In these final moments of this Election Season, I felt propelled to write to you. Hopefully you made it through this year with your relationships intact and without too many tense moments. I feel like we say it every election, but boy this one was a doozy. It felt very exhausting to me and scared me on a deep level. My fear wasn't so much about the politics, although that was part of it, but my biggest fear was in the cruelty, anger, and frustration that we've been witnessing all over social media, the news, everywhere.
I understand it, in a way, because we are all so different, coming from different walks of life, and feel extremely passionate about the beliefs that have shaped our existence. It's easy to feel angry at things you see or hear from friends, neighbors, the television, co-workers, your community, etc. We want to fight for our beliefs and I respect that, I do. It's a unique privilege to be allowed to have a voice. Elections are our time to express that voice, but don't forget that while our beliefs may divide us, our humanity brings us together.
When I walked into my polling location this morning, I entered at the same time as an older gentleman. He quickened his pace so he could beat me to the door and opened it for me. I nearly cried because at that moment I realized that he and I may have very different beliefs, but it was no reason not to be kind. His act of kindness allowed us to connect with a smile and I felt what I've been missing: hope. Hope for us and our ability to heal the divide that has grown the last year. I remembered that our humanity is the greatest tool in achieving connection and healing. Unlike our beliefs, our humanity isn't an educated choice birthed from a lifetime of experiences, it's an instinct that is bigger than us.
Our humanity is what allows us to serve others and help each other without asking first who you voted for. Our humanity was expressed after Sept. 11th when, as a nation, we mourned, healed, and stood tall together. Our humanity is showcased in a random smile, a kind gesture, our empathy and compassion, our instinct to help when someone is in need. Our humanity is that amazing feeling we get when we've connected to someone and when we act from the goodness of our hearts. It's what drives us to be good people.
Respect your beliefs, stand up for them, and use your voice, but don't let them get in the way of your humanity. Continue to smile, love, serve, open doors, help, volunteer, make someone laugh, reach out, connect, etc. Whatever happens this evening, it is our nation, we are the United States of America and we will get through this together. Be kind and love each other.
P.S. I cried like six times writing this. Anyone else feeling emotional today?! Holy wah!