Here we are 12 days from one of the most dramatically divisive national elections in our nation’s history. One thing for sure, on November 4th or thereabouts, however it turns out, a lot of people will be in mourning. Like in a sports contest, only one side can win, which means the side that loses will be told to “get over it,” so the country can move on.
But I’ve discovered some people who are already looking ahead to how we might come together around our shared humanity, in spite of our differences, because we are the United States of America.
I had the honor for the past two weeks of doing tech support for a program Mourning Into Unity on the Reimagine platform (letsreimagine.org). As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the unvoiced grief so many Americans have been feeling, twenty houses of worship from around the country gathered on-line (and sometimes simultaneously in person,) to mourn and unite through a peaceful candlelight vigil. By coming together around our losses, we connected with our shared humanity, strengthened our commitment to each other and to our democracy.
I had the honor last weekend of joining several colleagues as we held space for the third of four community conversations about the issues impacting our world. In previous masked and social distanced gatherings in a park, participants had shared their experiences of life during a pandemic, their reactions to racism and the call for racial justice, and their concerns about people impacted personally by these events. In this community conversation we shared where we came from and what our communities were like when we were growing up. We found common ground when my colleague suggested we write the name “Brianna Taylor” on the flip chart. We put aside our discomfort and came together to mourn this injustice together. People called out their individual reactions to seeing that name – bullying, bias, and a double standard. Feelings included “feel sick to my stomach,” “helpless,” “sad,” “shame,” “anger,” “embarrassed.”
The final prayer for the candlelight vigil made the next couple weeks seem less scary to me. O God, you love every child of earth, to you every life is sacred and every voice is precious. On this our nation stands. Remind us of those suffering and grieving; Inspire our vote for the well-being of all; Give peace to our polling places, Safeguard each ballot that it be counted; Make of us all a more perfect union, That you may delight in the diversity of our Democracy. And let all the people say: Amen
The final suggestion from Mourning into Unity was to Pray the Ballot. We were instructed to post to Instagram what it means to us to pray the ballot and hashtag #praytheballot.