese dip and discuss Top Chef any day). =)

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  11. sooo pumped up by this!!! "The way we live our lives as believers in the Kingdom of God will have much more far-reaching impact on policy and abortion rates and healthcare costs and foreign policy than any leader ever will." amen, let it be! newly inspired to live like this is true, it is!

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  12. Yes! How silly the topic of 'social issues' as related to politics would seem if we as the church (I like to read that as 'I') were doing for others as God calls us (me) to do. God's people could always do so much more for those in need than any political camp ever could.

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