Dear Sons; Here's What You Need To Know Pt. 2 : Elections, Racism and The Big Love
Last night our dear American friends voted for a new President. I know that you have been paying attention, eavesdropping on adult conversations and collecting pieces of information that you store away inside that curious brain of yours. You’ve asked questions about what a President does and who are the people that want this very important role. I explained to you how a woman was campaigning to be President, and how historic this was as a woman has never held the highest office before. You didn’t understand why that is because like, “Moms do everything anyways” and I nodded in full agreement. You’ve seen Trump on TV and you've asked questions like “why does he want to build a wall?” and “why does he always say things are bad?” and I didn’t have an answer for you. “Donald Trump” you said, in your version of a British accent. You giggled and decided you quite liked his name.
Well, Donald Trump was elected President. I went through all of the emotions while you and your brother slept soundly in your beds. Shock. Outrage. Devastation. I didn’t understand how this could happen. No, let me rephrase that; I didn’t want to believe this could happen. I wanted to believe that people would choose love over hate, acceptance over exclusion and progress over familiarity. I heard so many voters say "it’s the policies I vote for, not the person" as they glossed over a racist, sexist and misogynistic man because they wanted the right to bear arms and the promise of better jobs. Watching Hillary lose the election filled me with sadness, not just because our long, tiring fight to see a woman break the glass ceiling was again delayed, but also because the progressive option was thrown out the window for a man who thinks it’s OK to build walls, grab "pussies" and throw hateful speech around like it’s confetti at a party.
As I stumbled to bed last night in the wee hours of the morning, I sat down for a moment outside your doors. My two little men, all tucked in their beds, full of hope and love and all things good. You still cry when you lie and draw me a page full of hearts and smiley faces when I’ve been upset with you. You innately choose to reconcile every fight or misunderstanding because your default is love. You don’t even know what a grudge is and while I’m sure the world has rubbed off on you in ways I can’t control, you thankfully still see people for what they are; people.
What I want you to realize, dear one, is that these people who voted for Trump are nice and good people. I’m sure if you were walking past their house they would wave and say hello. You could spend an entire afternoon in many of these people’s homes and be safe, well-fed and feel comfortable. These people are not inherently bad, no one is. They just got lost, they forgot that saying nothing is still saying something. They swept the hard conversations under the rug so they could vote for things that only affected them; not their neighbour. My boys, I have come to learn that when faced with racism or sexism or hatred you cannot stay silent. You must speak up, ask hard questions and take action. It won’t be comfortable. You might, in the process, see parts of yourself that need work. Never, ever, shy away from the work of the heart. It won’t be easy, but love is never easy. Love requires something from us, love is an action word. Love isn't saying "I love my neighbour" but in the next breath calling homosexuality sin, abortions murder, and immigrants rapists. That's convenient love.
I want you to know the Big Love.
The Big Love is not loving people but being love to people. Love encompasses all things. Even in seemingly harmless and insignificant amounts, racism and hate linger and they grow. They find refuge within our dark parts, our fearful parts. We all have some, that I am quite certain. Never feel shame about your darkness. Speak about it, explore it. The more you let The Big Love in, the more you heal. The Big Love casts a light; a glaring, bright, lovely and warm light on all these specks of darkness and they cannot help but disappear.
One of my favourite poets wrote these lovely words about love and I always come back to it when I need a reminder on what love requires from us. I pray that you know, so deep within yourself, how very loved you are; just as you are. I hope that from this knowledge you grow, you feel safe to discover, create and explore who you are and what you believe. I hope that from that place of creation you learn how to be The Big Love and that you never once look back.
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
-- Kahlil Gibran