Well. America has hit another milestone in our history. We have elected a former reality TV star as our next President. Regardless of whether you voted for him or for her, or anyone but him or anyone but her, can we just agree that the fact that reality TV plays into this equation at all is a sad moment in our nation’s history? Let’s just marinate on that for a minute. You may cry, say the rosary or slam a door for a moment if you need to.
Like the rest of the world, I have watched as my fellow Americans have tried to process all of this. I have read all the commentaries and the politico ramblings and the emotional ramblings of my friends and family. And I can tell you if nothing else, that America seems to have at least found its emotional voice again. So maybe that is the silver lining in all this craziness. America has emotions again. Counselors everywhere rejoice!
I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this election and its final end and they have all seemed a little scattered and disconnected but I’m thinking maybe they aren’t so disconnected at all. So here they are:
First, one of the most common debates I am seeing in social media and overhearing in restaurants…because I am a chronic eavesdropper… is the debate occurring around the subject of how valid it is to fear Donald Trump’s impending presidency. I have no idea if I should be scared right now. I wish I could look into the future and tell you whether his presidency has the power to incite World War III, The Civil War: Part 2 or The Hunger Games or if he will end up having about as much influence as Grover Cleveand. What I do know is that there are millions of people out there right now who are in fact very afraid.
And to that end, I say this: I have several fears that most would consider irrational. I am convinced that every airplane I am about to board will probably go down in the ocean…even when I am not even close to crossing the ocean in said airplane. I am afraid that each time I light my gas grill, the propane tank will explode in my face. And I am deathly terrified of cockroaches. I hate cockroaches. Since I was a small child, I have lived in terror of most creepy crawly things but cockroaches for me, take the terrifying cake.
And I cannot tell you the amount of times, after screaming for help and having some brave rescuer rush to my aid, having that same rescuer ask, “What’s the big deal? Its just a bug. It doesn’t bite. Stop being so dramatic.” It is not just a bug to me. What some might perceive as a relatively small nuisance or what some might not even perceive at all, is a VERY big deal to me. Roaches have been known to bring me to tears. Greg has had to leave guy time hangouts with his favorite people in the past, to rescue me from a cockroach. And I am not one to ask him to give his social time up freely so you know that making that wailing phone call was a big deal to me…as big as that disgusting winged nightmare keeping me trapped in our bedroom at the time.
My point is this: We don’t get to comment on the validity of the fears of others. We just don’t. Because while my fears are exploding propane tanks, mysterious bodies of water engulfing my airplane or winged creatures from hell, you have your own set of fears too. And whether I see them as things to fear or not, you still quake in your boots over them and gnash your teeth when they appear and that means the fear is quite real to you. My explaining to you why your fear is “irrational” does nothing to calm your fears. If anything, it sets up a wall between you and I and I am no longer a safe place for you.
And that, my friends, is exactly what the fearful need right now, a safe place. Every single one of us has the power to be a safe place to someone else. And everyday we make decisions that demonstrate just how safe we are to those who feel terrified. The best thing we can do for our terrified friends right now is to let them know that we will kill the cockroach for them. We will face their fear on their behalf and do our best to eradicate it.
And, Church, its time to wake up. Have you realized yet that the terrified are exactly who Jesus came to save? Have you realized yet that He rescued you from the ultimate terror? Have you finally come to the rational conclusion that in this particular event that tore our country in two, He had no dog in that fight? He was and is With Her and even With Him. Because, to quote an expression that has been drilled into my head the last few years, “You have never locked eyes with a person who did not matter to Jesus.” Wake up, O sleeper. Love casts out all fear. And you have that very love inside of you! The one that casts out all fear! It is in you! It has been waiting for times such as these to be unleashed on a fearful world! Be the Church that I know God designed you to be. I believe in you. We can do this. We can be a safe place for every single soul who lives in terror these days. Let’s make the Church safe again.