I spent the day yesterday grieving. Not because "my candidate" did not win the election.
But because I suddenly realized that I'd been living in a bubble, and the country that I grew up believing that we were-- the one I'd learned about in the history books-- does not exist anymore. We are not a conservative, God-fearing nation. We are liberal, godless, and foundationless.
I should have realized this sooner. Somehow I was under the delusion that there was still a chance that our nation would return to the moral foundations, the right and wrong, of the bible.
I now know that somewhere along the line, we have become a country that doesn't give a rip what the bible says is right or wrong. After all, among all the choices in the world, why should we use the BIBLE as our standard?
There IS a right and wrong--I think the new terms are "politically correct" and "politically incorrect"-- but I can't figure out what it's based on. Does anybody have a copy of the new moral code handbook handy?
But after I got done grieving for what is lost, I actually felt better.
Because, you know, now whatever happens will just be what is to be expected. Legal abortion?* Why not? That doesn't mean any person must have an abortion, just because it's legal. Gay marriages? So? In a way, this IS the logical progression of our Bill of Rights. We are just expanding our rights. And legality doesn't necessarily mean "right" or "recommended."
But as the Apostle Paul said in scripture, "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable." So to have massive legal freedom is not necessarily bad. But then we have a huge moral responsibility to use our freedom for good, not evil.
Now when something I consider evil happens in government, I won't take it personally. It's just the natural outcome of a "free" country. I won't like it, I'll still pray about it. But I won't be devastated. Because what else can you expect?
It sort of reminds me of the story of the children of Israel when they all moved to Egypt to join up with Joseph during the famine. As long as Joseph was ruler, they lived in favor and blessing and they multiplied greatly. Then, years later, a generation grew up that didn't know Joseph, and the Israelites lost favor and became slaves.
I feel like I'm living among a generation that doesn't know "Joseph," the country that we have always been that stood for freedom, independence, godliness, and personal responsibility. The country that spawned pioneers, inventors, explorers, statesmen, missionaries. The new generation doesn't know, and doesn't really care, that we've fallen far from the moral tree. This is a new day, a new generation, with new philosophies and new religions. (And when I say "generation" I don't mean that as necessarily an age-related term. I mean that idealogically.)
I found I DO have something in common with the new breed after all. What is it they--and I-- really want? They want what's best for the country, for their families, for the poor and oppressed. They want the right to pursue happiness, whatever it looks like to them. They and I may disagree, and sometimes sharply, about the way to make that happen, but bottom line, we all want to live well and prosper.
So maybe I still belong here after all.
Last night's reading from The Divine Hours (Phyllis Tickle) put things in perspective for me:
you set me free when I am hard-pressed;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
“You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory;
how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?”
Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful;
when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me.
Tremble, then, and do not sin;
speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.
Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the LORD.
Many are saying, “Oh, that we might see better times!”
Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O LORD.
You have put gladness in my heart,
more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep;
for only you, LORD,make me dwell in safety.
*Please go read this post regarding the subject of the human-ness of humans.